Classic Steam of the ’20s to the ’40s

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1920s-1940s

Locations: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Kansas City, more.

Length: 1 hour

Sources: Frank W. Schlegel, Vince Ryan, Jack Alexander

A smorgasbord of films. Spanning 4 decades. Some rare and not so rare, steam locomotives. A Collection of: black and white, plus a little color film. Eastern Railroads mainly. Everything is worthwhile.

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See: Delaware and Hudson, New York Central, Lackawanna, Central of New Jersey and Frisco (above). Also, Pennsylvania  Erie, Wabash, Rahway Valley, B&O, and much more. Steam, Electric and several early diesels.

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Frog DVD-R. Nothing extra. Plays straight through. The Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby…in Milwaukee!

The show is narrated by Dan Chandler.  Script is good. Fine work on the dubbed trains.

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Camerawork varies by source. As does the visual quality. Majority is fine. About what an experienced Railfan would expect, from a wide ranging assortment. Good on the big screen.

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There is way too much to cover the whole show. Highlights of this fine program. New York Central, Empire Star Express. Two steam pushers on the rear. The show’s gem!

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Reading Crusader at Dunellen, New Jersey.

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Camelback is a strange looking steam engine. It hauls a fantrip out on to the Long Branch.

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Turns around, the yard in Bay Head Jct. A joint CNJ and PRR. So, Pennsylvania power is there with K4s. Compare the access the people had, in those days. More PRR is seen, in their home state.

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A 1936 fantrip over the former, Ulster and Delaware. This one required a double header with a pusher, and ran two sections!  The New York Central ten wheelers were added to the head end. Former U&D power. Depart Kingston.

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Oneonta roundhouse on D&H was destination.

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Check the size of the people against this Lackawanna locomotive.

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Steam and Electric. New York Central. Harmon, NY.

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The big surprise is at Pennsylvania’s Enola Yard. Before retarders were used, brakeman manually controlled the cars, from the hump. Dangerous work in the winter. Unbelievable by today’s safety!

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The Alton. Street running! How rare is this?

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Middletown and Union, has a face, only a mother could love. Come closer..

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Venerable, Boston and Maine Mogul type.

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Rock Island at St. Louis.

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Erie passes with it’s train.

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Indiana Railroad was a large, Electric Interurban. Ran streetcars and freight.

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Delaware and Hudson Northern type. Plenty of D&H is within.

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Springfield Terminal in it’s original incarnation. Take a trolley. Quite a difference, from later SD45s in grey paint!

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A Lackawanna Milk Train, really harkens back to an earlier era.

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A Chicago, Burlington and Quincy sits in a huge yard. Burlington Route, was a road that ran steam late, on the Colorado and Southern.

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This is a cornucopia of steam era scenes. Here, the ice bunker reefers are loaded at the Chicago Stockyards. South Shore Electric cars to the right.

There are even bonus shots. City pan views (Philadelphia), street scenes, humoungous Chicago stockyards. A well thought-out production. Packs a bunch, into a fast moving one hour program.

Also available on the, Trains around New York and New Jersey – collection.

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Closing caboose is a Wabash.

Green Frog has a must see show, for any fans of steam era Railroading. The black and white film, adds to the vintage feel. Fascinating and varied visit to the past.

Rating: 5 Stars

The Susquehanna along the Southern Tier

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1996- 2000,+1970s

Locations: Binghamton, Tunkhannock Viaduct, Portage Bridge, Starrucca Viaduct,Butler, Hawthorne…

Length: 80 minutes

Sources: Rich A. Kugel, Emery Gulash

Green Frog takes us on an ambitious sojuorn, across the Southern Tier. Susquehanna begins the first half of this show. Northern New Jersey territory.

The action moves onto former Delaware and Hudson rails. Conrail and Canadian Pacific, lead most of these trains. Suzie Q still runs trains here, albeit with some other power.

There is a surprising amount to see. Some of the highlights here…

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Not being familiar with some of this. Susquehanna in particular. It is a Class Two with a complex history. It was revitalized, with intermodal traffic.

The Susquehanna Southern Tier, is the New Jersey territory. Former Erie Lackawanna. Originally, was Hoboken, NJ to Buffalo, NY .

