Heritage Unit Roundup


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe 2015

Locations: SoCal, Chicago, Yuma sub

Length: 1 hour 54 minutes

Pentrex dives into the somewhat boring modern locomotive railroad scene. They seek out those specially painted Heritage units.

These engines were schemes to commererate previous paint jobs or general railroads, as aqquisitions.

Let’s checkout some show highlights.


As I have little interest in modern railroading. Only what is shown within this show, shall be reviewed. I really do not care what is missing.


A detailed Chapter Menu highlights the individual UP units, plus a Norfolk Southern general listing.

Dependable Pentrex quality is assured.

Narrative includes some history on predecessor roads.


Notable locations include: Cajon Pass, Beaumont Hill, Colton, Yuma and more..


Amtrak has several units, that cover various phases. This scene from Chicago has a Phase One paint scheme.


UP 1982 is a tribute to Missouri Pacific.


UP 1983 is Western Pacific. The WP is a long chapter.Numbering is approximate merger years, more or less.


UP 1988. The red Katy is a sharp looking one!


UP 1989 wears the Rio Grande.


UP 1995 in Chicago and Northwestern.


UP 1996 is heavily featured.


Why not? The Southern Pacific. One of the most attractive of the group.

Norfolk Southern visitors…


Savanna and Atlanta, leads on an inbound and outbound move. Many leading Heritage units get paced.


A Virginian is buried in a lash-up.


Pennsylvania is a vintage, eye popper! Nicely paced…


The double stacks are what these newer locomotives are usually hauling. Endless long trains of container traffic. Yawn.

Heritage Unit Roundup. Pick your favorites. Argue what’s missing. Seems that Pentrex could have included more Eastern. Fine show of these modern diesels. Not my wheelhouse. Perhaps it is yours.

Rating: 4 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.


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

A roll up and combined rating upon completion.


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.  


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


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


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.


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.


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



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

Florida East Coast!


Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby!

Runs about 20 minutes. Plenty of steam.


Rare, New York Central Empire State Express.

Early diesels in small numbers here.


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.


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.


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


Improved refrigerator equipment. Santa Fe.


Modern hump yard.


Modern signaling for reliable train movements. Great Northern.


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.



This short is packed with early diesels!

Missouri – Kansas – Texas E units. MKT.


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!


Seaboard train


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


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.


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


Rock Island TA.

Again with the greatest America.

Same recycled footage. Much new and additional film.


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


Baltimore and Ohio F7A.


Advances, such as truck trailers on flatcars.

Runs about 20 minutes.


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


Cajon II combo


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: early ’90s

Locations: Cajon Pass, SF+ SP

Length: 2 1/2 Hours

Here is a two for one, combination release. On a single DVD. The shows are titled as the following. Cajon II- Railroading in the ’90s. Cajon Pass Cab Ride.

This DVD release, has been further improved, with Chapter Menus.

Each program shall have separate reviews. A combined rating at the conclusion.

This was filmed before the mergers. Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific, all were individual Railroads.

Cajon II
Length: 90 minutes
Source: Video Rails

This was originally produced by Video Rails. The Chapter Menu offers a split by SF or SP.

John Leslie is the narrator. Script is on the lightweight side. Has some background and current information. At a ninety minute show length and two mainlines. There was room for more.


Videography is first rate. Really well done! Plenty of locomotive variety.


Audio has natural train sounds in good balance. Fine pacing and editing.

Several Rio Grande locomotives appear.


Maps are included and referenced on both SF and SP routes. Elevation maps are a great extra. These are seen progressively.


An extended look at San Bernardino facilities. Some of the structures,are scheduled for demolition.

vlcsnap-2019-04-26-15h17m42s082Long lash-ups of SP and SF on approach to Cajon Pass.


Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.


Cotton Belt units on the point.


At Blue Cut in 1993. UP has a failed E9B.


Sullivan’s Curve with blue warbonnets.


Scenic vistas abound.


Santa Fe in the foreground. Southern Pacific on the upper track. Looks like a model railroad scene.


Winter makes a brief appearance!


The Santa Fe crossovers get everyone back on the correct mains.

vlcsnap-2019-04-26-16h46m21s586Windup at Victorville. Santa Fe crossing over Cajon Pass complete.


Surprised that the camera goes back out. Onboard a Southern Pacific train. In the cab. A truncated ride it turns out to be.

Cajon II

An excellent program. Beautiful videography, that captures trains and scenery of Cajon Pass area. Good pacing that keeps the interest high.

Variety of power compensates for the less interesting consists of the trains. The natural audio sounds fine. Narrative could have been stronger in content.

Cajon Pass Cab Ride

Length: One hour

Source: Vide Rails

Now the viewpoint is turned around.

SP symbol,WCEUM. SD40T2 #85372, with 5 units. West Colton to Eugene Manifest.

The train yard at Colton. Unclear what exactly is happening. A random collection of shots.

Until, our train moves. Yard speed exiting this area.


Same footage as was pieced out at the end of the previous show. Naturally, this is the complete version.

A route map and an elevation map are provided.

Narrative begins as full and fades off…

Train moves along slowly. Wasted opportunity, to augment with discussion.

The videography is excellent. Professional and the cameraman has an eye for moving the viewpoint.

There is no talking after leaving the yard. This quickly turns into boredom!


The train moves along slowly. Not even radio chatter. Only the locomotive sounds.


Sullivan’s Curve. A faster Santa Fe intermodal, gives relief with it’s airhorn!


Plenty of peeking back at the lash-up. Check the pair of SD9s. One in Kodachrome paint.


This is a long sixty minutes. A great example of how to film a cab ride. Move the camera. Same as you would swivel your head.


