Classic Steam of the ’20s to the ’40s

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1920s-1940s

Locations: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Kansas City, more.

Length: 1 hour

Sources: Frank W. Schlegel, Vince Ryan, Jack Alexander

A smorgasbord of films. Spanning 4 decades. Some rare and not so rare, steam locomotives. A Collection of: black and white, plus a little color film. Eastern Railroads mainly. Everything is worthwhile.

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See: Delaware and Hudson, New York Central, Lackawanna, Central of New Jersey and Frisco (above). Also, Pennsylvania  Erie, Wabash, Rahway Valley, B&O, and much more. Steam, Electric and several early diesels.

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Frog DVD-R. Nothing extra. Plays straight through. The Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby…in Milwaukee!

The show is narrated by Dan Chandler.  Script is good. Fine work on the dubbed trains.

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Camerawork varies by source. As does the visual quality. Majority is fine. About what an experienced Railfan would expect, from a wide ranging assortment. Good on the big screen.

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There is way too much to cover the whole show. Highlights of this fine program. New York Central, Empire Star Express. Two steam pushers on the rear. The show’s gem!

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Reading Crusader at Dunellen, New Jersey.

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Camelback is a strange looking steam engine. It hauls a fantrip out on to the Long Branch.

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Turns around, the yard in Bay Head Jct. A joint CNJ and PRR. So, Pennsylvania power is there with K4s. Compare the access the people had, in those days. More PRR is seen, in their home state.

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A 1936 fantrip over the former, Ulster and Delaware. This one required a double header with a pusher, and ran two sections!  The New York Central ten wheelers were added to the head end. Former U&D power. Depart Kingston.

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Oneonta roundhouse on D&H was destination.

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Check the size of the people against this Lackawanna locomotive.

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Steam and Electric. New York Central. Harmon, NY.

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The big surprise is at Pennsylvania’s Enola Yard. Before retarders were used, brakeman manually controlled the cars, from the hump. Dangerous work in the winter. Unbelievable by today’s safety!

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The Alton. Street running! How rare is this?

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Middletown and Union, has a face, only a mother could love. Come closer..

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Venerable, Boston and Maine Mogul type.

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Rock Island at St. Louis.

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Erie passes with it’s train.

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Indiana Railroad was a large, Electric Interurban. Ran streetcars and freight.

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Delaware and Hudson Northern type. Plenty of D&H is within.

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Springfield Terminal in it’s original incarnation. Take a trolley. Quite a difference, from later SD45s in grey paint!

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A Lackawanna Milk Train, really harkens back to an earlier era.

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A Chicago, Burlington and Quincy sits in a huge yard. Burlington Route, was a road that ran steam late, on the Colorado and Southern.

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This is a cornucopia of steam era scenes. Here, the ice bunker reefers are loaded at the Chicago Stockyards. South Shore Electric cars to the right.

There are even bonus shots. City pan views (Philadelphia), street scenes, humoungous Chicago stockyards. A well thought-out production. Packs a bunch, into a fast moving one hour program.

Also available on the, Trains around New York and New Jersey – collection.

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Closing caboose is a Wabash.

Green Frog has a must see show, for any fans of steam era Railroading. The black and white film, adds to the vintage feel. Fascinating and varied visit to the past.

Rating: 5 Stars

Railfanning with the Bednars Volume 6

RFWTBV6B-cvr-1200

Producer: John Pechulis

Timeframe: 1976

Locations: Allentown, Horseshoe Curve area, more

Length: 63 minutes

Source: Bednar collection

See the dawn of Conrail in Pennsylvania. Bednar films and unique Pechulis film process, offer high quality viewing. Lehigh Valley was the home road for the Bednar family. They do venture out further on Penn Central rails.

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The Conrail merger had all roads equipment showing up at Mike’s yard! One never knew what might show up next. Extremely interesting time to be trackside.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h02m47s363Mike’s personal LV favorite. The Alco 212.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h00m42s392Mike said, that his Father was out filming all the time. Uncertain, if his Dad shot everything here. My guess is yes. In any case, excellent cinematography.

Penn Central GP30 units were some of the first new units to work Mike’s yard. Recollections like this, give firsthand insight into the transition to Conrail. Not to mention some rude telephone calls!

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h31m56s792Not only Lehigh Valley territory. The former, Penn Central is visited, around the Horseshoe Curve area. Middle Division and additional spots. Dead lines full of Baldwins and Alcos are shown.  Rockville Bridge is above. 

