The Hard Coal Roads: what went wrong
Charles Smiley Presents
Format: Factory Pressed DVD
Length: 1 hour 40 minutes + 20 minutes previews
Time Period: 1970- 1976
Sources: Joseph Zook, Jack Kuiphoff, Will Whittaker.
Charles has the Eastern hard coal roads featured in the pre-Conrail era. This new program, contains a cornucopia of rare, and unreleased film. Featured railroads: Lehigh Valley, Reading, Jersey Central, Erie Lackawanna, Delaware and Hudson, plus Penn Central. There are also some connecting lines. Railfans will see an action packed show!
Central Railroad of New Jersey. Red Baron paint scheme on an Alco RS3.
Much of the film has hard to find footage, in high quality. This collection surpasses anything that I have seen for the first three railroads. Face the facts, LV, RDG and CNJ are usually available in grainy, unrestored issues. They didn’t capture the attention of railfan cinematographers very much.
Riding a hard coal train in the year………….. 1919.
Hard coal… anyone?.. The answer is Anthracite coal… What went wrong?…Why are there nearly zero coal trains in this program?…. How does this lead into Conrail?….. Watch this show.
Reading Lines had a unique, cab roof rain gutter over the cab windows. Number 5209 is a Century 424. It leans into a superelevated curve.
Alco Centuries were part of the D&H Alco heavy roster. The lightning stripe livery, is a true classic. Number 610 is a C628. At 2750 horsepower, it was a powerful locomotive. One of three that still exist. This one survives at a museum in Mexico.
Lehigh Valley C-628 in the stunning Snowbird scheme.
Alcophiles will love all of that builders diesels in use by these railroads. Plenty of Electromotive too.
Charles is also a talented model railroader. He has an eye for including scenes that are conducive to the hobby. Note all of the details in this scene. Structure, signals, rural crossing etc..
All six railroads benefit from Mr. Smiley’s extensive digital restoration. The colors are accurate. Images and the trains seem to jump off the screen.
Jersey Central with a pair of Alco RSD-5 locomotives. Passenger trains are sometimes operating with leased power. Some unrepainted, second hand cars are surprising.
The audio levels are well balanced. The narrative and train sounds have even levels. There are various musical pieces interpolated throughout the show.
Always improving his products, check the updated maps. D&H with trackage rights.
All CSP shows have nice surprises. A railroad that is hard to find, Boston & Maine.
Erie Lackawanna receives extensive coverage. All have their historical background described. Viewers will have an understanding of the regional big picture.
A meticulous producer. Location awareness is always a priority. Using: narration, text graphics and a fabulous array of maps to enhance the story.
Penn Central electric operations are one facet of the vast railroad.
A 20 minute preview section is included. Total time is 2 hours. Man, I like the looks of Northeast Rails. Conrail fans will find plenty in these previews.
The USRA Northeast caboose is all over the show! Visible on different roads, in assorted liveries. Watch for these gems.
The Hard Coal Roads: what went wrong. I have watched the program and heard the history. Any railfan or model railroader should find this an enjoyable sojourn on these fallen flags. Extremely interesting and has the rarity factor. In short, this exemplary show is a must have!
Rating: 5 Stars