Ohio Steam in the ’50’s

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Producer: A&R

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Ohio

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes

Source: Ed Birch, Sr.

A fabulous collection of classic steam. Filmed during the 1950s. Ed Birch shot all of this, in full color. He was on a high level.  This covers several railroads.

Baltimore and Ohio, Nickel Plate, New York Central plus Pennsylvania Railroad. Special guest stars, are big Santa Fe 5000 class power!

There is even a little Grand Trunk Western. Cameos of Detroit interurbans.

A sprinkling of early diesels appear.

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There is no Chapter Menu. No maps either. Dubbed sound for the trains. Good sound levels. Some scenes work better than others.

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Carrothers Tower, with Pennsylvania Railroad signage

 Narration by Aaron Gonthier. Basic script. Locomotives and locations. Additional information.

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Excellent looking films! Some occasional flaring. Very clean. Fine Cinematography.

Too much to get it all here. Hit some highlights. Not in running order.

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Baltimore and Ohio had moved steam into this area. Their behemoth, EM-1 can be found operating with a Pacific. Going to Wheeling. 

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EM-1, in a flurry of scenes around the yard.

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Ride into Deschler. On a B&O passenger train. Quick trip. Much happens at busy Deschler station. The inclusion of railroad structures are valuable.

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4618 leaves Deschler, with a friendly wave from the Engineer.

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5301  Cincinnatian. Streamlined Pacific stops at Deschler. Ride this train to Toledo.

 

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New York Central. Niagara 6014 departs with a passenger train. Toledo.

 

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Central Union Terminal. A modern passenger station. Built in 1950.

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Grafton, West Virginia. An important B&O facility. A good visit there.

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B&O 4453 getting water. Fascinating scene, 50 ton hoppers elevated.

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Cincinnatian to Detroit. PCC cars on Woodward Ave.

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Grand Trunk Western Station. Milwaukee Junction.  See the locomotive service area. A bit dark. Time of day perhaps. Notice, how they do not promote this segment.

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Sandusky in 1956. ATSF 2-10-4 engines on lease. Model Railroaders will find plenty of freight cars in the trains.

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Berkshire 776 has picked up orders at Bellvue. Nice sequence.

 

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A Santa Fe 5000 class, on the: Mansfield to Carrothers, Pennsylvania Railroad line.

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Attica Jct. This tower gives a sense of size to the large 2-10-4 Santa Fe steam engines. Note the man at the bottom of the stairs.

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Tiffen, on the Pennsylvania. A PRR J1

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B&O Q4 Mikado paced sequence.

vlcsnap-2019-05-13-17h43m34s743A Nickel Plate Road Berkshire, meets newer diesels. This was the near the end for steam on NKP.

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Baltimore and Ohio caboose,with an older paint scheme. Look at those colors!

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Nickel Plate Road, with High Speed Service.

Excellent program that exceeded expectations. Non- stop action of classic transition era trains. Variety of locomotives and the railroads are intriguing.

Ed Birch’s work, will stand with any of the well known Cinematographers. Outstanding composition. This man knew how to film a train!

This show is a must see for any steam fan.

Great for family viewing. You might find yourself wishing for more…

Rating: 5 Stars

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The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

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Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1940 – 1950s

Locations: USA

Length: 1 hour 35 minutes

Five vintage films from the 1940s and ’50s. Professionally produced by the Railroad organizations of the time. Most, if not all of these have circulated. Convenient to have a group on a single DVD.

A detailed Chapter Menu breaks them down by the five movie titles.  A Play All option, as well.

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These shall be reviewed by individual title. All are narrated. Full color films.

A roll up and combined rating upon completion.

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Burlington Route FT set. One of the myriad of rarities.

On The Track 

AAR short film of 1950s era. Dudley Productions.  A shared theme of America produces, and ships by rail. Wide variety of railroads passby the camera.  

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There are a number of famous landmarks. Prosperous, post war America. There are similar films made during this time.

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Covers much subject matter in about 15 minutes. Historical look back into time. Heavy industry is one focus.

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Plenty of early diesels. F and E units dominate. A few odd, Alco and Baldwin units. Several steam locomotives.

 

Life – Line of the Nation

Another Carl Dudley Production. Don McNamara has the narrator credit.

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An earlier film. Deals with World War 2. The valuable role of US railroads to move the military. The industry to manufacture equipment.

