The Anthracite Roads in the 70s Vol.4 Reading Lines

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Producer: John Pechulis

Timeframe: 1970s

Locations: Bethlehem, Allentown, Rutherford, Reading

Length: 76 minutes

Sources: J. Reck, T. Nemeth, T. Kelcec, W. Chaplik, D. Latshaw

Sampled one of these Anthracite Roads shows. This one features Reading Railroad. Seems to be about 1972 to 1975, based on the narrative. Very focused on mostly freight operations of the Reading. Some passenger, in the forms of: Budd cars, Push- Pull and traditional FP7 led trains.

Having a clear preference for freight trains. Took a chance, on how this would work out. Very satisfied, with the heavy emphasis on freight traffic.

Too much to cover everything. Let’s see some highlights…

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The show has a detailed Chapter Menu. No maps or additional graphics. Added sound are train sounds.

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Various film sources have been compiled to complete this program. Some minor variations. The ultra fine restoration process by JPM, has everything appearing in best possible quality.

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The overall visuals are excellent! Any flaws are minor. The color balance is outstanding. All of the Cinematography is very well shot.

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Mike Bednar provides an informative and colorful narration. He has a true, insider viewpoint. Knowing the train symbols, loads, and much more! Learn why some hopper strings are on the front or rear of a mixed freight, on the Reading.

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Diesel assortment should satisfy most fans of the 1970s. First and Second Generation locomotives from: EMD and Alco are in daily service. GE U30C locomotives, as well.

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Paint schemes range from: Original 50s, 2nd Generation 60s and 70s are all here.

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Cabooses were a given. The RS3 engines were still in service. Although we see their fate, later on.

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GP30 power always had that ‘hot rod’ look. More so, in the 1960s. Something, that only General Motors would come up with.

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The GP35 would outline the design from Electromotive for many years to follow.

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Give me a six axle Alco Century C630, with High Adhesion trucks. A man’s locomotive!

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The late, dark green paint looked like a successful update for the colorful 1970s.

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A nice inclusion. Also, not a common find. Several trains offer the consists. So many 40′ boxcars are still rolling. Model Railroaders- take note.

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While we are it. What do loaded Anthracite cars look like?

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A plethora of pure Reading lash-ups. Nearly endless.

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Mike certainly gets a kick out of a Lehigh Valley ‘Snowbird’ shoving on a train.

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Used to seeing Chessie System units in weathered paint on other shows. It’s a bit of a shocker to find brand new GP40s here.

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Paired up B&O plus C&O engines, also power some moves.

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Obligatory Budd car. Seemed unattractive. Funny, that Mike felt similar.

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The FP7 was a smart looking locomotive, in Reading paint.

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Checkout Rutherford Yard for a quick visit.

vlcsnap-2019-09-20-15h35m36s305Wide Vision caboose. The best on the line.

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This show is a targeted one. The Reading probably did not have as many trackside viewers, as the larger railroads. Due to location and it’s size. Here is a chance to be trackside. In the few years before it disappeared into Conrail. The show in this high quality is a must see, for those who wish to have been there.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

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Into the Allegheny Range Volume 4


AR4-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1990s

Locations: Cumberland to Sand Patch Grade, Meyersdale, Connellsville,PA.

Length: 4 hours

Source: Iron Horse America

Final entry in this extensive series by Iron Horse America. Comprehensive coverage of former B&O line from Cumberland, Maryland to Sand Patch Grade. Second disc continues onward: Meyersdale to Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

While filmed over a three period in the early 1990s, wait there’s more. Has interpolating, steam era, color footage, from William Price!

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At a total length of 4 hours. There are the 2 DVDs in this Volume. This review will barely get the surface highlights. Quality is on par, with the other three shows. Par excellence!

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Mountainous terrain and CSX trains fighting their way up those tough grades. Shot in all seasons and any weather conditions. No stone is left unturned.

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All the previous extras are present. A generous supply of maps. Frequently referenced to mark our progress along the line. Elevation maps. Detailed, on-screen graphics with additional information.

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Bob Taylor announced a detailed narrative. Even includes tips on photographing or traversing the area.

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The journey begins at the Eastern end in Cumberland. This time period is the last stand for active, Armstrong towers.

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Tunnels are numerous. Both ends of each bore are covered. Amtrak moves appear throughout.

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Towers are visited. They may or may not exist now. Wonderful! How the Price footage is edited in so well

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A cornucopia of locomotive types. Predecessor paint scheme galore!

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Tom Biery gets credit for this sequence. This Western Maryland led freight is paced near Mt. Savage Jct. Shortly after the Chessie System merger.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-10h08m17s505Fairhope Tunnel provides a scene, that is perfect for Model Railroaders. The short tunnel, immediate bridge over a river, offer a wealth of possibilities.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-10h32m32s098 Mance is loaded with scenic opportunities. Receives an extended Chapter.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-10h45m35s744Mance has numerous close-up viewpoints. Note this former Louisville and Nashville GP38.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-10h19m31s889Majestic, aerial viewpoints are look alikes for model railroads. Some ambitious climbing, is how the Videographer attained some shots. Several are spectacular!

