The Golden Twilight of Postwar Steam Vol.4

The Golden Twilight of Postwar Steam Vol.4 PostwarSteam_Pt4_DVD

Green Frog Productions

Length: 51 minutes

Time Period: 1940’s- 1950

Locations: Putnam/ Harlem NYC, NYO&W

Source: Frank W. Schlegel

MSRP: 29.98

A fascinating series continues in a 4th volume. Featuring the rare New York Central Putnam Division, from the late 1940’s. The NYC Harlem Division is also included in this show. It is Ten Wheeler heaven for those so inclined. Another co-star is the New York, Ontario & Western. NYO&W contains the ultra rare content.

1234 highbridge

Frank Schlegel was the Cinematographer for this collection of films. He had good proficiency with a movie camera. Much of the footage is black and white. Some pieces are color. Quality ranges from fair, to a majority of very good. Nice composition skills. In fact, for the era, an excellent selection of viewpoints. Much more than a series of runbys. Viewers will: ride trains, front end shot scenes, rear facing and some panoramic  frames. Steam engines are the star. A handful of early diesels. Yet, there are plenty of people and structures.

east viewColor film comes later. This Ten Wheeler leads a passenger move, perhaps at East View.

Harlem Division is the mainline New York Central that we are accustomed to seeing.

What is the oldest bridge in New York City, that connects 2 boroughs? Hint, it is not the Brooklyn Bridge. See the picture below.

croton aqueductVariation is a hallmark of these films. An m.u. ride yields a terrific scene at High Bridge. Part of the old Croton Aqueduct. Completed in 1842, the system carried fresh water by gravity, over 40 miles to New York City. A walkway on the top connects the Bronx and Manhattan.

Professional production in all aspects. Full narration. Appropriate soundtrack with well balanced levels. Smooth editing and best possible picture from the old films. An extremely detailed chapter menu. Unique, is a motion map of the territory. Switchable on/off narration.


1238 bronx1The Bronx, New York. Even in the late 1940’s, the endless high rise apartments are imposing.

The New York Central Putnam Division no longer exists. In this program, the line gets a basic tour. Station stops and travel the trackage. A well written script is informative. The show is fast paced. A multitude of vintage scenes

mt hope1Mount Hope is a contrast to the big city. Believed to be the hometown of Mr. Schlegel. By the way, model railroaders can have a field day with the plethora of railroad structures. Check this walkover passenger bridge for example.

5456 j2 hudson putnam jctPutnam Junction appears to have been a busy facility. A J2 class Hudson trundles slowly. This 5456 was finishing it’s career on the Putnam Division.

safety bridge                                         Is this scene a time portal or what?

white plainsOver at White Plains. One never knew what power was going to show up next.

conductorAs much as railroading has changed, some jobs are timeless.


New York, Ontario & Western is a major rarity to see in operation. That it is a feature here, is worth the price of admission. There is even some color film too. Viewers will experience some traveling on the OW. Stations and other points of interest make this a singular trip in time to the long abandoned railroad. The ‘Old Woman’ was closed in 1957. You do the math.

405Custom streamlined by a famed designer, the 405 is a sharp looker.

455 youngs gap                    Mountain type 455, bears down with a freight at Young’s Gap.

cn tower ordersA tour of the line is great. Begins at New York Central Ferry at Manhattan. Our train stops as the conductor receives orders for operation on the NYO&W. CN tower is this location.

stationRiding the mostly single track OW line has a much different feel from the sophisticated New York Central. Even in the 40’s, this road seems to fit one of the nicknames- ‘old and weary’.

y2 mountain 1947                     A 1947 chartered excursion looks glorious in color.

ft setAs the timeline progresses, Electromotive FT diesels appear. This FT ABBA set looks stunning, compared to the all black locomotives of the steam days.

Always prefer to close a review with a caboose. In this case, 2 railroads call for a pair!

nw2 122As the end came in the diesel era for the NYO&W, It is fitting to close with a colorful scene with this NW2 switcher.


New York Central was a cutting edge railroad in it’s prime. At the end of the day, the NYC crews were probably just as exhausted as their NYO&W counterparts. Yes, even on the Putnam Division.

