Rio Grande Rememberances

 

bXtW2TRyRuP1ycodRTR0_RGNGremembrances

Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1954- 1969

Locations: Durango, Arboles, Salida, Antonito, Gunnison, Farmington…

Length: 1 hour 36 minutes + previews

Sources: Andy Payne, Fred Hust, Harvey Laner

A fascinating, time travel visit, into vintage Rio Grande Narrow Gauge steam. Andy Payne was a Rio Grande Engineer. He was also an independent Railfan / Cinematographer. Early on, he acquired a Bolex 16mm movie camera. Filmed mostly in 16mm. All films are full color. Only some highlights here.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-17h42m45s238Harvey S. Laner digitized Payne’s film collection in 2008. Three narrators on this show. Harvey, Andy and Charles Smiley.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-17h58m04s178The earliest films are in 8 mm. Those are very good, for their age. Durango is above. The gems are the 16mm films. Excellent quality! Nearly all freight trains.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h54m11s365The custom Charles Smiley maps are extremely helpful. Also, explains other lines.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h54m40s564Alamosa to Antonito dual guage trackage. This on the San Juan Extension. This line continues towards Laboto Trestle.

 

The old freight cars are bursting with character! Railfans and Model Railroaders will have a grand time, with the varied equipment.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h24m54s770Various class Mikado’s are reviewed. 480-489. K-36 seen here.These 2-8-2 are seen with close-ups. Maintenance functions.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-19h20m08s102Andy has detailed Hostler duties and discussion of steam locomotive fire. This is unique amount many steam shows!

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h12m42s404Soundtrack is mixed. Authentic steam sounds, background music and narrative. All interwoven in that Charles Smiley style.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-19h44m32s005Old Arboles area is shown, before a water dam project buried this area. A highline is being installed. Navajo River.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-19h55m54s838Gunnison in 1955.  The 268 was Baldwin built in 1882. Leased here for a scrap train.

Salida in 1955. Dual gauged.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h03m38s252The Durango Loop was Railroad built around 1967.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h09m15s939Andy rode freight trains on off days. Filmed from assorted viewpoints. Here, on a revenue stock train.

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See how to get a Mike rerailed, without a crane.

A number of Hollywood feature films were filmed, in part at or near Durango.

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Oil and the Freight business. Farmington Branchline in 1955. South of Durango. Carbon Jct. had a small switch yard.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-18h55m02s160Model Railroaders will get a kick out of seeing GRAMPS oil tank cars!

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h27m57s907Declining traffic spelled the end of the San Juan Extension.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h29m15s953Andy filmed Springtime snow and slide clearing of the Silverton line. An old Caterpillar bulldozer does the job!

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This is a wonderful collection of vintage Rio Grande Narrow Gauge action! Inclusion of rare locations and singular viewpoints, set it apart from the competition. Not too mention Andy Payne’s first person accounts of the action. Harvey Laner provides the bulk of a clear narrative. Many are interview style, with his friend Andy.

Starting as a Los Angeles Transit Motorman. Andy hired on as Fireman with DRGW in 1957. He loved his work and filming the trains. He passed away in 2012.

vlcsnap-2020-08-16-20h14m54s921Charles Smiley organized everything, into a highly enjoyable viewing experience! As usual, it shall take multiple viewings to get it all in. The 90 minutes literally fly-by. Always the mark of a fun program.

This is a must see, for Rio Grande and Narrow Gauge steam fans.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Historic Hot Spots Combo DVD: Railfanning Southern California in the 1950s, Santa Fe’s Pasadena Subdivision

HHS-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: LA, Pasadena, Cajon Pass, Tehachapi Loop..

Length: 2 hours 20 minutes

Sources: Chet Hogan, Henry Wong, J. A. Hawkins, Leo Caloia, Trevor Clarke

A two for one bonus DVD. Both feature classic action in California. A cornucopia of vintage Railroading!

A single DVD. Master menu. Chapter menus. Previews.

Let’s look at the individual shows.

Railfanning Southern California in the 1950s.

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This coverage is organized by the feature set. One hour and twenty minutes show. The Introduction contains excellent street footage of Los Angeles area. Nice maps!

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Four notable Railfan’s guest star. Stan Kistler, Richard Steinheimer, Don Sims and Chard Walker. I know, they have additional and varied accomplishments with railroading. All offer mighty fine commentary!

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The Railroading begins at Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal platforms. Stan Kistler describes the busy trains of the era. Santa Fe, Southern Pacific and Union Pacific, long haul passenger trains are shown.

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Southern Pacific’s The Owl. Scenes from August, 1951. Chet Hogan filmed in a single day! Mission Tower..

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Double-header steam locomotives with an ice bunker reefer train.

