Southern Pacific Steam Anthology

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Producer: Alva Morrison, JMJ

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: system

Length: 47 minutes

Source: John Kirkland

An updated 2016 remaster and new edit. John Kirkland spent years, documenting every type of Southern Pacific Steam locomotive. All encompassing collection. Everything from diminutive yard switchers, to SP exclusive Articulateds. Color film throughout!

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The Single DVD-R, has a finely detailed Chapter Menu. Full complement of maps. On-screen graphics on most everything. Organized like a book.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h58m32s149The film is beautifully remastered. Appears to have been originally filmed in 16mm. Excellent color balance. Very clean, with a minimum of any flaws. The overall impression of the collection is, Amazing!

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h57m48s208The show is narrated. Audio is dubbed. Common with films of this vintage. Good results. Music is blended or used in the soundtrack. A former Cotton Belt engine is seen above.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h24m58s952The Southern Pacific was a vast empire. Having extended into many other areas. Interurban service is the most commonly known. San Francisco to Oakland ferry service is briefly shown.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-08h57m03s499The only concern. Not a deal breaker by any means. As the locomotive catalog is revealed. The fast edits are very fast. Barely view the running gear, here comes the tender, and out. Next! It gets a little annoying. Perhaps, that is all there was available. Considering the goal, time and effort. I would guess there was a second or two more.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h03m50s616On this fantrip. Street running and a 1955 Chevy. Looks like Fiesta Red. A custom color, for Fender guitars. Those colors were from automobile paint. Off topic, but too cool to pass it up!

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h07m09s994Action sequences are included for many types. Freight and passenger. Mainline, Branchline and Yard scenes. Stations, Street running and Fantrips.

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This Diamond Stack Special attracted attention, back in the day. Think about it.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h00m05s296A tiny Yard Goat rides the turntable at Mission in San Francisco. This served the Passenger engines there.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h15m34s573At the Bayshore yard. 2477 sets the pop valves.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h12m05s963The 2-8-0 Consolidations were workhorses in the SP empire. Larger boiler engines, were ex: St. Louis Southwestern. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h05m34s034Examine the detail on this 2-6-0 locomotive. Model Railroaders should note the weathering. A small Vanderbilt tender. Better views within…

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h28m09s639 Southern Pacific type, 4-10-2. Rolls off it’s last miles.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h28m18s390Appreciate the detail on the freight cars.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h33m03s855AC types could pull long trains..

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h30m59s236Pusher duty was some of the last service for AC-9 types.

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h32m44s115The huge AC -10. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-18-09h11m03s424Old style SP cabooses. The standard for the era.

Southern Pacific Anthology.

A comprehensive overview of SP Steam in the mid- 20th Century. This awesome collection is in beautiful remastered all-color 16mm film.

The excellent Cinematographer, is a consistent source. Sharp production has a well organized show. Nice action sequences. A great selection, for any Steam Fan!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

CN, CP and TH&B

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1950s- 1970s

Locations: Hamilton, Dundas sub, Aldershot, Burlington, more

Length: 103 minutes

Sources: John Spring, Ken Spring, Bill Mathews

An amazing collection of all color films. Hamilton, Ontario Canada area. Vintage 1950s to 1970s. Rarities and everyday scenes; including, steam and diesel locomotives. Heavy on freight trains. Passenger trains as well.

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Official Subtitle is: Railroading in Hamilton during the 50’s – 70’s. Some extra information. A 1956 Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo chapter.  1967 Railfan Trip. 1977 Snow Plow. 1972 EL Reroute. 6218 Fantrip. More…

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-12h06m21s007 A single DVD-R. This new 2019 release includes a detailed Chapter Menu. No maps. Everything has an informative graphic. No narrative.

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Digitally processed. Clean images. Many scenes appear to be 16mm film. Vibrant colors, overall. Some overcast weather, is duller. It is a great vintage film collection. All color!

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Audio is excellent. Train sounds with some Enviornmental audio. Good levels. Some occasional wind noise, but sensibly leveled.

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Strongly would have preferred a narrated show. The trains are coming at a fast pace! Explanation on certain rarities would have added value. Information in general, could have been extremely beneficial. An odd decision.

