Southern 4501 to Summerville

Southern 4501 to Summerville$_57

Diverging Clear Productions

Length 80 minutes

Time Period: 2014.

Locations: Chattanooga, TN to Summerville, GA

Cameras: McPherson, Jensen, Redmond, Dunn

Producer: Mary McPherson

MSRP: 20.00

2015 release

 

Ever the busy producer, Mary McPherson has a current release with Southern 4501.  The star of this show is the famous 4501.  DCP draws footage from 4 videographers. Many runbys that showcase the 1911 built Mikado hauling passenger excursions in 2014. Plenty of steam shrouded mood shots add some variety.

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Kurt Jensen narrates with his relaxed style

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Informative background chapter with history of related Southern Railway steam. Includes some additional Southern steamers. Older video has the 4501 from an earlier time.

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2015-09-07_232207                                                 Early morning action.

 

2015-09-07_231853                       Doubleheader with a Tennessee Valley Consolidation.

2015-09-07_232515                                                       On the turntable.

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The narrative completes. Viewers are left with plenty of natural steam action. Graphics denote locations.2015-09-07_233017

Southern 4501 To Summerville is about what one would expect. Contemporary action of a vintage steam locomotive. The program plays fine. Railfans should find this a good release.

Rating: 3 Stars

 

Steam Over Tennessee Pass

Steam Over Tennessee Pass cover

Pentrex

Length: 90 minutes

Time Period: 1997

Locations: Royal Gorge, Soldier Summit, Glenwood Canyon

MSRP: 29.95

 

UP 844 stars in what is now an older excursion video. A three day trip is featured here. Takes place in Colorado during 1997. Denver to Salt Lake City is the route.

Steve Lee is one of the engineers present. He ran the railroad steam program. A trio of Electromotive E8 locomotives run behind the big Northern. Matching passenger cars form a long train. This was rare track age for a passenger special.

summit tp

Pentrex employed five camera crews for the trip. The choice of multiple shots results in high quality viewing. The full narrative is informative, though not very engaging. Live sound rounds out the audio. Some very simple maps are useful to envision the route. On-screen graphics contain additional location information.

map day 2

Basic maps lack detail. They do illustrate the lines traveled.

royal gorge

Day 1 begins at Denver Union Station. Favorable weather conditions.

red cliff

Day 2 has the best of the scenic locations. Leaving Colorado Springs the train journeys towards Royal Gorge. Salida to Tennessee Pass are on the agenda. Minturn is another renowned area.

river

Day 3 is Grand Jct, to Salt Lake City. Soldier Summit is the highlight, as the train crosses Utah.

rafters

Effective intermingling of onboard train camera gives a feel of riding this special.

too far

One shortcoming is too much distance on some scenic shots. In fairness, the scope of the geography sometimes precludes this. There are too many far views of the train.

The glut of 844 centered shows can make the locations a deciding factor to purchase. Colorado has some spectacular scenery. Fans of 844 should be satisfied with this program.

Rating: 4 Stars

Steam Specials And Passenger Extras In 2014

Steam Specials And Passenger Extras In 2014 Steam Specials And Passenger Extras 2014. jpg

Diverging Clear Productions

Length: 90 minutes

Time Period: 2014

Locations: See text.

Sources: Mary McPherson, Kurt Jensen

MSRP:

A highlight program by Diverging Clear for 2014. The recent releases from this producer have made serious progress, in the overall quality of their shows. Within today’s rather limited environment for content, museum type operations still provide opportunities for railfans to enjoy some classics. Steam era equipment recorded with modern technology. It can be enjoyable to witness vintage steam locomotives, with current picture and sound.

Something that is advantageous to a compilation, is a more concise schedule. Here, viewers proceed immediately to the action sequences. Kurt Jensen performs his usual fine narrative.

4501Cinematography is nicely done . Steady and smooth camerawork. Notice how modern vehicles. structures and most everything, clashes with the vintage power. The best scenes are in the wild. Let’s take a look at some highlights.

8099 chattSouthern 630 was sidelined for our first excursion. Southern 8099 pinch hit for the steamer. In heritage paint, the modern diesel looks resplendent in Southern green attire. Multiple outings behind 8099. Excellent videography, it plays out about the same as if an E8 was on the point. Traversing the famous Rathole Division Although the diesel can’t compare to steam, it is included here. A definite highlight. Remember, the title says: And Passenger Extras.

pm1225 sunPere Marquette 1225 is a Lima built Berkshire. Nice history of the design, with some historical film. In service at Train Expo in 2014. Overcast skies clear on day two. Day three contains an alternate steam whistle. That whistle blows.

mapThe map references are displayed at just the right moment.

nkp765

Nickel Plate 765 shows up at Train Expo. The 765 is a great engine. Though it is a very common modern day subject. As the two Berkshires are so similar, it may have been better to put a little space between these engines. Plays too repetitive, when shown back to back.

lr 110Train Expo also yields some smaller steam power. Little River 110 is present.

401 2Southern Railway 401 is seen at Monticello. The DCP camera is busy exploring new angles.

cn 6789Canadian National FP4A 6789 headlines, while Wabash F7 is out being serviced.

cn cabTake a cab ride in the Alco CN 6789 diesel at Monticello. Would have liked a few comments from the engineer. Maybe he is too busy at this time. An inserted voiceover with difference of running Alco vs, EMD would be interesting to hear.

sou4501

Southern 4501 is a Mikado from 1911. This locomotive ran excursions from Chattanooga.

8099 bridgeAfter watching the well filmed 8099 excursion, a reality check. A diesel is a diesel.

pm1225 xing                   Another reality. A working steam locomotive is hard to beat.

 

The year 2014 by Diverging Clear, is what you get in this show. Everything is nicely presented. Steam fans should find this assembly to have handy on a single disc. The early and current diesels create a show with a bit of something for all.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

The Golden Twilight of Postwar Steam Vol.4

The Golden Twilight of Postwar Steam Vol.4 PostwarSteam_Pt4_DVD

Green Frog Productions

Length: 51 minutes

Time Period: 1940’s- 1950

Locations: Putnam/ Harlem NYC, NYO&W

Source: Frank W. Schlegel

MSRP: 29.98

A fascinating series continues in a 4th volume. Featuring the rare New York Central Putnam Division, from the late 1940’s. The NYC Harlem Division is also included in this show. It is Ten Wheeler heaven for those so inclined. Another co-star is the New York, Ontario & Western. NYO&W contains the ultra rare content.

1234 highbridge

Frank Schlegel was the Cinematographer for this collection of films. He had good proficiency with a movie camera. Much of the footage is black and white. Some pieces are color. Quality ranges from fair, to a majority of very good. Nice composition skills. In fact, for the era, an excellent selection of viewpoints. Much more than a series of runbys. Viewers will: ride trains, front end shot scenes, rear facing and some panoramic  frames. Steam engines are the star. A handful of early diesels. Yet, there are plenty of people and structures.

east viewColor film comes later. This Ten Wheeler leads a passenger move, perhaps at East View.

Harlem Division is the mainline New York Central that we are accustomed to seeing.

What is the oldest bridge in New York City, that connects 2 boroughs? Hint, it is not the Brooklyn Bridge. See the picture below.

croton aqueductVariation is a hallmark of these films. An m.u. ride yields a terrific scene at High Bridge. Part of the old Croton Aqueduct. Completed in 1842, the system carried fresh water by gravity, over 40 miles to New York City. A walkway on the top connects the Bronx and Manhattan.

Professional production in all aspects. Full narration. Appropriate soundtrack with well balanced levels. Smooth editing and best possible picture from the old films. An extremely detailed chapter menu. Unique, is a motion map of the territory. Switchable on/off narration.

 

1238 bronx1The Bronx, New York. Even in the late 1940’s, the endless high rise apartments are imposing.

The New York Central Putnam Division no longer exists. In this program, the line gets a basic tour. Station stops and travel the trackage. A well written script is informative. The show is fast paced. A multitude of vintage scenes

mt hope1Mount Hope is a contrast to the big city. Believed to be the hometown of Mr. Schlegel. By the way, model railroaders can have a field day with the plethora of railroad structures. Check this walkover passenger bridge for example.

