Rio Grande of the Rockies

WB015

Producer: WB Video

Timeframe: 1940s- 1950s

Locations: Durango, Salida,Marshall Pass, Tennessee Pass, more..

Length: One hour

Source: Irving August

Here is Irving August, with his own collection of vintage Rio Grande films. Steam to diesel transition era. Color with Black and white film.

The quality 16 mm footage includes various classes of steamers. Standard and Narrow gauge! There is much coverage.

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The cinematography is nicely done. Sometimes, there were 2 cameras to record scenes. Excellent views. Well positioned on S -Curves. Onboard views.

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This old program is pro edited. Now appears dated. Picture is soft, on a large, modern screen. Shot quality can vary, as this was filmed over the years. Still very watchable.

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No Chapter Menu. No maps. Has a small  transfer flaw or something, across the bottom of the screen.

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Narration by Irving E. August himself. An oldtimer’s voice. Reading a script from a page. Every bit as stiff, and dry as it sounds. This was how some houses, were doing videos in the 1980s.

Rege Cordic performs a smooth introduction. They should have stayed with him. Oh well, moving on.

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At Minturn. Locomotive servicing areas are shown.

Natural sounds let the viewers hear the engines operate. Dubbed of course. Some scenes work better than others. Levels are even. Good balance.

vlcsnap-2019-02-05-11h38m00s062Tennesee Pass in color, with mid train steam helpers.

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Irving is knowledgeable. An excellent cinematographer! He is informative. He is also somewhat tedious, to listen to in this show. Like a very old fashioned school teacher, reading from a book.

By the fall of 1956. Steam on the standard gauge is almost through. That white plume blows high in the zero degrees!

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These men did a great job of capturing the last days of these steam engines at work. Tough guys. Out in some very cold temps.

vlcsnap-2019-02-05-11h48m31s074South of Littleton. Check those automobiles!

Narrow gauge is also visited. Again, very well filmed. A little fuzzy on some locations. Mumbles it sometimes.

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Clarity returns! The mine runs. Monarch. Switchbacks. Awesome close-ups. Action packed. Superb presentation.

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Fascinating operation to see now…

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There wasn’t any 911 this far out! Seriously, probably more for possible predators.

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Irving visits Durango in 1951.

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K27 Mudhens at Durango in 1951. The Silverton train ran behind 478 that day. Additional locomotive classes too. An outbound train to Salida.

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The 318 with a rare freight train. This locomotive survives today.

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The 268 at Gunnison, on it’s final workday. City park retirement will be follow.

In the snow 1952. 100 cars. Gunnison -20 and a train leaving for Crested Butte…

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Hardcore action. These men were all about getting it on film. No food and a surprise invitation. Below zero weather. Let’s ride!

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May, 1955 last run over Marshall Pass. Depart Salida, with empty gondolas for otherside cleanup. Return with any cleanout cars remaining on the line.

Once, was the location of the highest Post Office in the United States. Snow drifts could cover the entire structure.

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Delivery has been made at Sergeant, Co. Return trip. Final run over Marshall Pass.

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DRGW caboose was out in any color you like. As long as it was black.

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Exception… Narrow Gauge in Brown.

Rio Grande of the Rockies. Covers the subjects as stated. Much of this film is rare. Especially in 16mm and color! Solid show.

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WB Video, Irving August and Rocky Mountain Railroad Club deliver the goods.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

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“Q” Connections

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Producer: Steve Bransfield

Timeframe: 1940s- 1963

Locations: Chicago, Galesburg, Denver, San Francisco, and more..

Length: 50 minutes

Sources: Blackhawk collection

Burlington Route is the main railroad in this show. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, had  the connections that are featured. This leads into offshoot tangent storylines.

Therefore, Q Connections. The California Zephyr is a major part of this premise. Serving from Chicago to San Francisco, CA. This train involves multiple lines, as it traverses across the Western United States.

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Program contains mostly color. Additional black and white films. No chapter menus.

Ted Dalaku is the clear voiced narrator. Familiar on A&R Productions. Full narration. Script is well written. To the point and descriptive.

Audio is dubbed with train sounds. Narration level is dominant. Actually, sounds unbalanced. The way a commercial plays too loud versus a program.

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The images do vary by the source film. Good overall. Not by modern standards. Fine for older train videos. Editing is good. Everything is watchable. Nothing weird.

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There are some maps. Older release. They are fine. Some interesting pan shots, of the old cities throughout.

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Galesburg, Illinois had a major yard for Burlington Route. A pair of E7 locomotives lead different Zephyrs.

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Burlington Route has the California Zephyr.

The CZ will origin at Chicago Union Station. There are multiple shows about the CZ. While a decent production. Quality on this one is not the best of the more modern CZ shows. Does have the vintage factor in it’s favor.

