Rio Grande Rememberances

 

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Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1954- 1969

Locations: Durango, Arboles, Salida, Antonito, Gunnison, Farmington…

Length: 1 hour 36 minutes + previews

Sources: Andy Payne, Fred Hust, Harvey Laner

A fascinating, time travel visit, into vintage Rio Grande Narrow Gauge steam. Andy Payne was a Rio Grande Engineer. He was also an independent Railfan / Cinematographer. Early on, he acquired a Bolex 16mm movie camera. Filmed mostly in 16mm. All films are full color. Only some highlights here.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-17h42m45s238Harvey S. Laner digitized Payne’s film collection in 2008. Three narrators on this show. Harvey, Andy and Charles Smiley.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-17h58m04s178The earliest films are in 8 mm. Those are very good, for their age. Durango is above. The gems are the 16mm films. Excellent quality! Nearly all freight trains.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h54m11s365The custom Charles Smiley maps are extremely helpful. Also, explains other lines.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h54m40s564Alamosa to Antonito dual guage trackage. This on the San Juan Extension. This line continues towards Laboto Trestle.

 

The old freight cars are bursting with character! Railfans and Model Railroaders will have a grand time, with the varied equipment.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h24m54s770Various class Mikado’s are reviewed. 480-489. K-36 seen here.These 2-8-2 are seen with close-ups. Maintenance functions.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-19h20m08s102Andy has detailed Hostler duties and discussion of steam locomotive fire. This is unique amount many steam shows!

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h12m42s404Soundtrack is mixed. Authentic steam sounds, background music and narrative. All interwoven in that Charles Smiley style.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-19h44m32s005Old Arboles area is shown, before a water dam project buried this area. A highline is being installed. Navajo River.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-19h55m54s838Gunnison in 1955.  The 268 was Baldwin built in 1882. Leased here for a scrap train.

Salida in 1955. Dual gauged.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h03m38s252The Durango Loop was Railroad built around 1967.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h09m15s939Andy rode freight trains on off days. Filmed from assorted viewpoints. Here, on a revenue stock train.

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See how to get a Mike rerailed, without a crane.

A number of Hollywood feature films were filmed, in part at or near Durango.

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Oil and the Freight business. Farmington Branchline in 1955. South of Durango. Carbon Jct. had a small switch yard.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h55m02s160Model Railroaders will get a kick out of seeing GRAMPS oil tank cars!

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h27m57s907Declining traffic spelled the end of the San Juan Extension.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h29m15s953Andy filmed Springtime snow and slide clearing of the Silverton line. An old Caterpillar bulldozer does the job!

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This is a wonderful collection of vintage Rio Grande Narrow Gauge action! Inclusion of rare locations and singular viewpoints, set it apart from the competition. Not too mention Andy Payne’s first person accounts of the action. Harvey Laner provides the bulk of a clear narrative. Many are interview style, with his friend Andy.

Starting as a Los Angeles Transit Motorman. Andy hired on as Fireman with DRGW in 1957. He loved his work and filming the trains. He passed away in 2012.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h14m54s921Charles Smiley organized everything, into a highly enjoyable viewing experience! As usual, it shall take multiple viewings to get it all in. The 90 minutes literally fly-by. Always the mark of a fun program.

This is a must see, for Rio Grande and Narrow Gauge steam fans.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Early CSX: Changing Times on the West End

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1985- 2000

Locations: Salem, Mt. Vernon,Odin, E. Louis,

Length: 1 hour 45 minutes

Source: George Redmond

Another entry in The Heritage Series by Diverging Clear. Somewhat, rarer material that has predecessor CSX paint in good quantity. Although in the later years, more normal CSX is present. Historical value is obvious. Non existent scenes are here.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h38m15s441George Redmond video is the show source. A single DVD-R. A numbered Chapter Menu. Plenty of location graphics. No maps. Natural, enviornmental audio.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-10h52m07s249Mary McPherson with a relaxed narrative. Colors are weaker than similar, Heritage recent releases. Picture quality is ranging from good to very good. Realize, these are earlier years. Equipment limitations on original lighting and videotape aging, effect the results. Still, everything is watchable. Nothing too weird. A bit green or yellow sometimes.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-10h52m32s372Story begins at a now, disappeared yard in East St. Louis. Check that blue  B&O switcher.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-10h54m47s712A GE U-30-B departs E. St. Louis yard in 1985.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h13m22s995Still wearing Seaboard Coast Line paint. GP38 #2541, is paced to Delafield Illinois. Videography apprears better, in later years.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h22m06s316At Mount Vernon. Action in 1988 and 1990.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h54m01s882Ashley scenes shot in September, 2000. This train goes to Nashville. Switch the grain elevator. Long segment. A GP40 and modified GP30.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h08m25s022Salem in 1985. GP35 C&O 3584 and the 6593, work some cars here. Former C&EI trackage. Union Pacific interchange.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h08m09s562Let’s eyeball that B&O 6593.. Nice!