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Sand Patch Tunnel is a centerpiece. Plenty of still painted Chessie System power, in service.

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The CSX F unit set on a 1991 special.

 

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SA Tower is visited. Pistol grip controls here. The operation is explained by Ed Karsted.

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Yes, Bill Price includes early diesels.

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Display map of Sandpatch Grade summit.

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Disc Two continues the journey from the summit.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-09h43m31s852One more scene of those great B&O steam locomotives.

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Watch, as the rails are pulled up on the Berlin branch. Witness the final train there.

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A Somerset local on S&C with a rare Sunburst B&O GP30 in the lash-up.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-12h40m42s086Shoofly is an interesting tunnel.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-12h55m28s971Benford is great looking brick one.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-13h00m43s104Check that last GP16 operating on CSX.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-13h14m00s510Connellsville Yard has some fine; before and after film. At the time of this show, extremely limited usage.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-13h21m33s027A Cab ride aboard a Chessie System GP38 helper. About to pass under Salisbury Viaduct. This closes this show.

vlcsnap-2019-09-16-12h14m47s331Volume 4 is a winner! If you can only afford a single release or want to sample only one. This issue has comprehensive coverage of world famous Sand Patch Grade. 

Rating: 5 Stars

Tribute to Tennessee Pass

 

TRIBUTE-DVD

Timeframe: 1997

Locations: Royal Gorge, Minturn, Mitchell, Salida, TP Summit, more

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

In 1997 the word was given. Historic Tennessee Pass was going to be closed by the railroad. Pentrex then documented the Tennessee Pass subdivision. A 200 mile line.

The show is organized into three main sections. One third from Pueblo, Colorado. Another third from Dotsero. A middle section with the Summit.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h27m07s992Actually, the Summit is also acheived via another Chapter. Tennessee Pass Tunnel. Twice visited. Great!

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There is so much to see. Let’s hit some highlights.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h21m56s489In 1997, the SD40T-2 were still to be found, in Rio Grande paint.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h15m24s105Pentrex extras include many reference maps. On screen graphics with; train designations and locations.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h36m58s470Dave Drui narrates in his smooth as glass style. A smart script matches the professional Pentrex production.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h12m35s521Expert videography is on tap. Beautifully shot. Encompasses the magnificent mountain scenery along with the centerpiece trains. Well done!

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h42m05s914Audio is live sound. Pro sound throughout. Some obvious video source flaws late in the program. Minor glitches. No worries. Part of the review.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h08m11s617The program begins on the Western end and travels towards the center. A rather sharp decision. Viewers end up at Tennessee Pass Summit. The tunnel is the Summit.

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Restart at the opposite end of the sub. Achieve the summit twice! Brilliant.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h49m46s976Relentless train movement. Ever changing scenic vistas will keep eyes on the screen.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h31m14s382At Minturn. The pace slows down. Watch the process. Mid-train helpers are cut into a heavy, unit coal train.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h21m13s805Royal Gorge is a scenic highlight.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h56m50s242A hard to find (in 1997) Rio Grande GP30 is out on the mainline.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h58m37s198Several out of staters do appear. CSX,NW, and CNW. Here is one. CNW SD40-2.

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Although the GE AC4400 were dominate. Tunnel motors and the The Rocky Mountains. Go together like peanut butter and jelly. A classic!

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-10h47m10s366Union Pacific locomotives are plentiful.

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h54m18s899Those sweeping curves at Mitchell. They have been filmed since the steam era. Still exciting, even with diesels!

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h58m54s556Here we are…

vlcsnap-2019-09-06-11h14m04s018Not a caboose to be found in this show. There is this vintage DRGW boxcar. Close enough for horseshoes. Ain’t she sweet? Let’s go with this for the closer.

Tribute to Tennessee Pass. Has all the elements. Mountain territory, good mix of power and freight. Excellent visuals with a sharp narrative. A fine program for the whole family. This amoung the top Pentrex shows!

Rating: 5 Stars

Railfanning with the Bednars Volume 6

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Producer: John Pechulis

Timeframe: 1976

Locations: Allentown, Horseshoe Curve area, more

Length: 63 minutes

Source: Bednar collection

See the dawn of Conrail in Pennsylvania. Bednar films and unique Pechulis film process, offer high quality viewing. Lehigh Valley was the home road for the Bednar family. They do venture out further on Penn Central rails.

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The Conrail merger had all roads equipment showing up at Mike’s yard! One never knew what might show up next. Extremely interesting time to be trackside.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h02m47s363Mike’s personal LV favorite. The Alco 212.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h00m42s392Mike said, that his Father was out filming all the time. Uncertain, if his Dad shot everything here. My guess is yes. In any case, excellent cinematography.

Penn Central GP30 units were some of the first new units to work Mike’s yard. Recollections like this, give firsthand insight into the transition to Conrail. Not to mention some rude telephone calls!

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h31m56s792Not only Lehigh Valley territory. The former, Penn Central is visited, around the Horseshoe Curve area. Middle Division and additional spots. Dead lines full of Baldwins and Alcos are shown.  Rockville Bridge is above. 