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Denver and Rio Grande Western. Rio Grande, has spectacular scenery. DRGW locomotives were used to power the Zephyr over this portion of the journey.

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Colorful, Western Pacific EMD F3 sets lead the Zephyr on the final leg of it’s journey. California has it’s own, Feather River Canyon. This alone, is a scenic as anything else on the trip.

 

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Burlington Route steam fan trip in 1963. This big Northern type is from Denver.


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Western Pacific Fast Freight. As an attached seperate film. A WP freight move in the 50s. Oakland to Salt Lake City, Utah. Number 62 travels the line. Cab ride and airplane shots.

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The intricacies of moving this train are studied. A time capsule. An old black and white film. Apparently, a vintage Blackhawk release. Well done piece.

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Additional vintage film. This one IS rare! An Iowa shortline that connected to the Q. The Manchester and Oneida. An old former, CB&Q 4-4-0 served the 8 mile long track.

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A&R Productions has this assortment, released under the CB&Q flag. A collection of varying interest. Depends on your own interests.

“Q” Connections is a mixed bag.

Everywhere West and then some…

Rating: 3 Stars

 

A Quarter Century of Steam

A Quarter Century of Steam25

Diverging Clear Productions

Length: 4 1/2 Hours

Time Period: 1985-2010

Locations: Midwest, East, and more..

Sources: Jensen, McPherson, Redmond, Tom and Kyle Dunn

Producer: Mary McPherson

MSRP: 30.00

Where can you find 65 steam locomotives in a train video? Diverging Clear has just released a pair of DVD’s that are packed with over 4 hours of steam action. Many locomotives are found here. The usual suspects are ever present. Railfans already can guess those examples that were running during those years. Union Pacific, Nickel Plate, Norfolk & Western are the major ones. Frisco, Southern Pacific, Pere Marquette, and Southern are some others.

sr 4501Southern 4501

A small sampling of what you will see in this show . There is much more. Many locomotives no longer are in service. There is plenty of fine cinematography. Kids will love this one.

3985 Union Pacific 3985.

ssw 819bCotton Belt 819

There are rarities to be enjoyed. Viewers will see operating steam power that is no longer in service. Re-lettered locomotives such as former Canadian railroads round out the selection. Special excursions and train museums, are where the trains operate.

black hillsBlack Hills Central encounters a mother deer and doe.

A variety of sizes and classes are here. Diminutive narrow gauge. Large Northerns from UP and Milwaukee Road. Passenger power. Consolidations, Mikados and Shays. Strange looking Chinese steam, on US rails. Articulated, with UP, N&W. Saddle tanker and even a replica of an early 440 steamer.

slsf 1522Frisco 1522 in a stunning scene. Reminds one of classic Emery Gulash. Some engines, like this one are shown very often. Ditto for UP 844, UP 3985, NW 1218.

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Kurt Jensen does minimal narration. Title screens offer the bulk of information. The program is better when Kurt adds more information.

grand canyonGrand Canyon

The show is arranged in chronological order. As one would expect, the quality increases over the timeline. 1985-2010. Editing is smooth. Sometimes, the lower quality is all there is of a rare scene. In that case, it’s better then nothing.

ebt

East Broad Top.

pm 1225Pere Marquette

soo 1003 2007Soo Line

mil 261This scene with Milwaukee Road 261 recalls the spirit of Lionel trains .

261A Quarter Century of Steam: 25 years. The show does contain many steam engines. It fulfills the advertised content. This reviewer does find the program overstays it’s welcome. There is too much repetition of the same engines. After awhile, the proceedings end up an excessive series of runbys. Seems that an hour or more would have served better. if presented as a separate bonus section.

gtw ocOhio Central has a restored Grand Trunk Western and more.

cn 89 strasburgCanadian National 89 is one of several steam engines seen at Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

There are 2 identities of DCP. There is the ‘new and improved’, with tight editing and sharper scripts. There is also the earlier incarnation. That has endless footage and simple narrative. This show falls into the early style.

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It is geared as a basic ‘Best of DCP Steam’. That all being said, this is worthy for the assortment and the rarities. If those are appealing, jump on it!

Rating: 3 Stars

Rio Grande Odyssey

Rio Grande OdysseyRGO

Green Frog Productions

Length: 2 1/2 Hours

Time Period: 1960’s to 1980’s

Locations: Denver, Moffat Tunnel, Royal Tunnel, Tennessee Pass, Leadville, Soldier Summit

Source: Emery Gulash

MSRP: 39.95

2014 Updated..

The Denver & Rio Grande Western in the Rocky Mountains. A healthy dose of steam operations on the Rio Grande narrow gauge is here. Speaking of steam, a standard gauge Burlington Route 2-8-0 is shown, working at Leadville.

cal zephyrA balanced presentation of, freight and passenger trains. Fascinating viewing.