C&O 1490 is shown above.

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Hence, a National defense theme. Milwaukee Road box cab electrics.

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Get busy identifying what you see in all of these shows. Look closely…

Florida East Coast!

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Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby!

Runs about 20 minutes. Plenty of steam.

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Rare, New York Central Empire State Express.

Early diesels in small numbers here.

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The might of the US industrial complex, to support the war effort. Cooperation amoung the railroads to move everything.

The responsibility of the railroads to keep the peace time America rolling.

 

225,000 Mile Proving Ground

A 1958 produced, Association of American Railroads. Dudley Pictures.

The Headline Story of Railroad Research.

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The subtitle sums up where this movie short is going. These old films do like to emphasize just how well they are doing!

This Union Pacific Turbine, is the future.

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The science of Railroading. Metallurgy, as in more durable rail is one subject. Freight car design and uniform improvements.

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Improved refrigerator equipment. Santa Fe.

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Modern hump yard.

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Modern signaling for reliable train movements. Great Northern.

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Boxcars are constantly improved.

America’s 225,000 rail miles are the proving ground for so much technology.

Suffice it to say, A Chicago headquarters, was at the forefront, of the leading edge.

Railroads and National Defense

Dudley Pictures. Korean War era.

America: with natural resources, industrial might and a strong military. Ready to meet any challenge. Transportation is the key.

 

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This short is packed with early diesels!

Missouri – Kansas – Texas E units. MKT.

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This one reassures the public, that our railroads are more than ready to move the military.vlcsnap-2019-04-28-20h15m48s775

By now, you will notice the recycling of some footage. Remember, the producers were doing these films separately. They would have never dreamed of a single DVD!

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Seaboard train

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Buses move troops to the trains. Going to embarkation areas.

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Runs about 12 minutes. Many of the same trains seen previously. Like this Monon.

In a way, seen one, seen them all with these old short films. They vary somewhat. Yet, are quite similar.

Mainline USA

Also an AAR release from the 1950s. Dudley Pictures. Gilmore is this narrator.

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Probably the best of this collection. Many diesels. Pennsylvania Baldwin Sharks.

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Rock Island TA.

Again with the greatest America.

Same recycled footage. Much new and additional film.

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This one contains the largest selection of diesels. Western Maryland trio, in fireball paint scheme.

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Baltimore and Ohio F7A.

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Advances, such as truck trailers on flatcars.

Runs about 20 minutes.

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The Heritage Collection, Volume 1

Pentrex has delivered on the advertised. These vintage short films are of a historical nature. Repeat scenes, no extra charge!

Years ago, many old train films were difficult to obtain. Much has surfaced over the decades. There are still some rare birds. Although, only a quick glimpse of each.

Overall, an authentic period collection. Has trains, and much more. One viewpoint of American life. May or may not, be of interest.

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Today’s Chicago Railroads

TCR-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1991

Locations: Many

Length: 2 hours

Do you like variety? Chicago provides the Motherlode! This guided tour, of Chicago and vicinity, will satisfy most any Railfan. Fallen flags, local lines and pre- merger roads. Many old Towers are shown.

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Pentrex maximized their time in the field. Concentrating on classic hotspots. Crossings, Yards, Towers are generally, multi- Railroad locations. Busy mainlines, can provide ample supply. Frequent trains are practically a lock.

All the best of the Pentrex production team results in a smooth and well paced program.

Familiar voice of David Drui performs the informative and balanced narrative.

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There is a detailed, Chapter Menu. A master map, with nearly 2 dozen locations. Many close-up maps, as needed. Highly organized.

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Pentrex states that they only have room to hit the highlights of what they have. Likewise with my review. There is so much more to see!

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As the sign says. To The Trains…

Alco C424 of Chicago Belt Railway.

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Best place to begin the tour. Is the center of the city. That is Union Station. Full visit. visit. Amtrak’s yard is plentiful. Burlington Northern commuters run behind the E9 locomotives, as well.

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State Line Tower is far south. Norfolk Southern and CSX. Illinois – Indiana line.

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Speaking of towers. Van Loon Tower, is located in Indiana. Elgin, Joliet & Eastern with an SD40, in fresh paint. Norfolk Southern intersects here. I-80 is above.

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Blue Island has always been one of the best hotspots. Many roads move through here.