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The films are excellent! Great colors.  and balance throughout. No small feat. This is a motherlode of Canadian trains! Spanning two decades. Three film sources.

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The on-screen graphics denote trains, locations etc.. Solid information. Wish there was more. Without a map, no reference point to nail the given locations. However, these vintage scenes are worth owning.

Penn Central powered Canadian Pacific train, passing a Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo switcher above.

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A wide array of trains. Surprising variety of roadnames. Including a fair amount of United States railroads. Enough cabooses to satisfy. Chesapeake and Ohio. Surprising!

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This review space will only skim the top of what is contained in this vast collection.

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Toronto, Hamilton and Buffalo in 1956. An NRHS fantrip, behind a steam engine. See and depart the roundhouse area.

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-13h01m21s745Let’s ride! You get the idea…

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-11h53m58s655Canadian National F units, on a Queen’s train.

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Canadian Pacific, in the Maroon and Gray. Factory fresh paint above. Both, block and script lettered units are found.

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More steam action than expected. Regular service, fantrips, double-headers and this triple-header! Comes at the viewer, like a blizzard.

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Steam is present. Big and Small. Dead or Alive. In service, on display, or at the yards.

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New York Central is commonplace. If memory serves, I believe that Penn Central later had a Canadian division. Connections at, Detroit and Buffalo, more or less.

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In 1972, Erie Lackawanna was rerouting freights. Possibly, flooding. Several trains, this one serves nicely here.

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Check those Chicago and North Western bi-level cars. Believe it or not. A steam locomotive is on the front!

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Canadian National Faiirbanks Morse diesels are a rare sight.

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-12h14m49s443How about this CN 1967 Centennial set? Never heard of those.

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-13h07m50s916A fantrip was aboard this Canadian Pacific Budd car. It runs around a little. The bridge scenes is the best one.

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A one of a kind; New York Central with a Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo. This is on a frigid, January day. 1967 fantrip.

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Canadian National is all over the place. The Alco designs in the CN wet noodle, are memorable.

vlcsnap-2019-11-16-12h08m28s952Ontario Northland has a few different paint schemes on their F units.

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Late in the show. Several Comfort Cabs tip us off, to the 1970s. A wreck has the cranes at work, as well.

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GO Transit appears in some early versions.

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Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo caboose.

Green Frog has a fantastic release here. Really deserves a narrative. The strength of the quality vintage films makes it a must have for Canadian Railfans. There are enough items of general interest, that should appeal to all Railfans.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Illinois Central:1990-1991

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Producer: Mary R. McPherson

Timeframe: 1990-1991

Locations: Centralia, DuQuoin, Rust Jct., Carbondale, more

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Sources: George Redmond and Kurt I. Jensen

The Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era.

Last of 4 volumes about the Illinois Central, in the Heritage Series. This by Diverging Clear Productions. Mary McPherson is the Producer. Long program. Highlights only.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h15m45s008Obviously, the last stand for those old warhorse GP9 rebuilds, of various incarnations. From Orange and White Illinois Central,  later Illinois Central Gulf. The final survivors,  were mostly black repaints.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h12m51s263A single DVD-R, in a Slimline case. No Chapter Menu. No maps. Plenty of on-screen graphics. Full narration by Mary McPherson. Very informative. Train symbols, locations and railroad history/ operations. 

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The Heritage Series. These are niche videos. Mainly filmed by George Redmond. Good with his camera. Age isn’t favorable to vintage videotapes. The subject matter is what makes these desirable.

Amateur shot videos. Produced and released by this Independent label. Mary has come a long way on this release. Restoration work. It looks better. Sharp editing, plays smoother. Balanced audio. Improvements in all areas!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m48s781Some rare territory is included in this show. The Bluford division, aka the Edgewood Cut-Off. Oddly enough, this is not where those old geeps are to be found.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h04m37s442This show is dominated by second generation power. GP38 and GP40 engines. SD40 units. Also, those odd SD20 locomotives. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h23m33s443Of course there are: GP8, GP10 and GP11 units. Although, not in quantity, until later. So be patient. A rare GP35 in black, that was a Gulf, Mobile & Ohio unit appears.

