Union Pacific Classic Collectors Series

VRUP-DVD

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.

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

Big Boys

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

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Big Blow UP exclusive Turbines were sometimes the assistance.

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

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Big Boys could also simply help themselves!

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Winter of 1956 is the final chapter.

Challengers

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

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

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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.

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

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In Nebraska the 3936 operated in the snow.

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

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

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The Turbine is assisted by a Heavy Challenger.

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

 

Steam

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

 

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A Challenger and Northern 839, are about to depart.

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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

 

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Diesels on the Union Pacific

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Producer: William Brown

Timeframe: early 1980s

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman line, more..

Length: 2 hours 7 minutes

This combination of two old VHS tapes into this double DVD set. Viewers will experience what watching those old tapes is like. No remaster or enhancement here. Too bad, the visuals do need help.

The shows are jam packed with 1980s action! That is the main attraction. The video begins, around the main yard at Cheyenne. A major Union Pacific location, with a rich history.

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Visual quality is barely adequate or below overall. It is quite messy. A good sized distortion bar runs horizontal, along the bottom of the screen. On the left side, a vertical distortion bar.

There are many small horizontal distortion lines in the upper third to half of the picture. This fault is variable. Yet, too frequent. A worn out master tape.

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Color balance tries to hangs tough. Barely adequate, to less than that. Some green rails appearing. Yellow shade gets off kilter.

The show is somewhat watchable. Just on the low end. Keep your expectations low.

Audio is considerably better. Live sound captures the diesels very well. Particularly satisifying when chasing the Centennials.

No maps or Chapter Menus are included. A bare bones release.

Rege Cordic has a clear slot in the narrative. The script is quite basic.

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Some good news. A caboose on every train. They come from various railroads! Keeps things interesting.

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Good assortment of run through power. Plus, the trains themselves were more interesting, as well.

One disc plays One hour. The other 67 minutes.

To the Trains ..

Disc 1

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The tour starts sensibly, at the Cheyenne roundhouse. The various steam engines and random diesels are browsed there.

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Moving on, after a brief yard tour. The mainlines are featured.

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Hordes of EMD SD40-2 were dominate. Classic film locations are seen.

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General Electric does have a presence.

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Centennials were activated. A chase over Sherman Hill.

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A caboose on every train! Chicago and  Northwestern on some unit coal. Other roads, though mostly Union Pacific.

The Sequel

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Exact same format. Video quality is slightly worse overall. Note the unnatural purple distortion lines that fill the sky. Also, lower horizontal and side distortion bars.

vlcsnap-2019-06-09-09h35m42s898Still, a full action show! A high vantage point provides some good looks at the passing freights.

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Checkout the access the Videographers had in this era! Famous locations and likely no hassles.

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An odd, no narrative with various Amtrak scenes segment.

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A cornucopia of cabooses. Road variety keeps it interesting. Yes, trainwatching was better.

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This was the last hurrah.

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It is -50 degrees, with the wind chill. Baby, it’s cold!

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Cab ride onboard Centennial #6922. Travel from Denver towards Cheyenne.

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The passenger special relays the train to Challenger 3985.

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Diesels on the Union Pacific

This is a good historical trip, back to the 1980s. While it was well shot originally. Age has not been kind to the videos.

It  is still watchable. Although, it would be tough on one’s eyesight, to view both discs in a single sitting.

The decreased visual quality relegates this set into the land of hardcore railfans. The content is strong. Too bad about the viewing.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

 

 

 

The Fifties Express

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Canadian National is west of Montreal.

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Boston and Maine. Pacific power on locals.

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New Haven is chased on a fantrip.

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

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

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

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New York Central has several trains.

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

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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.

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

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

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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!

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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.

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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

MORDVD

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.

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A detailed Chapter Menu. On screen location graphics.

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

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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.

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

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A scene of Street running in Ironton.

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Fred also shows trains, in context.

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He could do the mood shots too!

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

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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. 

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

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Conrail paint is beginning to be seen.

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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.

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

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Chessie System steam suddenly appears!

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

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Ann Arbor is visited.

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

Remember , the rarities in this show.

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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!

 

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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

 

Into the ’90’s GT-2

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Producer: Todd Miller

Timeframe: 1993- 94

Locations: Battle Creek to Port Huron

Length: 2 hours

Source: Todd Miller, Dale Devene, Paul Geiger

The official description is a stretch. I was deciding, between this and GT-1. Both at two hours. This GT-2, had a few things going in its favor. I chose this, based on the advertised inclusions.

Steam, 1980s footage and Battle Creek. Does it include those items? Barely!

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You get several scenes of steam. A couple of scenes that is the 1980s. A few minutes total.

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Major GT yard at Battle Creek. I expected this to be a show highlight. Wait for it… A single aerial flyover!

Not a good start. There is more. Getting ahead of the review.

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The show is narrated by Todd Miller. He seemed to be self sufficient. His Videography is pretty good overall.

His post production work has good points. There are other areas needing help.

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The good. Maps are included in the program. Timely referenced. On screen graphics, with locations and milepost.

Weak are the lighting. Some scenes need the brightness lowered. Early on, this is annoying on the 1994 video. It settles down. No Chapter Menu.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h11m23s180Another area is the audio. Edit the volume on some of these crossing gate scenes. Fortunately, locations are included that are away from crossing gates.

Worst issue is the DVD transfer!

Ever wonder what it would be like to see your old worn out VHS tape on a DVD? Step right in.

Constant, roll and flutter is a distraction. A couple of sections, I thought the tape was being eaten! Only to remember, this is on a disc.

The former 2 tape set, is loaded with flaws. Wonder, why they could not have sourced a set of tapes in better condition?

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Now, after all these issues. The actual show, is a decent visit to the Grand Trunk.

The beginning is at the throat of Battle Creek Yard. A train exiting the area. Program travels towards Canada.

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Durand is one of two extended show highlights. This visit overstays a little bit.

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A long lash-up at Durand.

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A connecting line provides some relief. Central Michigan. The sound of these General Electric locomotives, is a sweet symphony!

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Unexpected, is the amount of online grain elevators.

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At Flint, the famous Grand Funk bridge.

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Canadian Pacific rolls through the territory.

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 Not mentioned in the narrative. Several Amtrak trains, are joint USA and Canadian. Hence, the Via locomotives and Amtrak coaches.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h14m15s559Getting far north at Tappan. This freight has it’s destination at Burlington Northern’s Clyde Yard. BN also is seen earlier,with coal.

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CSX appears with intersecting trackage and various moves. Again with their yard and action at Port Huron.

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Port Huron contains another extended segment. A fascinating look at those: yard, ferry and tunnel operations!

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This GP15 looks dwarfed by the auto racks. Too tall for the current tunnel. They need the river ferry. Three Railroads operate ferries here.

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Focused discussion of yard operation. Details given a detailed look. Plenty of Canadian National movement here.

vlcsnap-2019-05-26-08h46m33s365Canadian National power muscles out of the tunnel beneath the Saint Clair River. Note the construction equipment, building the new tunnel.

 

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The single GT caboose on a train. This from the 1980s freight, constituting one half of that feature.

Into the ’90’s GT-2.

The description fails to deliver on the advertised. A reasonable expectation would be more time on the items, I brought up.

The VHS transfer quality is a dog. Seems like, better tapes could have been applied.

I would have chosen Volume One. Had this been described more accurately.

It is still a good show overall. Lower rating for the sloppy source and transfer.

Rating: 3 Stars