Northern trackage, Binghamton to Campbell Hall, NY. is disconnected. Former D&H. Accessible, via trackage rights.

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Those old Delaware and Hudson rails, are now Canadian Pacific ownership.

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Transition of Conrail, to Norfolk Southern is included.

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Binghamton to Portage Bridge. This will constitute the Northern section. Geographic progress, save any train chase.

There is not a Chapter Menu. A Chapter Search is present. Motion menus. No maps, or on-screen graphics. Would have preferred some maps.

Peter Youngblood narrates the show. A good script, that is interesting and informative.

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Green Frog has an excellent picture. Looks good on a large, hi-def TV screen. Fantastic color balance. The vintage Gulash film appears impeccable. There are some source defects in the video. Minor ones, but present. Belden Tunnel.

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Audio is Enviornmental. Dolby 2.0 Stereo.  Some trains, sound like they will pop out of the television! Quality is very high. Fine job by the Frog!

They mention that this show, was four years in the making. Ending right before the final end for Conrail.

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CSX has some moves. Although you need a scorecard to know. Here is a CSX train. Look at that detail in the image.

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Modern era trainwatching can become repetitive and boring. Face it. The Frog has a brilliant solution! Interpolating some vintage Emery Gulash from the 1970s.

At Starrucca Viaduct. Erie Lackawanna in the 1970s vs. Susquehanna. Just one sample.

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Creating some unexpected and uplifting, now and then scene comparisons. Maybe, not the only to do it. Yet, it works so very well. After all, it is remastered Emery film!!

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This is modernized Susquehanna Railroad. Big, third generation power is entrenched. Older SD45 locomotives still serve.

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h47m33s061Run through or leased, power is abundant. Norfolk Southern, is most frequent. St. Lawrence & Hudson Railway on CP. Even the Union Pacific, makes a scene!

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-11h02m45s923Plenty of Conrail locomotives.

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h19m50s937Good history of the line. The town of  Susquehanna, and it’s lineside hotel, was a new one.

 

That audio can rumble a subwoofer. Check the difference of a heavy double stack vs. a lighter TOFC. Hear those flatcars rattle. 

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Binghamton is familiar, from Delaware and Hudson days. BD Tower is a no brainier. A Ross Rowland steam locomotive, leads a special in 1973. 

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This Soo Line led move is a Canadian Pacific train. A St. Lawrence & Hudson Railway, with a CP Rail two flags, in this lash-up. A chase is done.

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-10h52m27s215Tunkhannock Viaduct is always a spectacular sight. Instant highlight. Do you get an Emery comparison? Yes.

vlcsnap-2019-10-27-11h09m17s978Back on the Southern Tier.

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The Portage Bridge, over the Gennessee River is an awesome sight! Busy spot with varied views.

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Turns out,  this closing caboose scene must be a vintage one. Early Conrail, with a Reading caboose. A classic, from Emery Gulash.

This program is also available in a larger four, DVD-R set. Title: Trains around New York and New Jersey Collection.

Green Frog has a winner here! Combining past and present. Providing an intriguing visit to this area. A nice assortment of road power. The fine scenery is the icing on the cake.

Rating: 5 Stars

The Anthracite Roads in the 70s Vol.4 Reading Lines

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Producer: John Pechulis

Timeframe: 1970s

Locations: Bethlehem, Allentown, Rutherford, Reading

Length: 76 minutes

Sources: J. Reck, T. Nemeth, T. Kelcec, W. Chaplik, D. Latshaw

Sampled one of these Anthracite Roads shows. This one features Reading Railroad. Seems to be about 1972 to 1975, based on the narrative. Very focused on mostly freight operations of the Reading. Some passenger, in the forms of: Budd cars, Push- Pull and traditional FP7 led trains.

Having a clear preference for freight trains. Took a chance, on how this would work out. Very satisfied, with the heavy emphasis on freight traffic.

Too much to cover everything. Let’s see some highlights…

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The show has a detailed Chapter Menu. No maps or additional graphics. Added sound are train sounds.

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Various film sources have been compiled to complete this program. Some minor variations. The ultra fine restoration process by JPM, has everything appearing in best possible quality.

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The overall visuals are excellent! Any flaws are minor. The color balance is outstanding. All of the Cinematography is very well shot.