Several locations are noted with graphics.


This would be so much better with some talking.


Are we there yet? This silent ride is a drag…


Detrain at Phelan. The crew seemed friendly enough. Why not talk to them?

The lack of narrative, during the cab ride. This constitutes the bulk of this show. It drags it down. Makes this a one and done. The first show is the winner.



Cajon II combo 

Both are Video Rails original programs. They offer professional videography. The narrative portions are weak. Especially, on the Cab Ride.

Fans of Santa Fe and Southern Pacific should still find these to be worth viewing. The Cajon II being the stronger of this pair.

Rating: 4 Stars


Colorado’s Colorful Joint Line


Producer: Bill Brown

Timeframe: 1986- 1988

Locations: Denver, Littleton, Palmer Lake

Length: One Hour

Source: Dave Gross, Bill Brown

The Joint Line is 118 miles, shared by three Railroads in Colorado. Burlington Northern, Santa Fe and Rio Grande in pre-merger days of the late 1980’s.


Rege Cordic is an excellent narrator. He performs on other WB Video shows. A relaxed style, that allows trains to be heard.


This one has listed: broadcast video, live sound and color. The original VHS release was dated as 1989. This DVD has Highball Productions as current.


WB and/ or whoever took over this program. They have not added any Chapter Menus to this DVD. No maps within the show either. Seems to be a straight transfer.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h30m06s931Picture is soft on a newer high definition screen. Do not expect current standards!


Oakway SD60 locomotives have caught the attention of Gross’ Camera early on. Alot of scenes of these with the leased units. Too many, for a well balanced presentation.


You will not see a Rio Grande road train on the mainline. Should be included.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-16h58m01s897Pacing of coal train… Later, an LMX is paced.


BN SD40-2 helpers, shove hard. Decent shots for the time.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h05m51s343Newer GE B39-8 LMX. This one leads a BN GP50.

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h09m48s997There are some featured, Kodachrome schemed SF units. Rege refers to them as, red and yellow SF units!


The Colorado Springs switcher is a lone GP30. A good assortment of Kodachromes.


This pair of GP30 diesels pull the very first Santa Fe Q Train. Like a dog with a bone, Q Train after Q Train…

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h25m06s147Santa Fe 3446 moves slowly at Palmer Lake.

A too long, look at DVLJ moves becomes tedious. There ARE other trains boys!


Palmer Lake is scenic. Still stuck on Santa Fe Q trains…

vlcsnap-2019-04-22-17h32m41s842Denver, finally! Three quarters through. BN action gives blessed relief!


BN 5562 is a General Electric C30-7.

The 20th Street area, is where the trains are concentrated.


DRGW light engine move at Denver.


They are scarce in this show. Elusive Rio Grande units!


This show falls short on the advertised. One would expect to see Rio Grande trains, operating on the Mainline. Denied. Pretty major fault, considering so much time was spent on Santa Fe Quality Train- DVLJ. Disproportionate.

That results in a lower overall score. Why spend all that time watching repetitive, Santa Fe piggybacks?

A bit much on the Oakway leased SD60 power, as well. Seen one, seen them all. Even back when they were brand new!

Missed opportunities. Overkill on others.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

Western Rails


Producer: Greg Scholl

Timeframe: 1994-97

Locations: CA, CO, IA, KS, NM, WY

Length: One hour

Source: Greg Scholl

A tour of various locations in the Western States. Sweeping across the Plains to California. Many railroads are viewed. Various cameos are additional. All combined into this show. Unique viewpoints on numerous shots. There are a cornucopia of scenes.

Narrator, is the familiar voice of Greg Hingsbergen. He always does a fine job.


Natural audio on a live soundtrack. The only issues, are some loud levels on freeway traffic.


Pro level videography. All production aspects are professional. Tight edits. A well paced program. Greg always has an appreciation for nature. A good amount for balance. No extra charge!


A detailed Chapter Menu is included. A generous Preview section. This with a detailed Menu, as well. Split into American and Canadian preview lists.

There are minor maps. Just enough to orient the audience. Good enough.


Kansas City Southern, in an intriguing view. Burlington, Iowa. Mississippi River.


Santa Fe warbonnets, with Union Pacific passenger cars. Topeka, Kansas. See the show, for more details on this scene.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h51m37s581There is much variety in this show. Former Rio Grande Potash branch, near Moab, Utah.


Santa Fe Southern. Lamy, New Mexico.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h39m11s606Enjoy these two for one scenes! A BNSF train waits at Dotsero, Colorado. While the Union Pacific moves up the Tennessee Pass route. Nice sequence.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h36m11s013The Southwest Chief. Amtrak fans, will get serviced, more than once, in Western Rails. 

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h48m27s336Southern Pacific meet in Utah. May 94.

vlcsnap-2019-03-27-10h52m25s063Burlington Northern. Sheridan, Wyoming. A crew change point.


SD70MAC engines with a long coal train.


Columbia River Gorge. This is an extended Chapter. Burlington Northern on the one side. Georgeous area.


Union Pacific rails on the other. One of several scenic highlights!


California is next on the journey. Southern Pacific’s Coast Line. Trains in scenery, type of cinematography. Spectacular views here!


Tehachapi Loop gets a brief visit in 1995. Southern Pacific with a GP60. Two pushers on the rear. Unusual, to see a GP60 lead versus SD class locomotives.


Western Rails

An interesting compilation, that delivers on the advertised. This whirlwind tour should contain, something for everyone. A favorite Railroad, or a location. Likely, more than one. Perhaps, viewers may find new interests.

This is a fine train program. Compact and action packed! Great cinematography. Excellent for: Railfans, Model Railroaders and the family.

Rating: 5 Stars