Natural, scenic beauty is often the setting, for this train video. Emery Gulash made multiple visits there. His 16mm color film camera recorded the action. At 2 1/2 hours, there is good coverage of the Rio Grande. The 2 DVD’s are a worthwhile upgrade over the old vhs format. Chapter menu. Stereo sound. Train sounds by Emery . Fine, basic narrative by Bob Carrera.

2We begin in May 1964. The Wasatch mountains have F7A/B and GP9 locos. The F unit mid-train helpers were a surprise to Emery. Soldier Summit is a showcase for the weathered, covered wagons. This is mountain railroading! Great scenery, and over to Castle Gate. Denver Union Station is featured with the CB&Q, UP and DRGW trains.

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DRGW 5102 rides the turntable at Alamosa.

antonitoIn May 1960, the dual gauge operation is shown and continued in 1964, at Alamosa and Antonito. Intriguing segment to say the least.

Matched sets of GP30,GP35, SD7, F7 units make for interesting viewing. The California Zephyr is frequently included.

rgz moffat 72The 2nd half is at Moffat Tunnel in 1972. Grand Jct. is a busy division point.

tippleA limestone operation is a highlight visit. Two GP- 30 locomotives are busy at work.

 

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Burlington Northern / Colorado & Southern action.

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A wide variety of cabooses are seen.

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Emery was great at mood shots. Dusk falls at Helper.

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Mid-train helpers at Tennessee Pass. Much more….

cabGreen Frog has another excellent entry in their Odyssey series. This set is fantastic!

Rating  5 stars

WP Vintage West

WP Vintage Westcvr

Charles Smiley Presents

Length: 90 minutes

Time Period:1950’s- 1980’s

Locations: Systemwide and more

Sources: 18 includes: Gary McClain, John Illman.

MSRP: 29.50

The history of Western Pacific is covered in depth. There is a plethora of additional subjects, connecting roads, shortlines and Oro Dam construction.

Sacramento Northern and Key System are part of the story. Rio Grande has a large chunk as well. For those who want to delve into a historical Western Pacific program, this is your ticket.

high line locosUtilizing 18 different film sources could be a challenge. Digital restoration has everything looking nice. Mostly appears to be 8mm color film. Cameramen are generally excellent. Steam, early diesel, traction continues into Perlman Green.

3519 rainAudio has a high percentage of varied musical background on this show. The variety of music is interesting. Less train sounds then some other CSP shows. This release is more of a PBS style program.

high lineCustom maps and on screen graphics are frequently used. Here, the High Line is introduced.

Charles conveys a wealth of information. As subjects, stories and locations change, the WP sometimes gets lost. The deviations can get long. This takes away from some of the punch.

fExtensive coverage of the California Zephyr is here. Burlington Route and Rio Grande also have plenty of time for their parts of this famous train. The show within the show in 2 chapters.

ride

Ride the California Zephyr on Western Pacific and Rio Grande- classic style!

drgw 5721Rio Grande is looked at in detail. Quite a bit of time is on Rio Grande. Fans of that railroad will enjoy the amount of: history, locations and more. Another show within the show.

oroOro Valley Dam construction is a key point of that area’s history. Plenty of that too.

711

A GP7 is performing some street running.

ftEarly diesels. These FT units are part of the original wave that replaced steam engines.

keddie rainAt Keddie and in the rain. The rear facing GE U-23B, is part of a scene that is good for model railroaders, Note the 1968 or 69 Chevy Camaro SS. Old water tower and more.

4241The Burlington Northern provided run through power. These rare Alco locomotives and tons of BN freight cars display the solid relationship of WP and BN.

boxcars keddie wye

Plenty of classic rolling stock on freights. You can’t beat the scenery either.

3519Four axle power was used by WP. The GP40 and GP40-2 models were favored. The last third of the program covers 1960- 1980. Great chapter.

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Charles has two other Western Pacific programs available. Western Pacific Remembered was released in 2012. That one is my favorite of the trio. Western Pacific- The Last Decade is the other. All of these are reviewed here.

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Greenway, Calirornia. The High Line.

WP Vintage West is a fine program. This one is rather quiet and feels a little flat compared to the 2012 show. All of the extra coverage of associated railroads is excellent. That does go pretty far off the Western Pacific story. A quality show, but not in my top rank for CSP.

Western Pacific is one of those railroads that are hard to find on film. This one is geared towards the history of this road and those other subjects. A must have for those so inclined.

Rating: 4 Stars