Rails Through the Hudson Highlands

RTTHH-DVD

Producer: Tim Walter

Locations: Poughkeepsie, Cold Spring, Garrison…

Timeframe: 1990

Length: 55 minutes

Remaster: Middle Earth Video

A new, 2020 remaster of a 1990 show. Have not seen the original show. Review will be on this, current release (obviously).

A single DVD-R. Master menu. Feature and Pentrex previews. Detailed Chapter Menu. This one offers locations. On screen graphics, with locations. No map.Peter Falconi handles the narration. Natural audio, for the main of the soundtrack.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h34m47s685Video quality is not modern viewing standards. The colors are very good. Variable imagery, as the camera adjusts to lighting on many scenes. Historical value is the consideration. Plenty to see. Checkout some highlights…

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-08h55m12s983A tour on ex: New York Central rails. Ossining is the initial location. Heavy commuter traffic. Metro North is the local carrier. Amtrak is busy, as well.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-08h54m22s595Conrail B23-7 pair, with  a Tarrytown freight.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h03m15s424Croton-on-Hudson. Worth a mention. The interlocking was still in service.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h17m54s225Amtrak has frequent trains. Would have liked to hear what the moves are. In fact, some of the trainsets themselves, should have been discussed.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h05m55s973The narrative is only as valuable, as the base script. Find the information is lightweight, overall. He mentions these SPB units. Never heard of them! Missed opportunity, to engage unfamiliar audience members.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-12h15m43s698Peekskill, NY. Here is the beginning of Hudson Highlands. The fl9 are in push pull. On the rear of this inbound.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-11h14m50s665Connecticut DOT owned these fancy, New Haven painted FL9 units.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h14m30s897Metro North had to be the ugliest paint, this side of Chicago’s Metra.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h04m14s919Breakneck Tunnel is a scenic one. Note the FL9 units, are now pushing the train.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h30m45s443Old building is a pumping station.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h32m49s565Checking out the River Line. A few freights. These are some long telephotos. Across the Hudson River!

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h00m32s393Hey… Wash your face!

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-09h37m09s592Garrison, has this often filmed tunnel.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-11h13m33s822Pougkeepsie, marks the end of Metro North territory. Also, the endpoint of this show.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-11h12m58s392Rails Through the Hudson Highlands. It delivers on the advertised tour. The fresh remaster presents it, in best possible quality. Old videotape has limitations.

vlcsnap-2020-03-07-08h57m22s682The length is fine. Enough to see the highlights. Not overly long, to reach boredom. There is variety, amoung the many passenger trains. Even the venerable FL-9 model, appears in various liveries!

All in all, a good look at Hudson River rail action circa 1990. Nice to see it, in a remaster.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

Rotaries 2, Battle to Open Donner Pass

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Producer: Tim Walter

Timeframe: 2011

Locations: Truckee, Emigrant Gap, Cisco..

Length: 58 minutes

Source: Brendan Compton, Mike Haire, Dick Dorn

The second part to Rotaries, Avalanche on the Mountain. A Flanger train is stuck under an avalanche. The Rotary Snowplow gets dispatched from Truckee! Well, not exactly…

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h19m30s895Similar documentary style, as the original show. Employee narration via interviews. Other times, it is radio traffic. On-screen graphics, also convey various information. There is a narrator, to round things out.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h59m30s815Broadcast quality footage. Audio as well. No maps are included. A bonus preview section. A widescreen presentation. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h13m12s759This program begins with the Flanger train, stuck in an avalanche. Where we were left hanging, at the end of that show. There is commentary, about the incident here. Even still photographs.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h25m51s694I was fully expecting to see a rescue mounted to the beleaguered Flanger. In fact, as a Rotary is dispatched from Truckee, it appears to be the case. However, that’s all folks.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h31m23s002Now, the story is redirected. The massive snowfall. Following the Rotary, as it works hard, to clear the mainline through Donner Pass. The Snow Service operation works, day and night.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h57m13s931The Rotary Train must travel all the way down to Roseville. In order to clear the.line and turnaround.

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Rotary 209 has some derailments in the heavy snow! This is tricky work. Snow drifts at least 10 feet high. Big Union Pacific GE AC locomotives are assigned to this train. The EMD F7B is the Rotary’s power.