Informal style narrative by veteran Railroader Mike Bednar. His views are more akin to a running commentary. Knowing the people, remembering what transpired. A true insider’s perspective.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h58m35s797The film restoration is amazing. Hard to discern this was sourced from Super 8mm. It looks sharp! Probably, the finest merger Conrail film around.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h02m22s943Soundtrack also has live sound and filled with some background music. All of it is leveled nicely.

No maps are provided. No other extras. The program is a quick pace. It gets along without them. Although maps are always my preference.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h53m22s889Early in the timeline, the merged locomotives have not been renumbered. Too much to included everything. A jam packed show. Let’s see some highlights.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h08m51s210Mike’s yard was very busy, after the Conrail merger. Model Railroaders can have a field day, with all of the freight cars! Much of this Volume is centered at Allentown Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h22m02s044One has to appreciate Mike’s experience. The Ironton switcher was liked by everyone. Dependable and ran fine, right until Conrail scrapped it.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h13m01s120A trio of Reading GP9 units are chased on a coal train. Rare assignment and fun.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h14m31s616This scene seems to capture the mood around merger time on Lehigh Valley.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-10h09m12s147The Canadian National GP40W. Mike Bednar climbs aboard to check it out. Conrail was getting power, anywhere possible. 

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h52m09s468Lehigh and Hudson River, received a high rating in the maintenance area.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h13m41s419Erie Lackawanna units were all over the place. Many to see at Allentown.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h56m11s176Jersey Central ‘Red Baron’ scheme locomotives, also show.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h07m28s556Here is a revelation. Delaware and Hudson, originally used tape to renumber units! There are many assorted D&H units. Brand New and absorbed ones. Normal locomotives too.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h26m10s140Action abounds, at and near Horseshoe Curve. The former Penn Central tracks were extremely busy, according to Mike. Practically, a film within the film. 

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h28m11s007A long lash-up descends. Note the old F units being used on the power short Conrail!

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h36m23s796Later, full on blue Conrail repaints began. First one about to roll by…

CR…aka ‘cockroach’ reletter jobs are also within. Just as ugly as ever. Cabooses as well. However, variety is the spice of life.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h52m14s636A plethora of cabooses to see. Original paint and CR hasty renumbers. Fresh Conrail paint.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h58m59s557Old Lehigh Valley, with their last innings to play, in old paint…

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-10h15m15s386Mike waves to Dad. A fitting place to end is here.

Anyone that is interested in Conrail merger. This is the show to have. Best quality, hands down. Entertaining and informative narration. A must have for Conrail fans.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Railfanning the Delaware and Hudson – Volume 3

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Producer: John Pechulis

Locations: Binghamton, NY., Allentown, Philadelphia, DuPont, PA.

Time Period: 1978- 1985

Length: 73 minutes

Sources: Joe Bednar, Jonathan Reck

Third in this series continues the D&H story. A couple of mainlines are featured. Previous: Lehigh Valley, Central New Jersey, and Reading, were given to D&H to operate. Conrail trackage rights added even more territory, for D&H to run trains.

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A brief introductory narrative. This is informative.  Preferred presentation, had it been given at relevant points throughout in the program.

Narration starts out strong. It is brief.  Returns in sparse segments.
This leaves natural audio for the remainder of the soundtrack. For the most part, it works out. A few scenes a little too much wind or background. Levelling could have been used, as well.

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Overall, I much prefer to learn more. Operations, an area, or local history. These are some possibilities.

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Now. That being said… Shot on Super 8mm film. The high quality visuals are a huge plus! It is a great looking show.

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Maps, are such a nice piece to include. Simple, and effective to orientate viewers. Standard maps provide geographic orientation of the rail lines. They get the job done.

On screen graphics denote locations. Train designations are frequently included. The designations are pointless, without a corresponding narrative. Unless, one is familiar with the trains.

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One glaring verbal error. Conrail is not a shipper. They are a Carrier. A Rail Carrier.

A shipper is an entity that provides freight. A factory, coal mine or steel mill, for example. A shipper can also be a Freight Forwarder. Container traffic.Another type of Carrier can be a Truckline. See the difference?

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Back to the show. Action packed! Trains are non stop. They keep rolling across the screen. Fine cinematography!

vlcsnap-2018-12-23-01h23m50s719By this later date. Electromotive has become a serious player, on the  once Alco dominated, Delaware & Hudson roster.

vlcsnap-2018-12-23-01h29m30s302Surprising inclusion, is this Alco RS3M. Would have like to hear details about this Bi-Centenntial unit.