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The first half is in the Bluford division. Shot in 1990. Plenty of inclement, wintery weather. The bridge viewpoint, is overused for too many head-on views of oncoming trains. Perhaps, a little editing could have been useful here.

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Color balance is very good overall. Nothing weird. Brightness issues, in the first half. Videography is very good. Historical value, not modern viewing standards.

Trains look good on a large, HDTV. Backgrounds can look artificial, occasionally. Nothing to worry about. No deal breakers. A clean train picture, seems have been the goal.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h28m30s240Illinois Central was always known for hauling coal. Still, a main commodity.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h12m08s651The second half moves the show to: Centralia, Carbondale and DuQuion. Additional Southern Illinois towns. Better weather conditions. Much improved picture. Superior composition. Shot in 1991. Almost like watching two different shows. Grain train shown above. The other huge commodity on Illinois Central.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h38m58s102The entire program is well paced. It moves along quickly. Smooth edits. Audio is natural sound. Good balance of levels.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h24m30s709There are multiple pacing sequences. Different locomotives are featured. All are good.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-20h16m26s595Not a bunch of offline power. Norfolk Southern has it’s normal traffic, via Centralia.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h32m42s079There are quite a few Amtrak trains. Mary is an expert on Amtrak. She is an Amtrak Conductor! Has worked The City of New Orleans for years. I bet a trip on her train is major fun! Great sense of humor!!

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h07m28s169Those old geeps are already getting scarce! Hard to find in the lead, on long lash-ups.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-17h21m34s916Easier to find, on switching, or small local trains.


vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h45m17s964Black paint on newly acquired, ex: Burlington Northern SD-40-2 engines. This was the end, for the venerable Paducah Geep rebuilds.

vlcsnap-2019-11-14-19h29m46s282Still see some cabooses in service. Orange was always my favorite. That light gray looked like, no one could agree on a really good color. Like beige carpet.


vlcsnap-2019-11-14-16h29m11s200Heritage Series. Illinois Central:1990-1991. End of the Paducah Geep Era. A good collection of what is now, historical video. Probably, could have gotten the same thrill, in an edit. It does get somewhat repetitive. Still, a must have for Illinois Central fans. Overall, a well done volume in the series.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

CSX 3 Nashville to Louisville

CSX3_dvd

Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1990s

Locations: Nashville to Louisville

Length: 57 minutes

Source: Rob McCormack

Third in the series. This one includes several sidebar visits. The main route is the original L&N Railroad. Not the most exciting line to see out there. Keep reading…

A couple of visits, help to add interest. RJ Corman had purchased a line from CSX. The Kentucky State Railway Museum operates the only L&N steam engine. Some cave visits really are off topic.

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The area is plentiful with Civil War history. Some of this is discussed. A large bridge, was the most interested story. This is not it.

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Well, with all of this side and background. Must be the mainline is lacking. To a point.

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DVD-R. Switch with option, on/ off narration. Usual, Chapter Search feature. Visual and Audio, consistent with series. No reference maps. Too bad. These little towns sure need one! The milepost statements are not very helpful. Obviously, we travel towards Louisville. Again, map.

Show is also available in the CSX Special set.

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The narrator is Dan Chandler. This script vassicillates between, fairly interesting and very simplistic.

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Those little red buildings. They look like a freshly built HO kit, on a Model Railroad. Proving, the prototype for everything theory. One need not weather everything.

The two CSX yards are bookends. Radner Yard in Nashville. Osbourne Yard at Louisville.

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In between is some Hill and Dale countryside. A unit coal train is chased on a branchline.

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Limited pre- CSX paint. Best of the lot. A former L&N GP38. Appears more than once.

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Union Pacific is seemingly on most every show.  Pre-Merger locomotive, check the trailing Seaboard System.

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RJ Corman is briefly visited. A pair of GP9 diesels are on duty.