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The height of the snow, can be hard to judge. Check this signal tower.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h38m08s054Difficult going at Cisco. Back and forth. The Rotary wants to climb off the tracks. The locomotives experience wheel slip. The crew spends hours battling through.

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A sideview of the Rotary.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-15h14m58s193Some fantastic aerial drone views. These appear to be a recent addition.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h04m35s898The camera does spend a lengthy amount of time, in this position. Could have used some narration, during this stretch. Definitely.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h21m08s205The magic of the original show. A combination of the outstanding videography and employee commentary. The way that was edited, gave the show a unique flavor. Those same elements are present in the initial stages, but drops off. A worthy show to add to the collection.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conrail St. Loo to Horseshoe

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Locations: Smithboro, St. Elmo, Effingham, Horseshoe Curve…

Timeframe: 1990-94

Length: 1 hour 57 minutes

Source: George Redmond

This Heritage Series features Conrail. The former Pennsylvania St. Louis line. Southern Illinois locations. Teleports over to more interesting Allegheny Mountains. Horseshoe Curve is the main feature, on the second half.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h46m03s801George Redmond had hundreds of hours of video footage. Good camera skills. A key source for specialized interests. If early to mid 1990s fits your bag. Even if you just like Horseshoe Curve, and who doesn’t? This is likely, worth a look.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h13m03s112A single DVD-R. Slimline case. Better than average, a highly detailed Chapter Menu. No maps, which are not needed. Plenty of on-screen graphics.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h56m20s252Natural, Enviornmental audio soundtrack. Good levels. Plenty of space, to hear the locomotives working. Mary McPherson performs the sparse narrative.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h28m20s871Smithboro, Il, is at a crossing, with the Burlington Northern in 1990.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h54m40s177St. Elmo, is a Conrail interchange point. Road traffic moves through, as well.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h40m19s281Symbol KVPI comes off the Union Pacific Rails. Going to Pittsburgh from Kingsville, Texas.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h57m20s067NYDAZ at St Elmo with 6727 over to Union Pacific. New York to Dallas.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h17m33s640Effingham is a traditional Illinois hotspot. Illinois Central and Pennsylvania original railroads.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h26m13s258Winter of 93 at Effingham. Station is at left.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-12h42m46s458A look at some boxcars. Going to St. Louis.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h34m06s478A C30-7 is paced East of Teutopolis.

 

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h36m19s951Altoona at Alto Tower is next! Year is 1994.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h40m10s882Arrival at Horseshoe Curve! High expectations, for this world famous location. A word of wisdom. To avoid disappointment in all things, keep expectations low.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h48m18s187There are a few issues, with this lengthy chapter. Murphy’s law seemed to be in effect. First, some issues could have been minimized, via editing. Simply, eliminating some of the problems. Amtrak Broadway Limited is seen. Also, a rare Roadrailer.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h48m54s842No one is God. Weather is sometimes not conducive to shooting outdoor video. If one chooses to record, the producer may edit. A little rain or fog is usually acceptable. People travel long and far. 

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h57m48s348 A viewer should not have to suffer eye strain for 15 or 20 minutes. Unreasonable! Put it in a bonus section, if one doesn’t have the strength to cut it out.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-14h35m00s097Another issue here is a super annoying workman. Now, he is merely doing his work. Unfortunately, it is in direct conflict, with enjoyable listening, at Horseshoe Curve. What is the offense? A loud weedwacker! Fairly close to the video camera. The microphone picks it up efficiently. Here, the producer could have deleted these audio sections, in favor of anything else.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-14h43m23s489So, the total is: foggy and rainy, or plenty of weedwacker noise. The Conrail trains are out in force. It could have been presented better. Hence, Amateur level reality.

vlcsnap-2019-12-07-13h46m27s695The Illinois half of the show is consistent, with most of the George Redmond videos. It does have a better overall appearance. The Horseshoe Curve with it’s issues, are the decision maker for this release. Despite the technical issues, it is still has, solid Conrail action. If that floats your boat. You should be fairly satisfied.