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The Boston and Maine! Uncommon in railroad videos. Especially this clean. There are other B&M units to be found, within this program.

vlcsnap-2018-12-23-02h09m19s490Maine Central is another rare bird! The interest level continues to rise on this show.

vlcsnap-2018-12-23-01h50m15s315A cornucopia of D&H diesels to view. No call-outs on diesel designations. Obviously an Alco… I know what is. Do you?

vlcsnap-2018-12-23-01h44m44s952Norfolk and Western units appear frequently. Full sets, and mixed in, with other power. Another missed opportunity, on the narrative.

vlcsnap-2018-12-23-01h39m44s006Pushers are used on various trains. Note the former Reading unit here.

vlcsnap-2018-12-23-01h18m41s850Concluding with an independent line.
Anthracite Road. Former Reading Lines, Perkiomen branch is the operating trackage. An ex: D&H, RS-3 is the locomotive powering the freight.
Delaware and Hudson Volume 3 is a worthy addition to the series. The high level of action, and variety of locomotives, combine to a satisfying visit to the alphabet area.

Excellent visually. Good live train audio. More information via narration, would have rated higher marks.

Railfan only show.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Railfanning With The Bednars Volume 5

Railfanning With The Bednars Volume 5

downloadfile

 

John Pechulis Media

Years: 1973- 1976

Locations: Allentown, Sayre, Lehigh Gap and more… Pennsylvania and perhaps elsewhere?

Source: Bednar collection

Length: 58 minutes

Here is one of the John Pechulis series of Bednar filmed, Eastern Anthracite Railroads. This volume 5 covers much more, then the 10 months preceding the formation of Conrail. Footage dates back to 1973! Locations jump around in a timeline  format.

Sounds like this was from Mike Bednar father’s collection. Found after the previous volumes were released. Not having seen any of the previous shows. I do not know if any of this film is Mike’s, or how everything fits together.

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Majority of cameras were focused on the larger railroads of this era. Quality footage is harder to find, of Lehigh Valley and Reading Railroad. We are quite fortunate, the Bednar films are available.

There are not any maps to follow. No chapters either. A formal organization is not apparent. The show does play better than it appears, organization wise.

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Mike Bednar was an experienced railroad professional. He worked as a Towerman for years. He knew operations cold. Names nearly everyone who appears on film. Knows the designations of the trains. Locations are usually offered. Often, the contents of freight cars are known! This adds quite a bit of interest.

I would have liked to have had some in program,reference maps. Where the heck is Sayre? Lehigh Gap? Bloom?

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Strange places. Geographical orientation would have been desirable.

Model Railroaders will love the attention paid to freight cars! Plenty of yard scenes like this one. Freight consists with road trains are viewed. Valuable information of period weathering, as well.

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Reading GP30. In case you don’t know. Mike doesn’t do the locomotive call-outs often. Yes, he seems to know them all. At times, he will spit them out. Usually, too busy telling a story or giving an explanation or an opinion!

Film quality is excellent! John Pechulis goes through some detailed restoration process, from what I understand. The results are outstanding!

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The high resolution is the high point of this production. Very clean looking film. Accurate colors. Nicely done. Bi-Centenntial paint was seemingly everywhere if you were alive in 1976!

Sound is dominated by Mike Bednar’s very detailed narrative. Expert level commentary.

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Occassional humorous comments. Depth of knowledge is fascinating. He spent his life on the railroad. Very apparent when you listen to him speak.

There are natural sound scenes. Other scenes have musical background. Everything is balanced to acceptable levels. Narration is the dominant form.

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There  is a large variety of motive power to be viewed in Volume 5. Lehigh Valley is the main feature. Reading has plenty to be seen. Delaware and Hudson, also puts in a strong showing. Very colorful era!

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Not to be forgotten. Erie Lackawanna.Bednar travelled to record EL F-units operating at Bloom. Wherever the heck that place is located!  in this program. Additional EL power is present. SD power history was controversial on this Bloom line. GP35 locos are seen elsewhere on a freight.

Lesser amounts seen are Jersey Central. A few cameos by others. B&O and some steam power.

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By this late date. Deferred maintenance has become a serious problem. Bad derailments have.caused some major wrecks! A few are on this show.

Large cranes are shown operating. This demonstrates the type of access that the Bednar’s enjoyed. They were able to get close to the action.