The Golden Twilight of Postwar Steam Vol.4. Green Frog has produced an outstanding steam era trip back in time. A multitude of rarities make this a must have for railfans and model railroaders. Highly recommended to all train lovers.

Rating: 5 Stars


New York Central Odyssey Volume 2

New York Central Odyssey Volume 2

Green Frog Productions

Format: 2 DVD set

Length: 2 hours 45 minutes

Time Period: 1963- 1968

Locations: Detriot, Wayne Jct., Town Line Jct., Dearborn, Electric division, Syracuse division, Harmon,Toledo, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor…

Source: Emery Gulash

MSRP: 39.95

New York Central was Emery’s favorite railroad. In this second volume of Green Frog’s Odyssey, we will complete the New York Central Odyssey, as seen through the lens of Emery Gulash. All of the film is 16mm color!

last day at mc

Emery Gulash was one of the best railroad cinematographers of all-time. He had an unparallelled eye for great shots. The ability to travel far and wide. He has left a legacy of outstanding films for eternity. I call him one of the Original Masters of train videos.

In this set, notice the shots with the camera angle looking upwards, from the ground. This accentuates the size of the train cars and locomotives. He was using more viewpoints over the years. Some ground level tracks with high-line, bridge crossings have simultaneous trains. This set is action packed!

m497                                                    Pride of the Central. 1966.

delray twr                        A GP7 at  Del Ray Tower, crossing B&O tracks.

The 16mm films are all in color. They are from many different years and trips by Emery. I just love the way, that was once everyday, is captured so very well. He also films in all seasons and any kind of weather. Experienced fans will note that Emery does frequent his favorite locations.

mail trainEast of Ann Arbor, a long mail and express train races towards the camera.

For those who never have seen New York Central operating before Penn Central, this is a good way to get familiar with the Water Level Route. Both volumes of New York Central Odyssey are worthy programs to add to your collection.

Green Frog has done excellent production, with the proper care and presentation of these films. The picture is sharp. The colors are accurate and balanced.  Dubbed sound is convincing. The fine quality enhances the viewing pleasure.

toledoAudio contains trains matched to the locomotive builder. An Alco sounds correct, and so on. Emery had a collection of trackside recordings that he had also done. His and some others really pop out during the show.

Narration is the high standard that we expect from Bob Carrera, and this veteran production house. Descriptions are right on top of the action. Quite informative. Nice script!

There are a pair of DVD’s in this set. A detailed chapter menu divides by locations or month and year. Very helpful for navigating around this long playing feature film.

Disc One runs from 1963 into 1966. A few happenings..


Show opens in 1963 at Town Line Jct. with Alco RS32’s. Lightning stripes adorn a GP7, as C&O GP30’s pass overhead, on a bridge. At Ypsilanti, E8A and E7B units in lightning stripes with a long mail/ express train. More at Town Line with lightning stripes.


A wooden caboose can still be found on some freights. Stock car trains were getting outdated. Additional railroads found are: B&O, C&O, DT&I, D&TS, NKP and Wabash.

New York Central passenger trains are abundant. B&O Cincinnatian, once a week RDC, along with C&O action.


4016 chicagoan1

Toledo and the Maumee River bridge is a hotspot. Many first generation diesels. Slow movements around the bridge let viewers get a good look at locos and freight cars. Some mail/ express and passenger trains. C&O checks in with E8 powered George Washington. Plenty of freights, a great chapter.


As a whole, there is a good balance of freight, mail and passenger trains. The interesting mix of locomotives is a highlight.

boxcarsViewing the assorted, vintage boxcars is a pleasure.

co det

The first DVD includes a nice supply of B&O / C&O action.

Disc Two contains 1966- 1968.

Electric Division that runs alongside the Hudson River has a chapter. Harmon yard was the end of electrified territory. The New York Central shops were located here. Twentieth Century Limited and Empire State Express are shown, exchanging diesel and electric motors.

wayne tower

Wayne Jct. gives us a mecca of NYC freight trains. Moving at slow speeds, past the tower, there are the freight car views, that railfans want to see. Many types of diesels are on parade. Alco FA, FB, EMD F7A, F7B, F3A, GP9, GP20, E8, GP35, GE U boats and GP40 units are some. SW7 locos are a contrast to its’ bigger brothers. A few too many Wolverines, but liveable.