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Amazing views of a snapshot of the transitional era.

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Southern Pacific. Richard Steinheimer takes over for this section. Photographer and how he began. Various black and white Steinheimer photographs.

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Don Sims chimes in after him.A mixed train is booked by a club. A Santa Fe Mikado handles this train.

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Cajon Pass. Henry Wong in June, 1949 is the Cinematographer. Stan Kistler explains. A 16mm camera with limited capacity.

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Retired Santa Fe Operation man Chard Walker discusses the end of steam on Cajon. He has authored some fine books!

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Banker’s Holiday Special 1954 to Bakersfield. GS and a Cab forward.

Tehachapi Loop is where this excursion stopped. A replacement set of steam locomotives were swapped from Bakersfield.

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Railfanning Southern California in the 50s. A fantastic look at the scene in brilliant, restored color film!

Santa Fe’s Pasadena Sub

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This show has a short Chapter Menu. There are a couple of previews, as well. Obviously, the story is centered around Pasadena. Runs for an hour. Stan Kistler is the guest star. Map and graphics.

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1951 and at Los Angeles Mission Tower. Chet Hogan films. All color and 16mm!

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South Pasadena is the beginning. Hogan footage. Steam is still present, but rare. Mostly passenger trains. El Capitan, Super Chief and various moves, going between LA and San Bernardino.

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Arroyo Seco Viaduct a scenic highlight.

Pasadena main station was very busy.

 

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 Cab Ride. Filmed by J. Allen Hawkins in the early 1960s. Aboard the Santa Fe Chief. LA to Barstow on # 314.

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Exciting film, as the Cab Ride continues across Cajon Pass. There have been changes, since the time of this filming.

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Assorted views, within and out of the F unit windows. Intriguing footage!

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Santa Fe Chief is a star of this delightful show. Pentrex remastered film has the program in stunning visual quality. A winner for all vintage Railfan’s, who have interest in passenger trains.

Historic Hot Spots Combo DVD: Railfanning Southern California in the 1950s, Santa Fe’s Pasadena Subdivision.

This is an outstanding combination! Perfect for fans if vintage, Western Railroading. Great for Classic Railfans and Model Railroaders.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

CSX 11 Greenwood to Atlanta

CSX11_dvd

Producer: Green Frog

Locations: Greenwood, Abbeville

Timeframe: 1999

Length: 1 hour

Sources: James T. Koch, John M. Koch

In Volume 11, we continue from Greenwood to Atlanta. This is the Abbeville sub. Former Seaboard Airline Railway, is 150 miles long.

vlcsnap-2020-04-02-14h09m58s128The setup is consistent with the others in this series. On-screen graphics. No maps. Full narration by Bob Carrera. Switchable narrative to on/off. Good script. High production standards. Professional videography.

vlcsnap-2020-04-02-14h10m27s053There is busy Maxwell yard at the beginning. Various moves come and go. An engine is swapped out.

vlcsnap-2020-04-02-14h18m08s772CSX Q211 stops at Abbeville. A crew change point. 8184 leads the Norfolk Southern units.

vlcsnap-2020-04-02-14h44m35s652Assorted meets and switching along this single track route.

vlcsnap-2020-04-02-15h09m10s865CSX 7722 leads on undulating trackage near Bogart.

vlcsnap-2020-04-02-15h16m00s230A C30-7 is paced near Dacula. An unedited pace is part of the bonus.

vlcsnap-2020-04-02-15h25m11s864The modern tour stops short of the city. 

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Older footage, that features the former New Georgia Railroad wraps up this show. This steam engine was part of that operation.

CSX 11. Greenwood to Atlanta. Another solid entry in this extensive series! Each territory has it’s own flavor. Green Frog, then creates an appropriate show. The single track main is average. By adding in, meets and switching, they increase the interest. The additional older footage is another point of interest. The bonus footage is out takes. What some release as part of a main feature. Here’s to Green Frog quality!

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battle Up Sherman Hill

VR017-DVD (1)

Producer: Bill Lambert

Locations: Sherman Hill, Cheyenne

Timeframe: 1950s- 1989

Length: 1 hour

Sources: multiple

Steam to modern diesel in the never ending challenge to move trains over Sherman Hill. The fabled Union Pacific route is where some of the largest locomotives in the world have operated. This original Video Rails show, has been remastered by Pentrex on a DVD.

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Multiple film sources from decades of time. All color and Pentrex has it all in best quality here. Original and added sounds that give an authentic experience. Full narration by Jim Knight.