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Hulcher equipment is likely rare footage. Mike believes it was the intial usage of them, on a wreck, on Lehigh Valley. Interesting, this show contains the old steam era cranes and the modern Hulcher style of wreck removal eqiupment. Mike was a proud professional. These men were upset to see their once excellent roads deteriorate.

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A wide variety of motive power is on tap. Alco Century locomotives are operating on the Lehigh Valley plus the Delaware and Hudson. General Electric is making obvious inroads. EMD is easily found amoung all the railroads. All in all. This is a great looking collection of the Bednar films.

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Cinematography is excellent overall. Nice, camerawork. Colors look great! Everything is well-balanced. A top notch appearing DVD.

Narrative is informative and interesting. Once you become used to Bednars voice. Well, it is authentic. I do find him entertaining!

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Certain items that are not present. Maps and chapter selection, are what keeps this show, from the top rating. A worthwhile look at some action in the 1970s NorthEast Railroads.

A strong and enjoyable, one hour show.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

Railfanning the Delaware and Hudson- Volume One

Railfanning the Delaware and Hudson- Volume Onecover

John Pechulis Media

Length: 72 minutes

Time Period: 1979-1981

Locations: Binghamton, Starucca Viaduct, Ninevah,Lanesboro, Mechanicville Yard..

Source: Paul Cooledge

MSRP: 29.95

Delaware and Hudson Railroad. Featured on the Susquehanna and Penn Divisions. The Conrail Southern Tier is included. March 1979 to October 1981 is the timeframe. Oneonta Yard is the home base of this show. Much action is centered from this location.

7619This was filmed on Super 8mm film, with sound. Most of the footage looks excellent. Sometimes the lighting is not the best. Colors are generally accurate. The few John Pechulis productions reviewed here all have strong film quality. His shows do excel in the visual department. Needs to raise the audio half of the equation. That would be, a good script and narrative. Also, attention to background noise management.

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As with another JPM show, this has very limited narration. A commentary credit listed proves accurate. The voiceover is only present near the beginning of the program. Just some random comments for the first 15 minutes. After that, almost non existent for the remainder. A true loss for the viewers. Safe to say, many railfans gave never been near the DH, let alone around 1980.

bxOn screen graphics are always used to denote locations. This serves adequately, much of the time. Other instances such as ‘rescue helpers’ to retrieve a stalled train call for more detail. The scenes are usually very brief. We jump from place to place. Plenty of action for certain. The hopping around feels like a bunch of endless runbys. This is where a narrative can tie scenes together, to smooth out a show.

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The operations and equipment are very engaging. DH is now using plenty of EMD GP39-2 locomotives. Age is catching up to the vintage Alco diesel fleet. There are remaining RS and some Century class still in service. They don’t seem to be first choice for road assignments.

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Former Reading and Lehigh Valley locomotives are units transferred to D&H. This was related to the formation of Conrail. D&H had received trackage and/ or trackage rights to offer competition to Conrail. None of this is discussed in this show. Glaring omissions. A single stab at a map reference proves useless.

cr3164Conrail trains are seen on the Conrail Southern Tier. D&H trains were sometimes detoured on the Conrail line.

1795Norfolk and Western has many of their locomotives on DH trains. They can lead as well as follow on the lash ups. In fact, NW cabooses are just as likely as DH ones on freights. Why all the NW equipment in use here? Again, no answers are provided.

starStarrucca Viaduct. Commentary states these engines are running around their train. To push the freight onto the Conrail track. DH helpers arrive from the Conrail main. A detour move. Not stated, but possible. This DH crew was not qualified to operate on the Conrail trackage.

bmBoston and Maine at Mechanicville Yard is visited late in the show. Interchange with DH there.

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The show really makes a case for the importance of including professional audio. Here,it is mostly the live microphone. In fairness. the chance to just listen to the old Alcos is great. Most of the time, it is standard EMD power. Very familiar and nothing special. Half heard background voices do not help. Without narration, viewers are watching edited, raw footage.

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In the end, it is a good collection of largely, random shots. Handful of amateur feeling scenes; of pacing and cab rides. A solid narrative would have raised the rating dramatically. Viewers are left with a bunch of unanswered questions. Recommended only for hardcore railfans. They can best live with no extra information. Everyone else will probably be a little bit confused.

The total. Good looking show with graphics for locations. Raw sound and almost zero extras. Rates a half star up for coverage of a somewhat uncommon railroad.

Rating: 3 Stars