The Fifties Express

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Producer: William Brown

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: USA, Canada

Length: 52 minutes

Source: Irving E. August

Irving August is a notable railroad Cinematographer, from the 1950s. This impressive all color collection, is a wide ranging one. Covering a variety of lines, in the United States, and Canada.

Steam and early diesel. Electrified lines. Freight and passenger trains. An ore hauler. A tourist line.vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h24m31s999

Mr. August filmed in high quality 16mm! A mixture of music, and train sounds. No additional extras.

Rege Cordic is the familiar voice on WB Video. He does a professional job.

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At under an hour, the pace is fast. Some of the edits are abrupt. Given the limitations of the period equipment. He probably ran out of film. For the rarity, it is a wash. Rather see those trains.

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Each railroad is billboarded. The corresponding footage is then shown. The earliest date quoted is 1950.

There is even more! Here are some highlights. Figure that it was probably the best of his own feels. More or less.

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Canadian National is west of Montreal.

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Boston and Maine. Pacific power on locals.

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New Haven is chased on a fantrip.

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Baltimore and Ohio. Action packed. Plenty of trains here Steam and diesel.

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Western Maryland, is using steam and diesels. Mid-train helpers and pushers.

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Milwaukee Road Little Joe electric locomotives, in rarely seen paint.

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New York Central has several trains.

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Nickel Plate Road, shared the right of way with New York Central, in Westfield, Ohio. Number 748 is one of the Berkshire class.

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Norfolk and Western, is one of the longest chapters. Although, there are no designated chapters, on a menu. Focus on the behemoth Y-6 class. The 600 series passenger locomotives are seen.

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An unusual scene. N&W work train in a backup move.

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Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. Another extensive visit. Yellowstone’s, for certain.

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Canadian Pacific receives lengthy attention around scenic Kicking Horse Pass. Including some footage from a passenger car.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-18h01m04s354Two for CP. Need a Selkirk. A beauty!

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Northern Pacific steam is hard to find. Irving has some here.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h54m35s448A large coaling tower gives the feel of keeping large steam in service. Northern Pacific.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h18m24s280Similar scene on Central Vermont.

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Caboose on Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. The majority of cabooses were shades of red. These are standouts!

The Fifties Express

An Express tour seeing over a dozen railroads in the fabulous 1950’s. A fine presentation. Suitable for family viewing.

Rating: 5 Stars

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Atlanta Steam Celebration

NRHS94-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1994

Locations: Atlanta

Length: 90 minutes

Two classic steam locomotives star. Norfolk & Western 611. Frisco 1522 .

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The Frisco engine receives better coverage. It was a newer restoration at the time. Notice, it was the leader on the doubleheader moves.

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N&W 611 does get screentime. Sharing it with everything else. A definite co-star.

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No Chapter Menu. On screen locations. Full narration. Enviornmental audio.

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There are several route maps. Filmed with high quality of Pentrex.

The Peach Blossom Special begins the show. Both locomotives pull this train towards the destination.

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The New Georgia FP7 pair, with a dinner train. Run out of Atlanta for their part.

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Georgia Northeastern is featured with a rare mileage trip. Behind geeps. A Marietta, one way, out and back.

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Frisco 1522, is a 4-8-2 Mountain type. An Oil burner now. It is shown running Atlanta to Macon.

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Plenty of 1522 scenes. Runbys.

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A good sequence of pacing the Frisco!

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The show sidebars into details of an off day for the steam engines. Veering off topic.  Checkout the model train swap meet. Look at the classrooms. Look, the banquet! Feels like filler.

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Not of interest. What activities were at a hotel. Spending time on the local transit system tour. Yawn.

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They continue with the Norfolk Southern tour. Their nearby training facility. Locomotive cab simulator. Real train on training trackage. Model train with signal training. A welding shop. Repair facility. All quickly.

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No promised ride on the 9 mile training track! Only a runby.

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Back to steam engines. The 611 pulls an excursion. At least, about halfway.

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Two Norfolk Southern diesels will handle the return trip.

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The train is then reassembled. Return to origin.

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A Royal Palm Special departs town on the final day.

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Shows like this don’t get me too excited. The thrill of seeing any restored steam locomotives operate, usually falls into a repetitive formula of runbys. Too much filler in this program.

This one is not my cup of tea. Maybe it’s yours.

Rating: 3 Stars

Ohio Steam in the ’50’s

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Producer: A&R

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Ohio

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Source: Ed Birch, Sr.

A fabulous collection of classic steam. Filmed during the 1950s. Ed Birch shot all of this, in full color. He was on a high level.  This covers several railroads.