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h23m57s873Salem crossing has numerous trains.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h36m11s557Odin has newer CSX locomotives. Salem shows even more. Too much repeition on these C40 units, for me.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h43m11s019Back at Salem crossing. Relief with different power. Foreign locomotives seen: Santa Fe, Southern Pacific, and Conrail.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-12h57m15s837Operation Redblock livery on this GP38. At Vincennes, IN. with a local.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h29m47s690Seaboard System and Family Lines, are found in the earlier years. In 1985, some cabooses. Note the rare, GP16 on the lead.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h26m26s940Pretty typical, for a Diverging Clear, Heritage Series. It does contain some  harder to find, circa 1985 and 1991 action. Those scenes are the highlights of this show. Remainder is dominant CSX gray. This is where I would have cut film, in a major fashion.

vlcsnap-2020-03-19-11h33m29s725A Family Lines caboose, wears SBD reporting marks. Bet you thought it would be a Chessie System!

I am not much for repetion. She is the opposite. So, depending on your point of view. Too long or never enough, timewise.

Being the reviewer. I will perform my role. Runs too long. There are good nuggets. So, worthy for those. If you like early CSX, it’s in there.

Rating: 3 Stars

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.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h30m31s441

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Miles Cajon Pass

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Producer: Tim Walter

Locations: Cajon Pass, Sullivan’s Curve, Palmdale Cut-off…

Timeframe: 2019

Here is a current visit to world famous, Cajon Pass! The 14 miles, refers to the length. Operating freight traffic, is by Union Pacific and BNSF. Fans of the modern rail scene, are in for quite a treat.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h37m10s560As one would expect from Pentrex, all of the  best known locations are included. Many others, as well.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h30m06s169A single DVD-R.  Detailed Chapter Menu. On screen graphics. Preview section. Great picture and natural audio. Excellent post production.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h18m31s859A colorful, custom map is included. Only referenced a single time. Veteran Railfans already know this material. However, newer people likely would appreciate multiple references.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h55m11s295Veteran announcer Dave Drui handles a relaxed script. Informative, yet leaving plenty of space to listen to the trains. So, activate that soundbar!

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h22m52s594The busiest railroad, mountain crossing, in the United States. This is the subtitle. Hits the nail on the head! There are 100 scheduled trains daily.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h22m00s941Blue Cut is where the San Andreas Fault is located. A blue CSX accentuates the bluish stone.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h33m38s388It takes quite awhile to change locations sometimes. However, no shortage of traffic.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h05m54s142For those unfamiliar with this part of the country. Note the dry riverbed. These can sometimes becoming raging torrents. Have no idea about this specific one.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h59m07s795Very little, in run through locomotives. Several Citirail units are seen.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h57m27s523An odd moment. Mention of this train breaking down later in the show, causing traffic problems. No further discussion.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h56m20s535A show highlight, is the cut to Cajon 1976 footage!

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h04m22s121

 Big Boy 4014 rolls by, a single pass in 2019.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h37m19s030A couple of shots from a rare snowfall are another break, from the unit trains.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h53m09s035Amtrak Southwest Chief has a single rollby.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h33m23s508Almost missed it! A Chicago and NorthWestern unit, is in the middle of this lash-up.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h55m05s247Cajon Summit is acheived, at the end.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h42m13s259UP fans will want their flag on the summit. The 9068, is an SD70AH. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h00m51s397Note, this is the older BNSF livery. Santa Fe traditional style lettering. C44-9W.

While present day railroading, is not my wheelhouse. The combination of slow trains, and beautiful scenery has its own charm. Hearing the locomotives working hard is another positive.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h45m22s774The two hour length could have been edited down considerably. Certain locations, the camera is planted there, for far too long. Particularly, in the first hour. Unusual, as Pentrex normally picks up and moves!

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For a show featuring the current railroad scene, special scenery is a must have. Everything else is repetitive. This show is well put together. Although, this era is not to my interest, it is a good show. Recommended, if you enjoy today’s railroading.

Rating: 4 Stars