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

Michigan and Ohio Railroads in the late 1970’s


Producer: C Vision

Timeframe: late 1970s

Locations: MI +OH

Length: 1 hour 20 minutes

Source: Fred Crissey

Take a whirlwind tour back into the late 1970s. A cornucopia of locations. Multiple railroads. Some rarities that are worth the price of admission!

Fred Crissey was a busy Cinematographer. He was traveling in Michigan and Ohio here. Using an 8mm movie camera. All color film.


A detailed Chapter Menu. On screen location graphics.


Plenty of handy little maps.Switchable On/Off music. There are no train sounds.


Full narration. A good script. Provides details on used locomotives. Certain train movements. Many of the lines. Probably, as complete as Fred’s notes.

Don Grant performs a smooth narrative.

Films are very clean overall. Color balance is very good. Well preserved.


The show begins with a long Detroit, Toledo and Ironton segment. A show within the show.


A scene of Street running in Ironton.


Fred also shows trains, in context.


He could do the mood shots too!


The early Conrail material is the bomb! Much better than some of the competition. The paint still appears new on several ‘cockroach’ repaints.


Former Penn Central F7A #1707 hits the diamonds. Renumbered in April, 1976.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-14h56m20s749 Two Alco RS3 locomotives ,and a Baldwin. These on Michigan Northern. Rare film. This train is chased from Cadillac, Michigan. Former, Chicago and Northwestern 1617. The 2036 is an ex: Southern. 


Alexis Tower is a definite highlight! A ton of action.


Conrail paint is beginning to be seen.


Chessie System in the 1970s was fantastic! Unmolested blue units could be seen from both; B&O plus C&O. Fred found both leading near Detroit.


Try and find a C&O 5911 leading. A rare shot on 8mm film. Good supply of C&O.


Chessie System steam suddenly appears!


There is not much regular Chesapeake and Ohio out there. Let’s see some more. The 3575 is a GP35, in factory EMD paint.


Ann Arbor is visited.


You are asking. What about Grand Trunk? Only this one. Canadian National is present, as well.

Remember , the rarities in this show.


A plethora of rolling stock is included, as this Burlington Route box car. He sometimes shows the entire train. Albeit, the shorter ones. Model Railroader alert!

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-15h16m19s337In fact, he did it here. Check the C&O caboose. Enjoy all of the hard to find C&O!



A fun trip back to a favorite time of mine. The variety really gets rolling, and you never know what’s next. Much like the old days!

A solid show. Must see for 70’s railfans.

Rating: 4 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

Steam to St Louis



Timeframe: 1990

Locations: 9 states

Length: 90 minutes

Comprehensive coverage, of three of the largest steam locomotives. They travelled to the NRHS 1990 Convention, in St. Louis. Over 9 states and thousands of rail miles.


Union Pacific 844. Norfolk and Western 1218. Cotton Belt 819. These are the Stars of this show.


No Chapter Menu. No maps are given. There are location graphics.


Cotton Belt 819 starts off at home. Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The Cotton Belt Historical Society is shown doing preperations on the 819 and passenger cars.


Built in 1942. This was a recent restoration.


A slim looking steam engine, compared to the other two in this show.


The Cotton Belt locomotive has the least amount of screentime.


Union Pacific 844 is seen at the Cheyenne Shops. It will pull a 37 car freight. A three day trip, to reach Saint Louis.

vlcsnap-2019-04-27-19h50m38s524The big Northern makes good time across Farmville. Unfortunately, slower traffic ahead will cause lengthy delays.


Reached N. Platte Yard. Overnights.

Another freight assignment for 844. Eastbound to Marysville, Kansas.


Hours of service expired on crew.

Next day, a short freight to Kansas City .


The excursion runs out from St Louis. Back to Cheyenne, with the passenger consist.


N&W 1218 at Columbus, Ohio. This is the biggest steamer in the show. Soft whistle, that is pleasing to the ear.

Pulling a passenger special right at the start.


A stop at Portsmouth. The narrative on this 1218 chapter is insufficient.


Maps are needed to track the trains progress.


Some more discussion of this locomotive would have been good.


Also, some information about the territory. Never heard of these places!


So much for the minimalist approach.


Yes, the natural audio sounds great. Yet, a balanced presentation works the best.


This show was not what I expected. It centers on the three steam engines journey. To the St. Louis 1990 Convention.

The actual event is a totally separate release. Interesting, is this approach.

St. Louis Steam Celebration, is that show.

The program certainly needs maps. A three part Chapter Menu would have been good. Additional narration on the Norfolk & Western locomotive, would have been good.

Sum total. A solid show, it has three great steam locomotives. Enjoyable to watch. Good for family viewing.

Rating: 4 Stars