Baltimore and Ohio, Nickel Plate, New York Central plus Pennsylvania Railroad. Special guest stars, are big Santa Fe 5000 class power!

There is even a little Grand Trunk Western. Cameos of Detroit interurbans.

A sprinkling of early diesels appear.

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There is no Chapter Menu. No maps either. Dubbed sound for the trains. Good sound levels. Some scenes work better than others.

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Carrothers Tower, with Pennsylvania Railroad signage

 Narration by Aaron Gonthier. Basic script. Locomotives and locations. Additional information.

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Excellent looking films! Some occasional flaring. Very clean. Fine Cinematography.

Too much to get it all here. Hit some highlights. Not in running order.

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Baltimore and Ohio had moved steam into this area. Their behemoth, EM-1 can be found operating with a Pacific. Going to Wheeling. 

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EM-1, in a flurry of scenes around the yard.

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Ride into Deschler. On a B&O passenger train. Quick trip. Much happens at busy Deschler station. The inclusion of railroad structures are valuable.

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4618 leaves Deschler, with a friendly wave from the Engineer.

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5301  Cincinnatian. Streamlined Pacific stops at Deschler. Ride this train to Toledo.

 

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New York Central. Niagara 6014 departs with a passenger train. Toledo.

 

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Central Union Terminal. A modern passenger station. Built in 1950.

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Grafton, West Virginia. An important B&O facility. A good visit there.

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B&O 4453 getting water. Fascinating scene, 50 ton hoppers elevated.

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Cincinnatian to Detroit. PCC cars on Woodward Ave.

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Grand Trunk Western Station. Milwaukee Junction.  See the locomotive service area. A bit dark. Time of day perhaps. Notice, how they do not promote this segment.

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Sandusky in 1956. ATSF 2-10-4 engines on lease. Model Railroaders will find plenty of freight cars in the trains.

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Berkshire 776 has picked up orders at Bellvue. Nice sequence.

 

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A Santa Fe 5000 class, on the: Mansfield to Carrothers, Pennsylvania Railroad line.

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Attica Jct. This tower gives a sense of size to the large 2-10-4 Santa Fe steam engines. Note the man at the bottom of the stairs.

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Tiffen, on the Pennsylvania. A PRR J1

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B&O Q4 Mikado paced sequence.

vlcsnap-2019-05-13-17h43m34s743A Nickel Plate Road Berkshire, meets newer diesels. This was the near the end for steam on NKP.

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Baltimore and Ohio caboose,with an older paint scheme. Look at those colors!

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Nickel Plate Road, with High Speed Service.

Excellent program that exceeded expectations. Non- stop action of classic transition era trains. Variety of locomotives and the railroads are intriguing.

Ed Birch’s work, will stand with any of the well known Cinematographers. Outstanding composition. This man knew how to film a train!

This show is a must see for any steam fan.

Great for family viewing. You might find yourself wishing for more…

Rating: 5 Stars

The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Empire Builder Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1940 – 1950s

Locations: USA

Length: 1 hour 35 minutes

Five vintage films from the 1940s and ’50s. Professionally produced by the Railroad organizations of the time. Most, if not all of these have circulated. Convenient to have a group on a single DVD.

A detailed Chapter Menu breaks them down by the five movie titles.  A Play All option, as well.

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These shall be reviewed by individual title. All are narrated. Full color films.

A roll up and combined rating upon completion.

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Burlington Route FT set. One of the myriad of rarities.

On The Track 

AAR short film of 1950s era. Dudley Productions.  A shared theme of America produces, and ships by rail. Wide variety of railroads passby the camera.  

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There are a number of famous landmarks. Prosperous, post war America. There are similar films made during this time.

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Covers much subject matter in about 15 minutes. Historical look back into time. Heavy industry is one focus.

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Plenty of early diesels. F and E units dominate. A few odd, Alco and Baldwin units. Several steam locomotives.

 

Life – Line of the Nation

Another Carl Dudley Production. Don McNamara has the narrator credit.

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An earlier film. Deals with World War 2. The valuable role of US railroads to move the military. The industry to manufacture equipment.

C&O 1490 is shown above.

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Hence, a National defense theme. Milwaukee Road box cab electrics.

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Get busy identifying what you see in all of these shows. Look closely…

Florida East Coast!

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Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby!

Runs about 20 minutes. Plenty of steam.

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Rare, New York Central Empire State Express.

Early diesels in small numbers here.

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The might of the US industrial complex, to support the war effort. Cooperation amoung the railroads to move everything.

The responsibility of the railroads to keep the peace time America rolling.