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This show plays like a videotape from that era. It has no Chapter Menu. A single map. Simply hit play.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-11h24m54s475Divided mostly, into locomotive type chapters. Steam, Early Diesel, Turbines…

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Hermosa Tunnel is seen in different years. This scene from modern era.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-12h20m29s228DD40AX. The largest diesels! Awesome to watch as they operate. Brief cab ride.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-11h28m15s965Some footage may look familiar. That depends on what the viewer has seen. This review shall stick to this presentation.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-11h31m16s857Big Boys and Challengers are no brainers. As are the big Northern type.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-11h40m18s251Turbines receive a detailed Chapter. They were built in three variants.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-11h44m04s273Early Diesels are always of high interest. Many types are shown.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-12h10m10s707Double diesels are rare and memorable. GE U-50-B trio here. 

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-12h07m18s842Passenger trains are those long streamliners. Northern assistance to Amtrak era.

vlcsnap-2020-04-01-11h46m02s309Other Railroads has some surprises. Burlington Route in this scene. Southern Pacific is the most common.

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The current day is the best appearing. Also, not as fascinating. Dash 8 and SD60 here.

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Battle Up Sherman Hill. Delivers the goods! About half vintage and half modern. Although that itself, is late 1980s. All is satisfying Sherman Hill route. Plenty of variety. Well paced and enjoyable show!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Chicago Steam Celebration

Chicago Steam Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1993

Locations: Chicago, East Union..

Length: 2 hours

A varied program. This is more than a steam show at Chicago. A trip to the Illinois Railway Museum is included. Ride the Chicago Transit Authority. See some steam, operate in poor weather. Hey, it’s Chicago. Tourists may find it fascinating. Locals may give a few yawns, in places.

A single DVD-R. Detailed Chapter Menu. Preview section. Maps and on-screen graphics. High quality throughout.

This was officially, the 1993 NRHS Convention. You will be reminded of that, by numerous shots of the attendees in this show.

vlcsnap-2020-03-28-11h38m46s450As in other releases of this type. Pentrex has some of the trips to the event. Former Southern green is seen at Morristown, Tennessee. This does not travel to Chicago.

NW 611 runs another leg. Doesn’t show in Chicago. This feels disjointed..

vlcsnap-2020-03-28-12h40m12s565Union Pacific 3985 ran a Central Stated Challenger Special. Heavy rains. Weather clears on day 2. Illinois on third day under cloudy skies.

vlcsnap-2020-03-28-11h47m38s940Fort Wayne had a double header Nickel Plate train. This train all the way on ex: NKP rails.

vlcsnap-2020-03-28-11h52m11s847Day One. Metra F units, wearing the ugliest paint this side of Metro North. Everyday commuter cars to Elgin. The F pair is pulled before the return to Chicago. Yawn..

A show highlight follows…

Illinois Railway Museum.

vlcsnap-2020-03-28-11h57m21s756Burlington Route Nebraska Zephyr. All stainless steel. See it run. Car ride too. Rare E5 diesel.

North Shore Electroliner. Wearing fresh paint!

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Milwaukee Road 118C. A vintage freight train too.

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Baldwin built in 1918. Frisco 1630. IRMs main steamer.

 

A general tour of the museum. Ride the mainline. Ride the trollies on the backlot. See big power. Plenty of information. Highly interesting chapter!

Day Two. Ride the CTA elevated. Yawn. For tourists, I suppose.

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Meanwhile, the 3985 is at the yard in Lansing. This train goes to Findlay Jct. Happy riders get interviewed. Cab action with Steve Lee the engineer. This trip is another highlight.

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Crossing at Tuscola, Illinois. Note the tower. Spare me the lunches…

Day Three. Indoors at the Palmer House Hotel. Union Station has been restored! Wow, it is actually clean. Dedication ceremony, for a couple of plaques.

Next section made me chuckle. Tour of ugly Metra locomotives. Everyone is more interested in the two BN E9 units. You betcha!

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Day Four. Calumet Yard. This is Norfolk Southern now.  The 587 leads the bigger 765. Venerable State Line Tower. Much of this trip is under clouds or in the rain.

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Dumbest part of the show at Argos, Indiana. The big crowd is served lunch.  Not enough seating has some people sitting on the wet ground! Nothing like a wet butt, for the trip back. Good job. More rain. Not a pretty trip. Could have edited much of this out.

Day 5. Ride the South Shore. More for the out of towners. Non steam. It’s raining again. Between the snow, cold and rain, why people move! Excessive. Most of this could have been deleted.

Chicago Steam Celebration. A mixed bag. The couple of highlights are well done. CNW 1385 was marooned, due to flooding. A loss, that resulted in filler here. The NW 611 disappears, as well.  Union Pacific trip is a good one. If a bit crowd heavy.

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The Illinois Railway Museum is the best part of this grab bag. IRM is an absolutely wonderful train museum! This chapter alone is worth the price of admission. Frankly, saves this show from a lower rating.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars