The Pennsylvania Collection combo


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1850- 1960s

Locations: system

Length: 2 hours 9 minutes

Sources: Bill Warrick (The Standard Railroad…) The Pennsylvania RR (Collection)

These two shows were originally Interurban Press productions. Combined for a DVD release by Pentrex. This is on a single factory pressed disc.

This review will look at each program individually. A combined rating upon the conclusion.

A Chapter Menu with the two shows and previews. Sub divided into a detailed Chapter Menu per show.

The Standard Railroad of the World

Locations: Altoona Shops, Penn Station, Enola Yard, Bay Jct., Broad St. Station, Strasbourg RR,

Length: 59 minutes

The Company line states that a Bill Warrick spent years putting this show together. He covers; Steam, Diesel and Traction. Major locations of interest. A major snowstorm in 1958. Comprehensive coverage in under an hour.

Films are in mostly black and white. There is a large amount of color, as well.

Narrated and dubbed soundtrack with train audio. Matter of fact, classroom delivery. PBS style going back to 1830 historical.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h27m37s186Lincoln’s funeral train. A still photographs. Warrick used multiple forms of media to do this show. 

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h30m23s063Horseshoe Curve is an obvious must have.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h32m33s422Altoona shops constructed locomotives and tested them. They did much more.

The Johnstown flood is recounted.


Penn station received a detailed visit.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h37m14s683Long Island electric locomotive. A Pennsylvania owned subsidiary.

DT&I along with Henry Ford, are one of the interesting subjects discussed.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-11h41m37s995Rockville Bridge. Looks fantastic in any era. 

Broad Street Station gets some attention.

Enola Yard is enormous. After viewing the Collection, certain sources will be obvious.

The Sandusky coal mining film. A silent reel with music, and old time words. Charming!


Pennsylvania Marine operation at new York harbor.

Chicago Union Station is briefly visited.


Notice the sidearms carried by the mail clerks.


Steam classes are compared. K4.


Mountain helpers.




GG1 class are shown extensively.


Electric trolley system was paralyzed in a 1958 snowstorm. This was in Washington DC.


Not much in the way of a caboose to see. Here is one from a mini film.

The Pennsylvania Railroad Collection

Pennsylvania RR promotional films. They released their own programs. These often tooted how modern and safe the railroad was to travel or ship freight. All are black and white films.

Progress on the Rails.


Railroad modernization is the 1st film. Demonstrates safety equipment. Automatic brake stop. There are more.


Dragging equipment. Roadbed maintenance. Ballast cleaner train. Rail detector car.

Tunnel elimination. Rock cut at Stubenville, Ohio.

Ticket counter with new automation.

New locomotive  car and construction.


Wheels of Steel

GG1 show that is about 13 minutes long


Hostler with maintenance in the morning.


Track maintenance gangs and equipment.


The train travels from Penn Station to Washington, DC. Cab Ride action.


Opening A New Frontier

This one is from 1955. Runs about 13 minutes.

This one begins in 1850. Stagecoach days. General Railroad background.


Automobile and trucks. Roads are choked! Railroads can take trucks off the roads.


Piggyback transport.  Truc Trains.


A trailer move is followed from a Chicago origin. It gets a 2nd morning delivery in New York City. Pennsylvania Railroad piggyback service.

vlcsnap-2019-03-31-13h21m02s020This was early TOFC. A little different in execution. They demonstrate. Great little film for the time. Best of the lot.


Clear Track Ahead!

1956 production.About 28 minutes.


Again, goes back to a horse drawn wagon. How slow transport was to get someplace

This one plays like an early Lassie. A short drama at the start. No dog.


Film is shaky. Expected better quality. This appears to have been used as the main film for others of this period.


Transition to modern railroad innovations. Some scenes are recycled in another films. It does seem the complete version. The quality here is less. Enola Yard again.


A T1 engine will pull a passenger train. You will ride this train. Jim is the friendly Engineer.

Segues into construction of locomotives and railroad cars. Altoona Shops again.


Tower visits include fascinating Electrified Territory. Just a bit different for Electric.


The Standard Railroad of the World.

A well thought out documentary. Delivered in a PBS style presentation. Many forms of multimedia are employed to present a historical show on Pennsylvania Railroad. The better of the two programs here.


The Pennsylvania Railroad Collection

A compilation of vintage Pennsylvania films. These are better than average for the decade. Many others are overly dramatic and corny to watch now.

The major concern is the lower quality of the longest running main film. Clear Track Ahead! One would think that Pentrex would have sourced a nice copy. Bummer!

An interesting set overall. Good historical overview. A deduction, for the one shaky film inclusion. Dissappointing, for a high caliber Company, like Pentrex.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars


Southern Pacific Cab Forward Collection


Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1927-1956


Length: 1 hour 30 minutes

A comprehensive program on SP cab forward locomotives. Developed and operated by Southern Pacific. Sizeable fleet of 250 engines over the years.

Pentrex takes all available sources. Official vintage Southern Pacific films. Previous Pentrex releases. Stan Kistler’s photo collection. Extensive various films. Black and White. Plenty of color. Some are 16mm.

Dr. Bob Church is a noted historian and author. He offers information, on the background of the AC and SP development.



Pentrex always has professional quality in every aspect of production. This show is supported by additional historical, still photos.


Narrated with a detailed script.


Stereo sound with unique AC sounds.


Multiple maps are used to define territories. On- screen graphics with various information, further augment the show.


The Overland Route. Uses official SP

movie excerpts in this chapter.


Tehachapi Loop. Extensive look consisting of both; official and railfan films. Color plus black and white, that cover years of AC power.


Bankers Special 1954. Double header with a GS-4.


Stan’s best known photo. A first hand ‘cloud of steam’ accounting, from the shot at Colton.


A freight at Glendale Tower.


Model Railroaders will benefit from many scenes, including freight car consists.


Pentrex left no stone unturned. They found a cool old film,with needed AC4 and AC5, steamers in service. A little film within the film. Supposed to have been shot over a period of years. A must see.


This show is packed with AC locomotives at work! They were versatile engines.


Even used as mid-train helpers on mountain grades.


Bay area has a chapter.


Shasta Route offers very scenic areas.


Modoc Line in 1955 to 1956. This was the last place to see the AC class engines in service.


Last run of a cab forward in 1957. AC11 4274.


Bonus material. Talking heads. Stan Kistler reminiscing on a variety of AC topics.

4294 preservation. Watch this get put into the museum!



Southern Pacific Cab Forward Collection.

Pentrex has painstakingly created the definitive AC locomotive program. They have the complete history. Cover all the classes. The entire SP fleet of 255 steam engines. A fantastic steam show!

Rating: 5 Stars

Whistler’s Western – The Boston & Albany RR


Producer: A&R

Timeframe: 1934-1989

Locations: B&A

Length:1 hour

Sources: Blackhawk collection

This comprehensive, historical overview is complete. History from the 1830s. Films dating back to the 1930’s, document the constant activity.

The Conrail era brings the B&A current, as of the production year. Conrail footage bookends the story.


The writers dove deep on this program. Lecturing on the early incarnations, that were later rolled into the larger company.

Frequent map usage illustrates the territories. Multiple maps are posted of various areas. Extremely helpful for those who are unfamiliar, with this region.


This program is approximately: one half, black and white, film. High quality footage, for the most part. All of this, is shot very well. Also, Hudson class steam galore!


The diesel era is in quality, color film and video. This includes some cab rides.


Majority of the film sourced audio, would be dubbed. Video of Conrail should be live. A fine sounding show.


Ted Daluku performs his usual pro level narrative. The script is very well written. Chronological progress makes it easy, for even non railfan viewers to follow. Steam to diesel. Good for family viewing.


Steam powered 20th Century Limited trains are shown.


A 1932 Chevy gives chase to this train!!


Away he goes…


Checkout the heat running in that old, snow covered caboose. Baby, it’s cold outside!


RDC car provides some interurban service.


New York Central, with rare Alco RS 32 models.


The Penn Central is a part of the Boston & Albany story. Much more coverage in Vol.2.


Amtrak SDP40F proved unsatisfactory.


Very early Conrail merger. No blue paint.



The only misstep in my opinion. The title of the two volumes. I was expecting the likes of Starucca Viaduct. After some research. Whistler’s Arches were flood damaged. Abandoned. That’s it?


Whistler’s Western – The Boston & Albany.


A traditional approach has been used to present, The Boston and Albany Railroad. Say what you will about traditional. One truth is. Traditional becomes tradition, because it works!


A&R has covered all the bases. Done their homework. Organized it all in a clear and concise presentation. Kept it nicely paced. Interesting history and brought current.

That is easier said, than done.

Excellent work!

Rating: 5 Stars



The Last Steamers of the Colorado & Southern


Producer: WB Video

Time Period: 1958- 1963

Locations: CO.

Length: 46 mins+previews

Source: Dave Gross

A young Dave Gross began filming steam in 1958. The Colorado and Southern was his subject. Burlington Route power had been recalled to service. Full color action follows!


This is an older release from WB Video. There are no maps. No chapter menus on the DVD. A map would have been useful.


The show is professionally narrated. Script, editing and production work, are all at a high level.


Audio has train sounds. They sound fine for this program. Everything proceeds smoothly.


A sugar beet rush had combined with a power shortage. Steam locomotives were pulled from storage to meet demand.


Local freight service, is what viewers mostly get on the C&S.


Clear film throughout. Easy to watch.


The young David Gross has fine camera skills.


The Denver roundhouse is visited. 608 is a 2-8-0.


Burlington Route had a variety of locomotives operating on subsidiary C&S.


Cold weather was no deterrent to Gross.


Switchers are busy at work.


The 16mm film captures a high level of detail. 809 is a 2-8-2 Mikado.


Later in the timeline. Dave Gross was filming a chartered fantrip in 1963.


Gross was requested to film Snow Service. Turn of the Century equipment, in  1960. Leadville, Colorado.


A rotary makes a rare apprerance.


The Last Steamers of the Colorado and Southern.

This is a high quality film collection. A fantastic look at some Burlington Route steam. Highly recommended for all steam fans!

Burlington Route used to say…

Everywhere West.

… You better believe it!

Rating: 5 Stars

New York, New Haven & Hartford Volume 2


Producer: A&R

Timeframe: 1940/50s

Locations: CT

Length: 90 min.

Sources: Paul Wales, Gary Gurske

An grab- bag assortment of: train rides, cab rides, caboose ride and trainwatching. Also, a radio slideshow interview, with a radio chatter insert, that doesn’t belong. Limited, good bonus section of a little; B&A, CN,CV, plus NYC. Late 1940s into 1950s.


The vintage mixture of films. Mostly color. Overall good, but variable condition. An early black and white train ride, has so much camera bounce, as to be unwatchable. Other various rides are better quality. Locomotive cab rides are even, much smoother.


Unrestored films, as we generally see from A&R. The slides are excellent quality. Yet, this should be a video.


Audio is ranging from silent, to ambient sound. Sound levels get loud at times. Somewhat unbalanced, to be critical. Although, those steam engines do get attention. The radio interview audio plays at a lower volume. That is harder to understand.


The show is narrated by Aaron Gonthier. Information also varies. Maps are used earlier in the show. No Chapter Menu.

vlcsnap-2019-02-27-21h24m01s426Steam to diesel transition era. Keeps this main portion unpredictable. Really interesting. Never know what is next.


Crossing guard shanty.


This man liked to film wrecks. Steam cranes at work, on multiple sites. Watch this Alco FA get pulled up from it’s side. An extensive look at this wreck in particular.


A cornucopia of action. Fan trips dating back to the 1950s.


Classic Alco RS led local freight.



Cab rides galore! RDC cars are present too.


Super rare New York Ontario & Western FT. Parked at an engine facility.


Plenty of steam engines. New Haven fans will be satisfied.


Let’s look at this odd inclusion. The old timer taped on the radio! Mr. Healey retired from the New Haven. A radio interview, is included with him. This is accompanied by a slideshow. No slides shown in this review.

Healey held multiple craft positions in the steam era. Dispatcher to fireman. More info, with his father serving 54 years, as well. Interesting background and insight to railroad service life.

Although, I do not know believe there is much replay value on this interview. Plus the lower sound quality.



Another strange inclusion. Random train radio chatter. The way this is inserted is a distraction! Maybe little children would enjoy this. Not good. Drags it down!


The interview declines into a never neverland of who knows what. This radio chatter randomness, is a genuine turn-off. I had to suffer through this crap for a complete review! For kids. Who cares… Edit..edit..edit.. Back to the interview?

Plays like nonsense…


A Penn Central era scene appears.


Bonus footage. Central Vermont steam. Silent with narration. Willamatic. Candian National FM C liners. Notice how the silent passages win any argument for having sound. Looks great, boring!


All of a sudden. Sound returns. Vintage New York Central. Last run of a Niagara. Some Boston and Albany shots. Plus…wait for it….


Boston and Maine! Steam and diesel. Now we are cooking. If for just a few minutes.

New York, New Haven & Hartford Volume 2.

This show has some bright spots. Rarities. It has some other odd sections, which drag it down. Lame production decisions, are the main problem. Dump the radio interview. Delete the radio chatter. Insert sound, versus the dumb silent reel sequences. Voila!

Oh wait. That is not what we have. It is this flawed release. Listen kid. You could have been a contender! Hardcore fans only.

Rating: 2 1/2  Stars