5456 j2 hudson putnam jctPutnam Junction appears to have been a busy facility. A J2 class Hudson trundles slowly. This 5456 was finishing it’s career on the Putnam Division.

safety bridge                                         Is this scene a time portal or what?

white plainsOver at White Plains. One never knew what power was going to show up next.

conductorAs much as railroading has changed, some jobs are timeless.

 

New York, Ontario & Western is a major rarity to see in operation. That it is a feature here, is worth the price of admission. There is even some color film too. Viewers will experience some traveling on the OW. Stations and other points of interest make this a singular trip in time to the long abandoned railroad. The ‘Old Woman’ was closed in 1957. You do the math.

405Custom streamlined by a famed designer, the 405 is a sharp looker.

455 youngs gap                    Mountain type 455, bears down with a freight at Young’s Gap.

cn tower ordersA tour of the line is great. Begins at New York Central Ferry at Manhattan. Our train stops as the conductor receives orders for operation on the NYO&W. CN tower is this location.

stationRiding the mostly single track OW line has a much different feel from the sophisticated New York Central. Even in the 40’s, this road seems to fit one of the nicknames- ‘old and weary’.

y2 mountain 1947                     A 1947 chartered excursion looks glorious in color.

ft setAs the timeline progresses, Electromotive FT diesels appear. This FT ABBA set looks stunning, compared to the all black locomotives of the steam days.

Always prefer to close a review with a caboose. In this case, 2 railroads call for a pair!

nw2 122As the end came in the diesel era for the NYO&W, It is fitting to close with a colorful scene with this NW2 switcher.

local

New York Central was a cutting edge railroad in it’s prime. At the end of the day, the NYC crews were probably just as exhausted as their NYO&W counterparts. Yes, even on the Putnam Division.

The Golden Twilight of Postwar Steam Vol.4. Green Frog has produced an outstanding steam era trip back in time. A multitude of rarities make this a must have for railfans and model railroaders. Highly recommended to all train lovers.

Rating: 5 Stars

Norfolk & Western 475 on the Strasburg Railroad

Norfolk & Western 475 on the Strasburg Railroad Norfolk & Western 475 On The Strasburg Ra il Road

Diverging Clear Productions

Length: 51 minutes + previews

Time Period: 2014

Location: Strasburg

Source: Mary McPherson

MSRP:

Norfolk & Western 475. This vintage steam engine operates in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The Strasburg Railroad is the home for this locomotive for over 20 years. Running through the rural countryside, it is on scenery akin to the old N&W.

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Baldwin built in 1906. The 4-8-0 was the largest class on N&W when constructed. By the 1950’s, it was used on branchlines. This cab was ultimately, a poor design. It straddles the boiler and leaves very little room for the crew to operate. The architecture was discontinued.

chr1

Mary McPherson performs excellent cinematography. A high def camera captures a high level of detail. There are a couple of challenges for her. Overcast weather on the first 2 days. The engine cab is just an ugly one to shoot. There is no room for anyone.

engineerThe Engineer barely fits in his area. That out and back operation is not this engine’s intent.

fireman

That boiler and firebox stick out, like a tree trunk shoved through a garage. She keeps filming it and those shots continue not to work. Fortunately, this eventually gets abandoned, The sun comes out on the third day. Everything improves, she films the exteriors and the remainder is pleasant.

overcastKurt Jensen narrates a well written script. He is a natural for the task. Environmental audio is the balance of the soundtrack. N&W has a steam whistle which doesn’t have a good tone. Interesting , the whistle gets swapped for a real nice single note later in the show.

chrEditing is first rate. Smooth transitions. A map overlay or graphics track the 4 1/2 miles.

steamEarly morning backshop action. See the engine get serviced.

curve                                                         Classic scene.

ch1Cherry Hill Road. The train looks best when the engine is facing forward, at the head end.

6                              The Strasburg looks like one to visit.

 

cab1Just when things are getting too redundant. A call for mixed train service. Tie on a caboose. Passengers are taken to pickup a freight car. We ride the caboose. Check the speed on the return trip. Fun sequence.

cab

 

Norfolk & Western 475 on the Strasburg Railroad. A good document of a museum operation starring the 475. At 50 minutes, just the right length. The second half plays out the best here.  A decent release for those who are interested in the 475 or the Strasburg Railroad.

Rating: 3 Stars