Rotaries 2, Battle to Open Donner Pass

DRAV2D

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. Their 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.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h17m31s908

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

Lumii_20200216_171614990

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

Big Boy Greetings From Kansas City

BBKC-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 2019

Locations: Kansas City, Topeka, Denver…

Length: 1 hour 25 minutes

Sources: Marc Lingenfelter, David Burritt, Stephan Johnson, Jim Tanis, Nancy Burritt

In the Steam Era, Kansas City would have been foreign territory, to a Union Pacific Big Boy. Times change and the 4014 attained KC, in 2019. This was the final run for 2019.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h06m20s859This show is on a DVD-R. It has a new style menu! The Top Menu is overlayed on a map. A detailed pictured Chapter Menu, lists locations. Quite modern. Also, a preview section and the music video.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-18h47m38s833A full page map is displayed, near the beginning of the show. On screen graphics denote locations. David Drui narrates.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-18h54m12s723his leg of the tour begins in Arkansas.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-18h56m25s878Vintage film of 4014 is included. Retirement was in 1961.

Brief history includes a little bit of 4014 update. Previous Pentrex Big Boy shows are referenced in this program.

Quickly into Oklahoma.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h01m27s822Fort Gibson bridge. Drone shot footage throughout

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h03m30s069Kansas City is next. The Union Station has been beautifully restored.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h11m38s848The Highline bridge is well documented, as waiting for the Big Boy to appear.Outstanding aerial view, as the 4014 is paced.

Additional drone footage is great! The train moves at a leisurely be pace towards Topeka. Sure is an advance, over endless runbys. As found in an average modern, steam show.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h22m21s286Arrival at Topeka. A restored UP station, now a museum.

Overnight here. Grain cars added for braking the following day.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h26m32s940A large amount of stored power at North Topeka. Evidence of changing opearational practices! Just a single yard. Think about it.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h17m08s648Are we there yet?

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h32m42s153Frequently referenced in old Western movies. This is Abilene. A modern canyon, created by grain elevators.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h35m22s469Model Railroad sized structures! Steam to diesel era. Your welcome.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h43m45s167Pentrex breaks the monotony, with a music video. It’s about the UP 9000 locomotive. Nebraska is the band. 9000 is the song.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h48m36s795Pretty amazing accomplishment. To obtain this amount of aerial. Not to be critical. If nature doesn’t cooperate, the results would be far less useable. Nearly all the scenes are perfect. Just be sure to appreciate it!

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h53m44s635A snowstorm is encountered. It is an improvement, over the brown fields.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h50m48s094If there is one new item learned with this aerial tour of rural Kansas. Not a burger joint in sight! Better pack a lunch. Lol.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h59m07s830Enter Hugo, Colorado. Desolation.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-20h01m02s283Limon has historical equipment on permanent display.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-20h08m41s937Arrival at Denver is in clear conditions. The city skyline is in the background.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-20h10m01s482Departing Denver, blizzard conditions are on hand the following morning.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h24m07s661The aerial approach makes this show! Rural Kansas in drab November, is not very scenic. The weather is favorable, for the majority of the time. The Big Boy is the star. Expert camerawork makes this program fly. Smartly paced and an interesting script, move this tour along. Pentrex can sure dance! They certainly elevate this one.

While this release doesn’t have the natural, scenic advantages. The aerial videography, makes it a worthy addition, to any Big Boy collection!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steam Rotary Snow Plow OY

ROTARY-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1991 (2019 Reissue)

Locations: Chama, Cumbres Pass

Length: 39 minutes

Sources: David Busse, Martin Orozco

Narrow gauge action, on Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. Watch, Steam Rotary Snowplow OY. It operates, on the 10,000 foot Cumbres Pass, with two Steam locomotives! Plenty of additional C&TS, train moves. Classic Museum Railroading.

This show is on a DVD-R. There are no extras. Save a preview, at the conclusion. Familiar voice of David Drui handles the narrative. Script is nicely written. High quality production throughout!

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-10h58m08s998The show begins at the C&TS yard in Chama, New Mexico. An operational steam rotary is a rarity. This vintage OY unit, was from Rio Grande. Actually, this was first OY usage in a decade.

Engines 487 and 488 are the steam power, for this snow removal train. A couple of work cars and a caboose


vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h06m18s699Water stop. All this steam equipment needs to be topped off.

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h13m36s937Plow and locomotives work hard upgrade.vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h09m27s754Some heavy snow encountered at Windy Point.

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h22m46s405Cumbres Pass Station. Deteriorating weather conditions.

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h29m02s605 A passenger special. The Chama Turn, it was once called.  Would turnback at Osier, Colorado. The run was 32 miles. Not discussed, although it might be the same move.

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h41m55s355Now, the opposite direction. The downhill snow removal train, only requires a single locomotive.

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h37m54s371The other engine, follows with passengers. Doesn’t this scene appear to be a Model Railroad?

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h35m00s474This show has recently been reissued in 2019. Likely, a fresh remaster. It looks great! Never saw the original. The rather short running time, makes the most of it. The chief concern for value.

vlcsnap-2020-02-14-11h33m09s265The trains are naturally, a slow paced affair. By using multiple camera angles and creative editing, it appears to pace faster.

There is everything here for steam fans. It reaches beyond, being a boring, watch the rotary turn endlessly, type of show! Smartly produced and a worthwhile additional to any Railfan’s collection.

Rating: 4 1/2 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