Although built in LaGrange, IL., nothing says ‘Detroit’ like a black GP30. Most of the power appears in the later ‘cigar band’ scheme. That’s fine with me. Those lightning stripes were always, way before my time. The logo looks even better on the nose of F7 locomotives. Speaking of what looks good, the numerous Alco FA units are like cab units on steroids! Doubly so, when filmed tight to the track.

Trains are quite a far cry from the boring, unit concepts of today. The multitude of boxcars provide a cornucopia of classic roadnames. I’ll take a meat train over a unit grain anytime. Unenclosed auto rack trains, like ML12, with over 1500 automoblies are something else. They were moved in daylight, to discourage vandals.


Mail trains with: REA cars, baggage and flexi-vans, are mixed with old Railway Post Office cars. These trains were once, priority service. New High- Cube boxcars for auto parts were all the rage in the mid-sixties. Many are shiny new.  Nearly, every freight has a jade green, bay window caboose to boot!

Passenger trains are present, in 1967, in quantity. They tend to be interspersed with the plethora of freights. There is a long passenger segment here, in 1967.

Epilogue as Penn Central, early 1968, post merger trains are seen. Mail trains now require a caboose. Other Pennsylvania practices and PRR locomotives, are incorporated onto ‘green team’ trains. Finally, Penn Central painted diesels are in the engine lash-ups.

caboose1This is one of the best Odyssey releases from Green Frog. Superb cinematography, smooth edits, fine audio are combined with an excellent narrative. There are numerous, striking first generation diesel lash-ups. Outstanding, is the attention given to those classic freight trains. A trainwatchers dream!

Rating: 5 Stars

American Train Video Reviews

New York Central Odyssey Volume 2

Green Frog Productions

Format: 2 DVD set

Length: 2 hours 45 minutes

Time Period: 1963- 1968

Locations: Detriot, Wayne Jct., Town Line Jct., Dearborn, Electric division, Syracuse division, Harmon,Toledo, Ypsilanti, Ann Arbor…

Source: Emery Gulash

MSRP: 39.95

New York Central was Emery’s favorite railroad. In this second volume of Green Frog’s Odyssey, we will complete the New York Central Odyssey, as seen through the lens of Emery Gulash. All of the film is 16mm color!

last day at mc

Emery Gulash was one of the best railroad cinematographers of all-time. He had an unparallelled eye for great shots. The ability to travel far and wide. He has left a legacy of outstanding films for eternity. I call him one of the Original Masters of train videos.

In this set, notice the shots with the camera angle looking upwards, from the ground. This accentuates the size of the train…

View original post 840 more words

ALCO’S on the Island

ALCO’S on the Islandcover

A & R Productions

Length: 70 minutes

Time Period: Late 1960’s

Locations: Long Island City, Jamaica- Union Hall, Port Jefferson, and many more…

Sources: Rolf H. Schneider, Seldom B. Adams

MSRP: 29.95

The Long Island Railroad is shown in the late 1960’s. This one falls under the hard to find category. Realize, the LIRR has a huge passenger- commuter business. The carrier also ran freight trains. In this show, there are barely any freights. Alco powered trains are approximately half the screentime, and split with multiple unit commuter equipment. As this was filmed over at least a few years time, there should have been more freight inclusion.

Ted Dalaku with his usual competent narration. Train sounds are adequate. Attention to detail is apparent by the producer. Many map references are to standard style road maps. Location awareness is well done. A well organized presentation.

advance cannonbal rs3 kew gardensThe Cannonball hustles through Kew Gardens behind a pair of Alco RS3 locomotives. This move is heading to Montauk. Long Island had been acquiring used passenger cars from many various railroads that were exiting the streamliner business. A cornucopia containing former Pennsylvania, Kansas City Southern, Seaboard Coast Line, Florida East Coast and New York Central cars are some of what can be found.

rs3 seacliff                                             RS3 at Seacliff Station in the winter weather.

cannonbal c420 mp54

Long Island Cannonball ( Wabash did not have the only Cannonball). Speeds by an mu.

li c420Long Island C420 passes by in Jamaica. Odd, no scenes of massive Sunnyside Yard.