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Mike Bednar provides an informative and colorful narration. He has a true, insider viewpoint. Knowing the train symbols, loads, and much more! Learn why some hopper strings are on the front or rear of a mixed freight, on the Reading.

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Diesel assortment should satisfy most fans of the 1970s. First and Second Generation locomotives from: EMD and Alco are in daily service. GE U30C locomotives, as well.

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Paint schemes range from: Original 50s, 2nd Generation 60s and 70s are all here.

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Cabooses were a given. The RS3 engines were still in service. Although we see their fate, later on.

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GP30 power always had that ‘hot rod’ look. More so, in the 1960s. Something, that only General Motors would come up with.

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The GP35 would outline the design from Electromotive for many years to follow.

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Give me a six axle Alco Century C630, with High Adhesion trucks. A man’s locomotive!

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The late, dark green paint looked like a successful update for the colorful 1970s.

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A nice inclusion. Also, not a common find. Several trains offer the consists. So many 40′ boxcars are still rolling. Model Railroaders- take note.

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While we are it. What do loaded Anthracite cars look like?

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A plethora of pure Reading lash-ups. Nearly endless.

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Mike certainly gets a kick out of a Lehigh Valley ‘Snowbird’ shoving on a train.

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Used to seeing Chessie System units in weathered paint on other shows. It’s a bit of a shocker to find brand new GP40s here.

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Paired up B&O plus C&O engines, also power some moves.

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Obligatory Budd car. Seemed unattractive. Funny, that Mike felt similar.

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The FP7 was a smart looking locomotive, in Reading paint.

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Checkout Rutherford Yard for a quick visit.

vlcsnap-2019-09-20-15h35m36s305Wide Vision caboose. The best on the line.

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This show is a targeted one. The Reading probably did not have as many trackside viewers, as the larger railroads. Due to location and it’s size. Here is a chance to be trackside. In the few years before it disappeared into Conrail. The show in this high quality is a must see, for those who wish to have been there.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Railfanning with the Bednars Volume 6

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Producer: John Pechulis

Timeframe: 1976

Locations: Allentown, Horseshoe Curve area, more

Length: 63 minutes

Source: Bednar collection

See the dawn of Conrail in Pennsylvania. Bednar films and unique Pechulis film process, offer high quality viewing. Lehigh Valley was the home road for the Bednar family. They do venture out further on Penn Central rails.

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The Conrail merger had all roads equipment showing up at Mike’s yard! One never knew what might show up next. Extremely interesting time to be trackside.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h02m47s363Mike’s personal LV favorite. The Alco 212.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h00m42s392Mike said, that his Father was out filming all the time. Uncertain, if his Dad shot everything here. My guess is yes. In any case, excellent cinematography.

Penn Central GP30 units were some of the first new units to work Mike’s yard. Recollections like this, give firsthand insight into the transition to Conrail. Not to mention some rude telephone calls!

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h31m56s792Not only Lehigh Valley territory. The former, Penn Central is visited, around the Horseshoe Curve area. Middle Division and additional spots. Dead lines full of Baldwins and Alcos are shown.  Rockville Bridge is above. 

Informal style narrative by veteran Railroader Mike Bednar. His views are more akin to a running commentary. Knowing the people, remembering what transpired. A true insider’s perspective.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h58m35s797The film restoration is amazing. Hard to discern this was sourced from Super 8mm. It looks sharp! Probably, the finest merger Conrail film around.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h02m22s943Soundtrack also has live sound and filled with some background music. All of it is leveled nicely.

No maps are provided. No other extras. The program is a quick pace. It gets along without them. Although maps are always my preference.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h53m22s889Early in the timeline, the merged locomotives have not been renumbered. Too much to included everything. A jam packed show. Let’s see some highlights.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h08m51s210Mike’s yard was very busy, after the Conrail merger. Model Railroaders can have a field day, with all of the freight cars! Much of this Volume is centered at Allentown Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h22m02s044One has to appreciate Mike’s experience. The Ironton switcher was liked by everyone. Dependable and ran fine, right until Conrail scrapped it.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h13m01s120A trio of Reading GP9 units are chased on a coal train. Rare assignment and fun.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h14m31s616This scene seems to capture the mood around merger time on Lehigh Valley.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-10h09m12s147The Canadian National GP40W. Mike Bednar climbs aboard to check it out. Conrail was getting power, anywhere possible. 