Rating: 3 Stars

 

 

Sixty Years Along the Illinois Central

Train-DVD-60-Years-Along-The-Illinois-Central

Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1938-1998

Locations: Carbondale, Centralia, Champaign, Edgewood Cut-Off,  Tuscola, more

Length: 2 hours

Sources, video: George Redmond, Kurt Jensen, Mary McPherson, Tom Dunn

Covering 60 years of Illinois Central history. Geographically, this is mainly in downstate Illinois. This is representative of the railroad, for the most part. So, do not expect the full system. Too much to get everything in this review. Let’s see some highlights…

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-09h53m31s717The timeline begins early in 1938. Moves forward into 1998. Two GP40s bracket a pair of GP9 units, in the Green Diamond scheme. This from the 1960s.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h08m27s129The single DVD-R contains a Chapter Menu. Plenty of on-screen graphics. No maps. Narrated by Mary McPherson.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-09h56m55s905Audio is natural sound on the contemporary sections. The vintage films have a mixture of, train sounds and music. Some extra attention to detail on the train sounds. Above, is at Effingham, an old hotspot. The crossing is Conrail trackage.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-09h32m18s345The 1938 film is black and white. Appears to have been filmed by someone, with approved access. Officials and workers posing, with train scenes. Clean footage. Good sounds. Fine chapter. Carbondale location.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-09h42m08s042Some amateur, 1950s color film. This from the transaction era. Quick glimpse of Chicago, a few trains. Follow a hostler. Frank Baumgarten in 1955.  A last look, on his normal steam engine, roundhouse, workday. A little more action, at Carbondale. Mikado 1516 above.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-14h39m21s577A pacing sequence of the DeSoto local, ends this Chapter.  Watch for a diesel pace, same location later!

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h01m08s490The Metropolis bridge is stunning!

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-09h44m32s897The highlight is excellent color film from the 1960s. This small collection, from the Champaign area. Most from near the tower and yard lead. Slow speeds allow good views. Some from the on tower! GP9 locomotives, in original and new repaints. Rebuilt Geeps, as well.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-09h54m32s266There are several passenger trains. Various viewpoints. Above is, The Shawnee. Viewed from Champaign Tower. Find a rare E6. Inquire within…

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h03m34s250Moving with a big leap forward. Well into the late Illinois Central Gulf era. Familiar George Redmond, with unreleased video! Nice, clean footage.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h00m22s031Raunchy looking power, was part of the rolling museum, of the 1980s Illinois Central Gulf. The GM&O sights, were incredible! Not included here.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h06m00s470This black GP40 was the last one, in original, Green Diamond scheme. Pacing sequence above.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h00m18s618The gray/orange scheme, was the ICG answer to heavy weathering. Unique to the railroad, SD20  locomotive. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h11m41s222Creeping into the 1990s. The black dip Illinois Central paint appears. It does look sharp, after many years of observing the ragtag fleet of ICG.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h20m54s706The show settles into a more standard, pattern of 1990s era trainwatching. Doesn’t the SD20 appear better in black?

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h13m17s706There are still some Paducah Geep rebuilds in service. The GP11 types will be the very last in usage.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h27m25s226Tuscola has a tower in it’s last year’s. A significant amount of time spent here. Inside tower visit, although not filmed the best. Still, beats no visit. Take it.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h56m47s737Rare territory is the Edgewood Cut-Off. Coal and grain were always money.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-11h02m22s243There’s a derailment! Whew! Only a single boxcar.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-10h52m50s984Need a rest after that scare. Compare the older orange, with the new image caboose. Yawn, for the gray one.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-11h17m21s343At Cobden, a grade requires a good headstart and enough horsepower. Some trains have to be split in two.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-11h27m24s246Winter snow dramatically alters the scene. An Operation Lifesaver #6068 on the point, at Cobden. An SD70 is in this lash-up. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-11h43m10s802Excellent night scenes in this show. Amtrak at a station. The reflective surfaces are great, for under the lights. City of New Orleans. Mary’s run! Laughed at that closing piece!!

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-11h38m27s668The Illinois Central does have some tunnels. This one is on the rarely filmed Edgewood Cut-Off in 1998, by Tom Dunn.

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-11h32m55s226At Edgewood. Train symbol MECR is Memphis to Conrail, at Effingham. More frequent SD70 appearances, signal that we are approaching the end, for the Illinois Central Railroad. The Stop sign foreshadows the roads future… 

vlcsnap-2019-11-24-09h51m06s299The venerable IC side door caboose. Mainline of Mid America slogan. Some of these served, into  ICG paint. Classics!