Seems to have been filmed in 8mm format. Camera is sometimes too close to trackside. Excellent coverage from a geographic standpoint.  As the camera is on a station platform so much, it would be nice to have viewed more of the stations. Further out on the island, the composition improves. On the whole, fair to good cinematography.

alco c420 smokeClassic smoky Alco exhaust. The consist is all ex: New York Central.

mp54 island park drawbridgeLong Beach branch crosses Reynolds Channel. This MP54 set is on the drawbridge on a return move, and is entering Island Park.

m1 nassau towerModern and boring, the 1968 built, M1 trainsets are seen way too much, for an Alco program. Feels like time filler. One scene has Nassau Tower. A landmark for local fans. This structure is more interesting than the interpolating runbys of M1 trains.

union hall mp54

At Union Hall, near Jamaica, an M54 set displays a common 1960’s commuter train. Uncommon, is the single M54 car with a center orange stripe.

lirr 228 c420 fantripAlco C420 in a blue and yellow livery.LIRR 228 is leading a fantrip.

rs3 turntableThe turntable view gives a good side shot of a 1960’s RS3 paint scheme.

dashing danThe Route of the Dashing Commuter was a common logo on the equipment. Dashing Dan was the name for the rushing commuter.

fantripThere was no caboose shot to close the review. This observation car will suffice.

ALCO’s on the Island does showcase the Long Island Railroad in the 1960’s. A steam excursion chase behind a Black River & Western adds variety and demonstrates some of the shortcomings. Cameos by Fairbanks Morse C-Liners and Baby Trainmasters are short and sweet.

Expectations created by the title were only partially met. A single RS1 scene. Zero for Alco switchers. A few FA control units. Only a few freight moves. Abundance of mu trains, while they are good to have, takes away from overall balance.

At the end of the day, this railroad is a scarce one to have vintage films.

Rating: 3 Stars

New York Central Collection

New York Central Collectioncvr


3 shows on one DVD

Lengrth: 1 hour 47 minutes

Time Period: 1920’s- 1960’s

Locations: Systemwide

Sources: New York Central, many others

MSRP: 29.95

Pentrex has compiled three vintage New York Central shows on a single DVD. All of these are from the 1950’s, prime era for the railroad. There is a promotional show for the public. An employee film. Third is a 1955 television broadcast from Grand Central Terminal. Each film will be reviewed separately now.

The Water Level Route

Bill Warrick hosts this NYC documentary. Begins in the 1920’s and into the 1960’s. Steam is the star of the show. Diesel and some Electrics, as well. Passenger and freight service. Innovative Flexivans and loading of one, are seen in color. Films are both: b&w, and color. Much to see in this one hour.


Train sounds and period type music. At times, sounds like a Laurel and Hardy movie. Lively narration and a fun atmosphere. Plenty of history is conveyed. Many steam engine classes are represented.

dreyClassic Dreyfus streamlined Hudson. Extended coverage of the J3 class Hudsons. The 20th Century Limited receives enough of the storyline to be another main feature.

nailThe big Niagara seems to be overpowered, for this mail train.

1The railroad continues until merger with Pennsylvania. A few glimpses of Penn Central and Conrail conclude this program.


He uses many excerpts from various New York Central produced films. Systemwide scope, although focused on: major stations, division points, classification yards, and mainline action.

Water Level Route is a compilation style program. He gets a huge amount of steam power into the film. Quality varies from the different years. Overall, this one is very good.

Within the Oval

detAn early 1950’s employee film , as presented by the railroad. All color and runs for 30 minutes. While many of this era’s company produced films can be somewhat corny, this one is much better than average. Many views of steam and diesel. Passenger and freight. A small amount of electric and waterfront activities. Heavy industry, home building, factories and competing transportation modes are all seen. People and the many varied jobs they perform are reviewed.

e7aMany fantastic shots of transitional era locomotives.

rpoInside a Railway Post Office car. Mail sacks were picked up and dropped along the route. Often, even while the train was moving from town to town. New York Central and many others, ran entire trains dedicated to US Mail. The RPO cars were also common on passenger trains of the time. Baggage cars were used to move large volumes between cities.

