Union Pacific Classic Collectors Series


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman Hill line, Laramie, Green River, more…

Length: 90 minutes

Source: Video Rails

Pentrex has three former Video Rails shows on a single DVD. Hence, The Collection. All vintage Union Pacific Steam. Each feature is thirty minutes.

A master Chapter Menu allows access to the individual shows. Detailed menu on the shows. Narration by Michael Berger.


Film and sound credits, contain notable names. All the elements are top shelf.

Big Boys


An entertaining half an hour. Full color, high quality film. Informative script, that begins with the development of these locomotives.


Big Blow UP exclusive Turbines were sometimes the assistance.


A single F3A is almost comical in appearance, as a front end helper.


Big Boys could also simply help themselves!


Winter of 1956 is the final chapter.



Early history leads off with the growing need for larger locomotives. Wahsatch grades required ever powerful engines.


The year 1936, saw the initial delivery of 15 new Challenger class. A second order included some improvements.


1942 . New 3950 to 3969 were the Heavy Challengers. Designed to work in conjunction with, the Big Boys over the Wahsatch Mountains. Last of the series.


Doubleheader with a Pacific. Both in Two- tone gray paint.


In Nebraska the 3936 operated in the snow.


Two tone grey Challengers we’re painted in Portland. Primarily assigned to passenger service. They are shown hauling freights.


Last stand, were as helpers along the Green River. In a classic and rare scene…


The Turbine is assisted by a Heavy Challenger.


This is an outstanding Challenger show! A  chase through the mountains is a highlight.




The venerable 0-6-0 switchers were in service for decades. They were stationed systemwide at Union Pacific yards.


The 1243 is briefly seen in operation. Various UP steam engines are covered.


Former passenger engine Pacific’s were downgraded, until winding out their careers in freight duty.


In 1958, at the Grand Island, Nebraska roundhouse. UP #428 is one of only 2 active steamers there. The Consolidations were used in branchlines service in later years.


Mikado 282 . 1924 is one of the oldest operating in the Wahsatch.


Northern’s. FEF class. 4-8-4. North Platte.

vlcsnap-2019-06-22-14h06m58s603Now in twilight, 833 is now a beater!



A Challenger and Northern 839, are about to depart.


Union Pacific put on a glorious steam show.

Here is a great collection of classic Union Pacific steam programs. Anyone with an interest in steam era railroading should find this an enjoyable look at the Union Pacific steam in the 1950s.

Rating: 5 Stars



The Fifties Express


Producer: William Brown

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: USA, Canada

Length: 52 minutes

Source: Irving E. August

Irving August is a notable railroad Cinematographer, from the 1950s. This impressive all color collection, is a wide ranging one. Covering a variety of lines, in the United States, and Canada.

Steam and early diesel. Electrified lines. Freight and passenger trains. An ore hauler. A tourist line.vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h24m31s999

Mr. August filmed in high quality 16mm! A mixture of music, and train sounds. No additional extras.

Rege Cordic is the familiar voice on WB Video. He does a professional job.


At under an hour, the pace is fast. Some of the edits are abrupt. Given the limitations of the period equipment. He probably ran out of film. For the rarity, it is a wash. Rather see those trains.


Each railroad is billboarded. The corresponding footage is then shown. The earliest date quoted is 1950.

There is even more! Here are some highlights. Figure that it was probably the best of his own feels. More or less.


Canadian National is west of Montreal.


Boston and Maine. Pacific power on locals.


New Haven is chased on a fantrip.


Baltimore and Ohio. Action packed. Plenty of trains here Steam and diesel.


Western Maryland, is using steam and diesels. Mid-train helpers and pushers.


Milwaukee Road Little Joe electric locomotives, in rarely seen paint.


New York Central has several trains.


Nickel Plate Road, shared the right of way with New York Central, in Westfield, Ohio. Number 748 is one of the Berkshire class.


Norfolk and Western, is one of the longest chapters. Although, there are no designated chapters, on a menu. Focus on the behemoth Y-6 class. The 600 series passenger locomotives are seen.


An unusual scene. N&W work train in a backup move.


Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. Another extensive visit. Yellowstone’s, for certain.