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Chessie System, now CSX, with a long lash-up of light locomotives. Barr Yard is nearby, not visited. Blue Island action.

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Dolton Jct. is very popular now. Easy to access, for railfans. CSX, Conrail and more.

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More.. A grimy Missouri Pacific pair, trundle through Dolton.

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McCook Crossing, features the busy Santa Fe Mainline. Multiple ATSF, trains passby. Willow Springs is next. Pre UPS days there.

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The details of the trackage at McCook. Everyone seemed to exercise trackage rights, on the Indiana Harbor Belt!

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Old, beater CNW geeps are seen here.

Grand Trunk , Chessie, IHB, Amtrak too.

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WICT F units at Edgewood are a rare sight! Wisconsin and Calumet. Later, became part of Wisconsin and Southern. The road was called Wicket, for short.

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A Soo Line switch job receives a detailed chase. A low speed one. Street running at Goose Island. A truncated version is on Street Running by Pentrex.

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The Burlington Northern Racetrack is a must see on any Chicago visit.

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BN executive F units appear at Clyde yard in Cicero. You never know what shows up!

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Hawthorne yard, has Belt Tower . This is visited inside. A former Illinois Central structure. Chicago Central was here. This structure, is gone now.

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Brighton Park has a full – on stop. Rare, a Switchtender with a shanty. A GT transfer caboose, hits the diamonds.

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Illinois Central SW14s on their ex: GM&O trackage. Note the unusual, hip cab roofs.

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CR 5032 is next to get the wave at Brighton.

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Bensenville is now a Soo Line stronghold. The former Milwaukee Road facilities are huge. A freshly painted SD40 powers a hot Soo Sprint train past B-17 tower.

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The engine house and Bensenville yard run right along a public road.

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Grand Trunk near Hayford Junction.

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Hegewisch still has electric interurban service. Chicago South Shore Line.

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Chicago and Northwestern, has a major line in a Westerly direction, from Proviso Yard. Union Pacific run through units are common. Metra is the local commuter service. Proviso Yard, is not seen in this show.

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Chicago Short Line is another rare find.

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Many of the trains, still employ a caboose. The Indiana Harbor Belt used these home built transfer ones for many years.

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Pentrex has knocked it out of the park. A home run! An instant classic. This show will give viewers a high rerun value. There is simply, an astounding amount of various, and interesting trains. Outstanding videography, that hits the mark!

Rating: 5 Stars

Rail Trek Volume One: The East

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Producer: Ron McElrath

Timeframe: 1960s-70s

Locations: East-South

Length: 140 min

Sources: R. McElrath, W. Sasser

One of three Rail Trek volumes. Eastern version. Wide coverage over 20 railroads. Updated in 2017 by Revelation Video for DVD release.

The new DVD has film repairs listed as: cleanup on splices and edits. Original sources of 8mm and Super 8. These still show limitations. Good to fair picture quality. Green overcast on occasional scenes.

 

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A detailed Chapter Menu is a fine addition. This lengthly program needs this feature. Especially, as it spends too much time on certain subjects. Definite pacing issues.

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A new, update (on- screen graphic) is used to correct previous narration mistakes. Even a bit of additional information.

The show is in full color. Brief segments with some live audio. Mostly a musical background. Same as previous edition.

Fully narrated by Ron McElrath. Same as the VHS series. Above scene from Marion.

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Show is a mixture of lineside and passenger train ride films. Covers a huge range of territories! Waynesboro, if you have trouble reading.

There is more than a basic review can fully get through here. Overview with some of the important parts to know.

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The railroads in the Southern states are hard to find. These alone, make this worth consideration. L&N, C&O, Southern, Auto-Train. Ride upon and view trains. You just don’t find much of anything, in the South on a train DVD.

Good developments, later in this show.

Earlier on, it was dragging badly. Roads that I like too. Just revolving, around and around, on passenger trains.

*Breakdowns are boring. The audience doesn’t care. Stuck like a bug on flypaper. Cut it short! The show is dragging…

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Endlessly looking around on New York Central. Finally, get out of there.

 

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Look! A neighbor, called New Haven. A chilly trip. Out and back, on a branchline

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A huge commuter mover. More than just Jamaica Yard. Long Island Railroad. Receives maybe, a minute! Really? Ugh…

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Only to get fixated, upon the very attractive Delaware and Hudson Alco PA locomotives.  Move it along…

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Norfolk and Western. This one scene is the best looking. Kind of loses it at Kenova. Experiments with shots and most don’t work. Chesapeake and Ohio. He blows most of the shots here miserably…

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Louisville and Nashville. Excellent choice. Rides an oddly named Pan Am train.