United States Post Office Department railway clerks were issued, and wore a sidearm. No train robberies with armed employees aboard !

autoAutomobile carriage was a completely different mindset.

This is an outstanding show for it’s time. Very clean picture on this show.

The 20th Century Limited on TV

Omnibus was a prestigious television show. This episode from January, 1955. New York Central 20th Century Limited was featured. They also wanted to show a modern railroad terminal at work. We see a live network broadcast from Grand Central Terminal. Alistair Cooke was the host. David P. Morgan, editor from Trains magazine, was also present. About 30 minutes long, in black and white. Pentrex has added a brief introduction.


The Limited was delayed, and David P. Morgan had to fill the time, on his own!

Shown are the crew of 46, serving on this elite train. Various personnel around the station. The interlocking area and dispatcher get good screen time. Interesting to see parts of Grand Central Station at work. Originally intended as a look at the station. Would have liked to see the whole train depart.  Interesting period piece. A single viewing is good enough.


The Collection:

There are the three shows all featuring New York Central. Within the Oval is the best of the lot. The Water Level Route is a good one. The TV show is analogous to a throw in for the group.

New York Central fans will enjoy having this set on a single DVD. A chapter menu permits immediate access to each of the films. Good family viewing. A nice one to have at home.

Rating: 4 Stars

Northeast Vintage Diesels

Northeast Vintage Diesels

Green Frog Productions

Length: 34 minutes

Time Period: Late 1950’s- 1960’s

Locations: Conneaut, South Plainfield, Bear Mountain, Erie, Pocono Summit, Lakeport…

Source: Bill McClellan

MSRP: 24.95

Classic railroad action from the late 1950’s, into the mid 1960’s. Ohio and the Northeast are the covered states. Many eastern railroads are included within this show. This fast paced tour is jam packed and makes the most of a rather short length. Cab rides and a wide array of trains ramp up the adrenaline.

Bill McClellan filmed this all color collection in gorgeous 16mm. Dolby Digital sound on a fine sounding audio track. Natural sounds are combined with a smooth narrative. The dubbed train sounds are a good choice. Narration has an on/off option. An older release, there are no maps or chapter menu.

There are the big class ones, New York Central, Pennsylvania, and Erie Lackawanna shown. This review will focus the majority of screenshots, from other Northeast railroads.

Bill McClellen was accompanied by his boys on some outings. They do grow as the years pass. The beginning is centered at Conneaut, Ohio. Although mainly freight trains, there are passenger moves, interspersed throughout the program. Electrics on Pennsylvania and Budd RDC cars are also in cameo shots.

This shot tells of the Norfolk & Western merger. Wabash is represented on the right with a cylindrical covered hopper. Nickle Plate has the caboose. So take your pick. Cannonball Service or High Speed Service? N&W chose to take both.

This cab ride contains the former structures intact at Conneaut, Ohio. A later ride shows some buildings here, being demolished. Retired Berkshires are lined up on a previous visit to Conneaut Yard.

Erie Lackawanna and it’s predecessor paint schemes are here. Assorted  Geeps and solid F units in multiple unit lash-ups. Overhead and ground level views.

Bessemer & Lake Erie with some Alco RSD-12 units on the lead of a coal drag.

                                         Jersey Central has an extended segment.

                                         Lehigh Valley has good coverage as well.

                                            Central Vermont was a surprise!

Erie Lackawanna Maintenance of Way. The large crew has much equipment at work. The cameraman gets unbelievable close-up views. Film within the film. Fascinating.

Boston & Maine EMD SW1. One of the best looking liveries, on a switcher!

Too many choices of great screens to showcase. There are the vintage cabooses on most of the featured railroads. A mixture of distant and closer viewpoints.

The Northeastern caboose type is prominent. There are additional styles too.

                            Lehigh Valley had this pair crossing a tall bridge/ trestle.

Lakeport, New Hampshire provides a bucolic setting for this Boston & Maine freight.

Northeast Vintage Diesels is an excellent show! The running time is rather short. What is seen, really packs in high quality viewing. Anyone with an interest in classic trains will find this an enjoyable program.

Rating: 4 Stars