 

225,000 Mile Proving Ground

A 1958 produced, Association of American Railroads. Dudley Pictures.

The Headline Story of Railroad Research.

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The subtitle sums up where this movie short is going. These old films do like to emphasize just how well they are doing!

This Union Pacific Turbine, is the future.

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The science of Railroading. Metallurgy, as in more durable rail is one subject. Freight car design and uniform improvements.

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Improved refrigerator equipment. Santa Fe.

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Modern hump yard.

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Modern signaling for reliable train movements. Great Northern.

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Boxcars are constantly improved.

America’s 225,000 rail miles are the proving ground for so much technology.

Suffice it to say, A Chicago headquarters, was at the forefront, of the leading edge.

Railroads and National Defense

Dudley Pictures. Korean War era.

America: with natural resources, industrial might and a strong military. Ready to meet any challenge. Transportation is the key.

 

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This short is packed with early diesels!

Missouri – Kansas – Texas E units. MKT.

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This one reassures the public, that our railroads are more than ready to move the military.vlcsnap-2019-04-28-20h15m48s775

By now, you will notice the recycling of some footage. Remember, the producers were doing these films separately. They would have never dreamed of a single DVD!

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Seaboard train

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Buses move troops to the trains. Going to embarkation areas.

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Runs about 12 minutes. Many of the same trains seen previously. Like this Monon.

In a way, seen one, seen them all with these old short films. They vary somewhat. Yet, are quite similar.

Mainline USA

Also an AAR release from the 1950s. Dudley Pictures. Gilmore is this narrator.

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Probably the best of this collection. Many diesels. Pennsylvania Baldwin Sharks.

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Rock Island TA.

Again with the greatest America.

Same recycled footage. Much new and additional film.

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This one contains the largest selection of diesels. Western Maryland trio, in fireball paint scheme.

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Baltimore and Ohio F7A.

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Advances, such as truck trailers on flatcars.

Runs about 20 minutes.

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The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Pentrex has delivered on the advertised. These vintage short films are of a historical nature. Repeat scenes, no extra charge!

Years ago, many old train films were difficult to obtain. Much has surfaced over the decades. There are still some rare birds. Although, only a quick glimpse of each.

Overall, an authentic period collection. Has trains, and much more. One viewpoint of American life. May or may not, be of interest.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Steam to St Louis

S2SL-DVD

Pentrex

Timeframe: 1990

Locations: 9 states

Length: 90 minutes

Comprehensive coverage, of three of the largest steam locomotives. They travelled to the NRHS 1990 Convention, in St. Louis. Over 9 states and thousands of rail miles.

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Union Pacific 844. Norfolk and Western 1218. Cotton Belt 819. These are the Stars of this show.

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No Chapter Menu. No maps are given. There are location graphics.

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Cotton Belt 819 starts off at home. Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The Cotton Belt Historical Society is shown doing preperations on the 819 and passenger cars.

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Built in 1942. This was a recent restoration.

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A slim looking steam engine, compared to the other two in this show.

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The Cotton Belt locomotive has the least amount of screentime.

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Union Pacific 844 is seen at the Cheyenne Shops. It will pull a 37 car freight. A three day trip, to reach Saint Louis.


vlcsnap-2019-04-27-19h50m38s524The big Northern makes good time across Farmville. Unfortunately, slower traffic ahead will cause lengthy delays.

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Reached N. Platte Yard. Overnights.

Another freight assignment for 844. Eastbound to Marysville, Kansas.

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Hours of service expired on crew.

Next day, a short freight to Kansas City .

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The excursion runs out from St Louis. Back to Cheyenne, with the passenger consist.

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N&W 1218 at Columbus, Ohio. This is the biggest steamer in the show. Soft whistle, that is pleasing to the ear.

Pulling a passenger special right at the start.

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A stop at Portsmouth. The narrative on this 1218 chapter is insufficient.

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Maps are needed to track the trains progress.

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Some more discussion of this locomotive would have been good.

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Also, some information about the territory. Never heard of these places!

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So much for the minimalist approach.

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Yes, the natural audio sounds great. Yet, a balanced presentation works the best.

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This show was not what I expected. It centers on the three steam engines journey. To the St. Louis 1990 Convention.

The actual event is a totally separate release. Interesting, is this approach.

St. Louis Steam Celebration, is that show.

The program certainly needs maps. A three part Chapter Menu would have been good. Additional narration on the Norfolk & Western locomotive, would have been good.

Sum total. A solid show, it has three great steam locomotives. Enjoyable to watch. Good for family viewing.

Rating: 4 Stars