Canadian Pacific receives lengthy attention around scenic Kicking Horse Pass. Including some footage from a passenger car.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-18h01m04s354Two for CP. Need a Selkirk. A beauty!


Northern Pacific steam is hard to find. Irving has some here.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h54m35s448A large coaling tower gives the feel of keeping large steam in service. Northern Pacific.

vlcsnap-2019-05-31-17h18m24s280Similar scene on Central Vermont.


Caboose on Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range. The majority of cabooses were shades of red. These are standouts!

The Fifties Express

An Express tour seeing over a dozen railroads in the fabulous 1950’s. A fine presentation. Suitable for family viewing.

Rating: 5 Stars

Atlanta Steam Celebration


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1994

Locations: Atlanta

Length: 90 minutes

Two classic steam locomotives star. Norfolk & Western 611. Frisco 1522 .


The Frisco engine receives better coverage. It was a newer restoration at the time. Notice, it was the leader on the doubleheader moves.


N&W 611 does get screentime. Sharing it with everything else. A definite co-star.


No Chapter Menu. On screen locations. Full narration. Enviornmental audio.


There are several route maps. Filmed with high quality of Pentrex.

The Peach Blossom Special begins the show. Both locomotives pull this train towards the destination.


The New Georgia FP7 pair, with a dinner train. Run out of Atlanta for their part.


Georgia Northeastern is featured with a rare mileage trip. Behind geeps. A Marietta, one way, out and back.


Frisco 1522, is a 4-8-2 Mountain type. An Oil burner now. It is shown running Atlanta to Macon.


Plenty of 1522 scenes. Runbys.


A good sequence of pacing the Frisco!


The show sidebars into details of an off day for the steam engines. Veering off topic.  Checkout the model train swap meet. Look at the classrooms. Look, the banquet! Feels like filler.


Not of interest. What activities were at a hotel. Spending time on the local transit system tour. Yawn.


They continue with the Norfolk Southern tour. Their nearby training facility. Locomotive cab simulator. Real train on training trackage. Model train with signal training. A welding shop. Repair facility. All quickly.


No promised ride on the 9 mile training track! Only a runby.


Back to steam engines. The 611 pulls an excursion. At least, about halfway.


Two Norfolk Southern diesels will handle the return trip.


The train is then reassembled. Return to origin.


A Royal Palm Special departs town on the final day.


Shows like this don’t get me too excited. The thrill of seeing any restored steam locomotives operate, usually falls into a repetitive formula of runbys. Too much filler in this program.

This one is not my cup of tea. Maybe it’s yours.

Rating: 3 Stars

Ohio Steam in the ’50’s


Producer: A&R

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Ohio

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Source: Ed Birch, Sr.

A fabulous collection of classic steam. Filmed during the 1950s. Ed Birch shot all of this, in full color. He was on a high level.  This covers several railroads.

Baltimore and Ohio, Nickel Plate, New York Central plus Pennsylvania Railroad. Special guest stars, are big Santa Fe 5000 class power!

There is even a little Grand Trunk Western. Cameos of Detroit interurbans.

A sprinkling of early diesels appear.


There is no Chapter Menu. No maps either. Dubbed sound for the trains. Good sound levels. Some scenes work better than others.


Carrothers Tower, with Pennsylvania Railroad signage

 Narration by Aaron Gonthier. Basic script. Locomotives and locations. Additional information.


Excellent looking films! Some occasional flaring. Very clean. Fine Cinematography.

Too much to get it all here. Hit some highlights. Not in running order.


Baltimore and Ohio had moved steam into this area. Their behemoth, EM-1 can be found operating with a Pacific. Going to Wheeling. 


EM-1, in a flurry of scenes around the yard.


Ride into Deschler. On a B&O passenger train. Quick trip. Much happens at busy Deschler station. The inclusion of railroad structures are valuable.


4618 leaves Deschler, with a friendly wave from the Engineer.


5301  Cincinnatian. Streamlined Pacific stops at Deschler. Ride this train to Toledo.



New York Central. Niagara 6014 departs with a passenger train. Toledo.



Central Union Terminal. A modern passenger station. Built in 1950.


Grafton, West Virginia. An important B&O facility. A good visit there.