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h52m09s468Lehigh and Hudson River, received a high rating in the maintenance area.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h13m41s419Erie Lackawanna units were all over the place. Many to see at Allentown.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h56m11s176Jersey Central ‘Red Baron’ scheme locomotives, also show.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h07m28s556Here is a revelation. Delaware and Hudson, originally used tape to renumber units! There are many assorted D&H units. Brand New and absorbed ones. Normal locomotives too.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h26m10s140Action abounds, at and near Horseshoe Curve. The former Penn Central tracks were extremely busy, according to Mike. Practically, a film within the film. 

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h28m11s007A long lash-up descends. Note the old F units being used on the power short Conrail!

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h36m23s796Later, full on blue Conrail repaints began. First one about to roll by…

CR…aka ‘cockroach’ reletter jobs are also within. Just as ugly as ever. Cabooses as well. However, variety is the spice of life.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h52m14s636A plethora of cabooses to see. Original paint and CR hasty renumbers. Fresh Conrail paint.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h58m59s557Old Lehigh Valley, with their last innings to play, in old paint…

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-10h15m15s386Mike waves to Dad. A fitting place to end is here.

Anyone that is interested in Conrail merger. This is the show to have. Best quality, hands down. Entertaining and informative narration. A must have for Conrail fans.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Reading Glory

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Producer: Jeff Pontius

Timeframe: 1940’s- 1956

Locations: Sunbury, Shamokin, Enola, Susquehanna Valley, Locust Summit

Length: 45 minutes

Source: Clarence Weaver

Visit steam era Reading Railroad, in stunning 16mm, all color film. Shot as late as 1956. Power shortage on the Pennsylvania Railroad, had leased T-1 types operating.

What we have here, is a Penn Valley Pictures release. First one to be reviewed on my site. Let’s see it…

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-14h02m10s100This DVD has no extras. Appears to have the film been restored. Soundtrack contains authentic Reading sounds. Levels are nicely balanced. Excellent scene, at Sunbury above.

Full narration by Joe Pastuszek. Good script.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h27m50s992Locations are called out by the narrator. Not being familiar with the Reading territory, this information is not very helpful on it’s own. The value of maps!

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h28m51s533Nevertheless, the imagery is fascinating. Reading steam of this high quality is rare. Northern Pennsylvania, is the general territory. Shamokin.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h37m12s987Several classes of steam locomotives are seen. Atlantic, Pacific and more.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h36m05s803The King Coal is behind steam power.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h31m21s033The F7 diesel, on a passenger move. Filmed from the tower.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h33m11s018The caboose fleet is in red paint.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-14h02m32s627Cinematographer had first rate skills.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h55m20s849Early in the program. The film has some looseness. It quickly settles down. The T-1 dominates the show.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-14h26m19s757An abundance of footage of the previous mentioned leased T-1 engines. These were on lease to a power short Pennsylvania Railroad in 1956. Serving on the Susquehanna Division.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h32m52s484The blat – blat of the single airhorn on the F7 units is quite different from the multi chime horns of 2nd generation units that followed.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-15h05m17s063Of interest, are the old style windows that passengers could elect to crank open, weather permitting.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h36m47s177A big Reading steam locomotive, is near Locust Summit.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h41m12s257Northumberland Yard and a Pennsylvania steam engine leads a doubleheader, with a Reading T-1.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h53m45s847A feature of this program. Composite chase of a T-1 led Pennsylvania freight train. Northumberland Yard to destination at Enola Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-14h58m25s396Rockville Bridge. Yes, close-ups when the train gets near the camera.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h58m47s220Kase Tower. Approaching destination Enola Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-14h55m47s043A unique visit to a steam era Reading Railroad. The show length is extended, by inclusion of leased T-1 locomotives in 1956. Close enough, given the high quality here. Besides, the steam era is still present.

vlcsnap-2019-08-28-13h57m42s647Penn Valley has certainly a first rate show. Anyone with an interest in viewing a steam engine in service, should find this enjoyable. Excellent for family, as well.

Rating: 5 Stars