Informal style narrative by veteran Railroader Mike Bednar. His views are more akin to a running commentary. Knowing the people, remembering what transpired. A true insider’s perspective.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h58m35s797The film restoration is amazing. Hard to discern this was sourced from Super 8mm. It looks sharp! Probably, the finest merger Conrail film around.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h02m22s943Soundtrack also has live sound and filled with some background music. All of it is leveled nicely.

No maps are provided. No other extras. The program is a quick pace. It gets along without them. Although maps are always my preference.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h53m22s889Early in the timeline, the merged locomotives have not been renumbered. Too much to included everything. A jam packed show. Let’s see some highlights.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h08m51s210Mike’s yard was very busy, after the Conrail merger. Model Railroaders can have a field day, with all of the freight cars! Much of this Volume is centered at Allentown Yard.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h22m02s044One has to appreciate Mike’s experience. The Ironton switcher was liked by everyone. Dependable and ran fine, right until Conrail scrapped it.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h13m01s120A trio of Reading GP9 units are chased on a coal train. Rare assignment and fun.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h14m31s616This scene seems to capture the mood around merger time on Lehigh Valley.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-10h09m12s147The Canadian National GP40W. Mike Bednar climbs aboard to check it out. Conrail was getting power, anywhere possible. 

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h52m09s468Lehigh and Hudson River, received a high rating in the maintenance area.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h13m41s419Erie Lackawanna units were all over the place. Many to see at Allentown.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h56m11s176Jersey Central ‘Red Baron’ scheme locomotives, also show.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h07m28s556Here is a revelation. Delaware and Hudson, originally used tape to renumber units! There are many assorted D&H units. Brand New and absorbed ones. Normal locomotives too.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h26m10s140Action abounds, at and near Horseshoe Curve. The former Penn Central tracks were extremely busy, according to Mike. Practically, a film within the film. 

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h28m11s007A long lash-up descends. Note the old F units being used on the power short Conrail!

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h36m23s796Later, full on blue Conrail repaints began. First one about to roll by…

CR…aka ‘cockroach’ reletter jobs are also within. Just as ugly as ever. Cabooses as well. However, variety is the spice of life.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h52m14s636A plethora of cabooses to see. Original paint and CR hasty renumbers. Fresh Conrail paint.

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-09h58m59s557Old Lehigh Valley, with their last innings to play, in old paint…

vlcsnap-2019-09-05-10h15m15s386Mike waves to Dad. A fitting place to end is here.

Anyone that is interested in Conrail merger. This is the show to have. Best quality, hands down. Entertaining and informative narration. A must have for Conrail fans.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Steam Across America: Combo DVD

SAA-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1950s- 60s

Locations: many

Length: 1 hour 10 minutes

Source: Bruce Ward

A combination of two shows on this single DVD. East and Western steam in the United States. Filmed in 16mm. All color and multiple railroads. End of the steam era. Late 1950s into the early 1960s.

Interested? Step right in…

Choices on the Top Chapter Menu offer: East, West and Bonus Material. Leads to detailed sub Chapter menus. No maps. On-screen location graphics.

Dave Drui with a good narrative. Detailed soundtrack with environmental sounds. High level of Pentrex production.

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NW in 1957. Portsmouth, Ohio. Plenty of action in the state.

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196 switches at Columbus, Ohio.

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Bluefield WV in 59.vlcsnap-2019-09-02-10h07m15s783

Baltimore and Ohio in 1957. Yellowstone EM- 1 type being chased.

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A B&O freight train, smokes it up.

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Street running at Grafton. The B&O added larger tenders to it’s switchers in later years.

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Pennsylvania Railroad.

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A J1 class 2-10-4 on the turntable at Columbus.

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Nickel Plate Road in 1957. Berkshire class. A Hudson class with rarely seen Elephant Ears on a freight.

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Chicago, Burlington and Quincy. 1961 in Illinois and Wisconsin. Burlington Route ran fantrips. This one was The Illini Special.

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Duluth, Missabe and Iron Range.  The Illini Special in 1961.

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Union Pacific in 1957. Grand Island, Nebraska. Elephant Ear Northern’s in freight service.

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Diminutive switchers were once ubiquitous.

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At Cheyenne, Wyoming. Class locomotive, Big Boy 4000, rolls in with smoking brakes.

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Challengers are abundant! Compare the exhaust on this somewhat ailing Challenger to the GP unit, as they shove on a freight in the Wahsatch Mountains.

Southern Pacific. San Francisco and Oakland terminals.

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Bakersfield in 1957. More shown in 56.  A GS 4 meets a Cab Forward .

Colorado and Southern. Various scenes.

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2-10-2 predominate. Note the double tender

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C&S #641 was well suited to operate to Climax, at over 10,000 feet. Ran until 1961.

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Great Western Railway steamer, is used at the sugar Mill. Loveland, CO. They used 0-4-0 saddle tankers too. Even more than expected is seen.

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Steam Across America. Covers the advertised in fine fashion. Two packed shows of vintage steam action. The 16mm films look great! Fine viewing for anyone with an interest in steam locomotives.

Rating: 5 Stars