B&O 4453 getting water. Fascinating scene, 50 ton hoppers elevated.


Cincinnatian to Detroit. PCC cars on Woodward Ave.


Grand Trunk Western Station. Milwaukee Junction.  See the locomotive service area. A bit dark. Time of day perhaps. Notice, how they do not promote this segment.


Sandusky in 1956. ATSF 2-10-4 engines on lease. Model Railroaders will find plenty of freight cars in the trains.


Berkshire 776 has picked up orders at Bellvue. Nice sequence.



A Santa Fe 5000 class, on the: Mansfield to Carrothers, Pennsylvania Railroad line.


Attica Jct. This tower gives a sense of size to the large 2-10-4 Santa Fe steam engines. Note the man at the bottom of the stairs.


Tiffen, on the Pennsylvania. A PRR J1


B&O Q4 Mikado paced sequence.

vlcsnap-2019-05-13-17h43m34s743A Nickel Plate Road Berkshire, meets newer diesels. This was the near the end for steam on NKP.


Baltimore and Ohio caboose,with an older paint scheme. Look at those colors!


Nickel Plate Road, with High Speed Service.

Excellent program that exceeded expectations. Non- stop action of classic transition era trains. Variety of locomotives and the railroads are intriguing.

Ed Birch’s work, will stand with any of the well known Cinematographers. Outstanding composition. This man knew how to film a train!

This show is a must see for any steam fan.

Great for family viewing. You might find yourself wishing for more…

Rating: 5 Stars

Allegheny Rails Volume 1 – Baltimore & Ohio


Producer: William C. Brown

Timeframe: 1953-54

Locations: Sand Patch, Cumberland, Salisbury Viaduct, more…

Length: 55 minutes

Source: William Price

A notable photographer from the time. William Price was shooting in 8mm color film. In this problematic show, viewers will see, non stop action of B&O. In and around, Sand Patch Grade.

Larger classes of the B&O steam fleet are what worked the mountainous area. Diesels were making inroads. They appear as : helpers and sometimes, handle a train.


Rege Cordic is the familiar narrator. A serviceable script is from 1987. This show  has characteristics, of it’s era.

This soundtrack has not aged well. A 1987 synthesizer soundtrack. It doesn’t fit the steam era. 

Rege’s voiceover is too loud over this, as well. Sounds unbalanced.

WB Video advertised the film as ‘Broadcast Quality’.

Pentrex description,”Now, through the use of state-of-the-art broadcast quality film to video transfers, this historic motion picture collection is available to all on DVD”.


A large portion of this show has glowing, green rails. Gravel that is snow white.

These artifacts are enhanced on a larger screen. Unwatchable on a 55″ TV.

Not, Broadcast Quality.


Outside of those ‘Post Production’s problems. The entire show is not affected. There is enough to ruin the experience!


The Cinematography is excellent.


B&O crews enjoyed mugging for the movie camera!


McKenzie Tower. Here is one you don’t see often.


Viaduct Tower action. EM-1. Cumberland.


The Washingtonian, is frequently seen.


Check the progression of the diesels. At first, they help the traditional steam locomotives. Those Alco FA units look sturdy. Yet, the Electromotive power dominated.

Diesels would appear with increased frequency. By 1954, they have some of their own trains. Now, the steam engines are the helpers!


Double headers always create an awesome spectacle.


Again,with the green, glowing on top of the rails. The gravel looks strange. 


The classic Wagontop caboose. Unique to B&O. Note the green overtones.

Allegheny Rails – Baltimore & Ohio

This show certainly held great promise. WB Video fails to deliver a Broadcast Quality show. This film needs a remaster. This master is likely used up.

( Pentrex said they do not have any master tapes. Therefore, no remaster).

Further explanation. The new Pentrex did not receive the master tapes. Not their fault. Was not transferred, when they purchased the Company.

Casual viewers will likely be extemely dissatisfied.

Hardcore fans, decide for yourself.

The original, Cinematography is great. So, it becomes a mixed bag. Check the reviews. There are choices.

Historical value of Price films, is obvious.

Clear Block, also sells William Price. B&O films of steam and diesel era. Four volumes.

I recommend that you explore the various products. Decide what works best for you.

This show did not work for me.