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The light Pacific at the Kentucky Railway Museum. This 1905 Rogers built steam locomotive has appeared in full length shows. Unfortunately, it is paired with an ugly duckling ex: Santa Fe CF7 on the rear end. Lack of foliage, has things looking harsh.

The L&N has little cab room for the Videographer. The #152 is paced for a minute. The full shows with regular foliage, are the way to go, if this interests you.

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Onward we go. More unheard of places. No way to know, where we actually are located. Telling the names, doesn’t get it done.

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The Ft. Clark bridge is the big one! Better views of previous bridge versions, in still photos.

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The hotel that once served Mammoth Cave has it’s own story. The interior tour is overkill. Used to see that damage in Chicago anytime.

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Surprising, is the size of Osbourne Yard. Until, the narrative reveals multiple lines feeding this facility.

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CSX 3. Nashville to Louisville. So far, this is the weakling of the series. It is not a bad show. Surely tries to elevate into something more. Ends up a little off track at times. Rather unexciting overall. Call it a basic good. Next Volume…

Rating: 3 Stars

 

 

Big Boys and Brothers in the ’50s

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Producer: JMJ, Morty Farcus

Timeframe: 1950s

Length: 68 minutes

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman Hill, Hermosa Tunnel, North Platte…

Sources: William J. Altheimer

Sunday River, with a remastered steam, and more show. Union Pacific Big Boy’s and Challengers are the stars. Additional: 800s, Turbines and Diesels. The collection is 98% color film, from the 1950s.

The single DVD is in a sturdy, plastic case. A detailed Chapter Menu. On-screen graphics. Technical specifications on display screens. A single map, with filmed territories.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h47m03s638The remastered film quality is excellent! Clear images with fine color balance.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h31m36s694Audio soundtrack is predominantly train sounds. The light narrative introduces the various locomotives. Trainwatching then proceeds, with the lively train audio. Some brief musical interludes, round out the presentation.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h13m07s930The on-screen graphics are targeting the engine numbers. Several locations. The only area where the details are a little light, are the locations. However, it is along the mainline, where the big steam was operating in the 1950s.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h34m12s273This show is divided by locomotive class. Further, sub-divided by types. FEF Northerns for example. There were three. Number 844 is an FEF-3. Detailed specs are given for each type. Above is 837. Inquire within…

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h57m53s245Big Boy’s lead-off the show. Individual numbers. Yes, fan favorite 4014 is above and below!

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h56m08s021There are Big Boys in a plentiful supply. Big Boy 4014 crew appears to be posing for the camera, as they pass so many years ago…

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h55m51s366Each engine he has, is highlighted by number and shown. Of course, an unnumbered section is included.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h53m54s042Sharing a brief personal story…

My Grandfather worked for the steam Railroads as a young man. I was about 5 years old. I asked Grandpa, Did the steam always blow straight up?

Grandpa chuckled, No. It could be brought down by a heavy rain or blown sideways by a strong wind.

A little hard for a 5 year to picture. The above screenshot, illustrates his memory.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h02m58s253The Cinematographer filmed plenty of pacing sequences. Steam and pacing, are a great natural pair. Two Big Boys above.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h12m13s222Challengers are correctly split into the early and late versions. The early models had a slightly homely appearance.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h14m33s048Some redesign on the late Challengers had an improvement in performance. The lowered headlight, was one element to identify and actually looked better.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h28m29s159The 800 series are famous for number 844. Never having left the active roster.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h25m13s214These big Northerns were meant for passenger service. Late in their careers, they were assigned to freight duties.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h24m48s076There is a plethora of freight cars to see! A mine for Model Railroaders seeking period correct consists. Neat, clean and dull, boxcar red trains. Almost uniform, Pacific Fruit Express ice bunker reefers blocks.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h41m09s901Turbines were number one for a time.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h50m10s009 An assortment of early diesels conclude this show.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h48m24s282Sunday River has a fantastic collection, of Union Pacific big steam and even more! The remaster has it in best possible quality. Enjoyable to hear the huge Articulateds and Northerns, at work.

A must have for Big Boy fans with this unique footage. Union Pacific, Steam train and Railfans, should all find this show, a worthy addition to their collections.

Rating: 5 Stars