Sixty Years Along the Illinois Central.

The show meets it’s advertised. Vintage films are very worthwhile. The 1960s film is excellent. ICG update is very good video. The later 1990s video, is even better. Fast paced. An enjoyable look, at the Illinois Central. Action is around Southern Illinois. This Heritage Series, is their best release!

Rating: 5 Stars

Union Pacific and Cotton Belt, Midwest Joint Lines

Heritage-Series-Union-Pacific-and-Cotton-Belt-Midwest-Joint-Lines-DVD-DC-UPCB

Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1989- 1993

Locations: Kirkwood, Gray’s Summit, MO. Aldridge, Thebes, IL. more

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Source: George Redmond

An exciting assortment of pre-merger action, centered around Kirkwood, Missouri! This show is an unpredictable one. It might be the best in the well established Heritage Series, by Diverging Clear Productions.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-08h57m53s422

Videographer George Redmond was out circa 1989. Hotspot, Kirkwood Missouri supplied a wealth of great trains. Union Pacific, Missouri Pacific, Southern Pacific, Cotton Belt, Rio Grande, MKT and Amtrak.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h02m33s673

A single DVD-R in a Slimline case. Detailed Chapter Menu. On-screen graphics. No maps. Enviornmental soundtrack. Balanced levels. Good color balance, on restored video. Crisp editing, that has a well paced program.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h05m42s373

The show begins at the station. Kirkwood Missouri. This is on the Jefferson City subdivision. MKT and a Missouri Pacific SD40, lead one of the trains, at this busy place.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h54m01s572

Gray’s Summit is outside of St Louis. Perfect for Model Railroaders! Note the striking face. Sharp, vertical angles would make a compact scene. This screen, is for those modellers. Yes, plenty of cool trains here.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h21m37s840

Rio Grande actually took over, Southern Pacific. For anybody that needs to know. Hence, there are DRGW locomotives traveling via Kirkwood at this time.

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Union Pacific shares the headline. UP 3940, an SD40-2 is a former Missouri Pacific unit from 1979.   This scene is from, the Illinois half of the show.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h08m37s392Cotton Belt is a show co-star. SD40T-2, at Kirkwood, Missouri. Plentiful supply of their trains. Bottom line is, must have a tunnel motor in this review!

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MoPac, also became a part of the Union Pacific. Sometimes, they are seen repainted and lettered as, Missouri Pacific. Canaries!

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h07m19s511

Amtrak stops to a herd of people at Kirkwood, in 1989.

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More Union Pacific rolls through the territory. Solid and mixed lash-ups. Note the MKT, way back there. This shot in the rain.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h49m46s055Gray and Scarlet, also abounds. Cotton Belt and Southern Pacific lettering. As one would expect.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h12m53s631

We need a blue MoPac on the lead. 6071 it is. Actually, SP Kodachrome paint is fun. Want even more fun? You find them!

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Cabooses galore! Hit or miss, on any given train. Even concerning roadnames. Surprises that one can love – even for those, who hate surprises! I left more surprises.

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Halfway through the show. The Chester subdivision is featured. This is in Illinois. Can the Chester sub match the thrilling first half? The timeline is now 1993. Moves between 1991- 93. Take a look…

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h32m49s163At Chester, a CNW leads a UP move.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h59m06s848Some water gives off a reflection, of the passing UP train.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h40m20s205At Gorham, the Chicago sub begins. Bounce between Chester and Chicago subs. A Conrail run through, gives some variation.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-11h20m11s340The bridge at Alridge sees enough trains to function as a hotspot here. Single track and busy! Visit both sides. See plenty of SP too.

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A speed lettered Southern Pacific unit. Receives the time tested, pan shot.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h47m21s399Not as much variety as the Missouri half. Still, there is much action.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-11h33m09s531A bridge at Thebes. Double track. Even more rust, than then the previous one.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h55m13s352Several cabooses on this half.

Union Pacific and Cotton Belt, Midwest Joint Lines. The Heritage Series.

So far, this is the best entry that I have seen! The Missouri half is a real good time. Never know what’s coming next. Illinois is a tad less a blast, but still good. The sharp pace, keeps everything moving along. Fine show by Diverging Clear. If you want to try out a Heritage Series. This one is a great way to start.

Rating: 4 Stars