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C&O. 2nd chance. Gets it right now!

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Southern. Look South. GP30 looks awesome with a high hood.

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Birmingham. Hot Spot deluxe. A manned swing gate. Frisco here. More trains are seen. Who knew about this? Gate open…

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Take another look… Gate closed. Excellent.

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Florida. Auto Train gets a glimpse. Florida East Coast with a caboose is included within.

Florida has much more.

Pittsburgh in 15 minutes.. A fine chapter!

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Obligatory Amtrak shot. Cooler than most, with Three Rivers stadium!

 

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Pittsburgh and Philadelphia had vibrant trolley systems too. McElrath shows quite an assortment in both cities. I only have space for one. You’ve been told about it.

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Still in Pittsburgh. B&O action all around.

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Pittsburgh & Lake Erie. A train ride there.

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ATVR bonus. The Orange C was a give to ‘Green team’. New York Central. Red P was supposedly Red team. PRR staff. Neither side was satisfied. Everything reverted back to all white lettering. The rare, Orange C sure looked better to me! At Marion.

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In Ohio, things really get moving along. Erie Lackawanna is plentiful.

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Detroit, Toledo & Ironton, shows up for a minute.

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Marion Hot Spot. The ultimate all time?

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Get your good Norfolk and Western here.

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Recent early 1980s steam inclusion. Needless here. Better quality, easily is obtainable elsewhere. Quit when you are ahead.

Matter of fact. All steam on this show doesn’t really fit. Including, the poorly filmed breakdown outing, in the cold. Drags it down. Time waster that should not be here.

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Now, Atlantic Coast Line is a caboose, one rarely sees in service. There are some hard to find ones, bringing up the rear.

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Rail Trek Volume 1 The East The 1960s- 70s.

This show sure gets around. Large amount of railroads. A supply of rarities. Overall, weak on film quality. Needs some additional editing, for time. Create a stronger presentation.  Nice updates on the VHS. You have: the good, the bad and the ugly. A mixed bag. Make your choice.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

 

Vignettes of the Western Maryland Volume One

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Producer: Clear Block

Timeframe: 1940 – 1975

Locations: System

Length: 1 hour

Sources: Multiple

A large collection of films. Steam to mostly diesel. Preponderance, of color footage. Wide coverage of this railroad.

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Todd Miller performs the narrative. Good script that he wrote. It moves geographically across the territory. A well organized show.vlcsnap-2019-01-31-22h14m22s183

Hence, the timeline jumps as the program progresses. A production decision. One could argue the continuity of time. I would make the argument, the sensibility of time progression. No matter. Let’s go!

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Maps are used judiciously. Excellent, to have these frequently referenced. This show really moves around.

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We will visit Pen Mar Park, circa 1940s. Jump in a locomotive cab, here and there. A tiny amount of interurban service. See the odd loco in Chessie paint.

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Film quality hovers around medicore. Some scenes are a bit less. Some later scenes, are a little higher quality. Much of it, looks dull or unbalanced. The collection sure could use restoration.

In the year 2019. These old, unrestored 8mm film collections are wearing thin. Historical value is obvious. Consumer value can be, less beneficial. Seek the best quality films first. Read the reviews.

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Cinematics themselves are much better! Good camera skills, by about a dozen men.  Filmed over many years. Nice work.

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The commoners can be found in higher quality, in other programs. It is then a question of rarities, or completeness for collectors. They are here.

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Audio is surprisingly excellent.  In this case, almost astounding. Considering the general viewing standards. Locomotive sounds are matched to types. Obviously, much effort was put forth. Resulting into an accurate  environmental soundtrack.

vlcsnap-2019-01-31-21h31m19s363Ubiquitous EMD F7 units served WM with long careers. Note the nose logo here.

vlcsnap-2019-01-31-22h11m40s297Alco locomotives are out on the mainlines. RS-3 units, as well.

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This program has plenty of variety.

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A rare BL- 2 set operates in yard service.

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New circus paint, first appeared in 1969. This SD40 trio illustrates the schemes.

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Norfolk and Western, along with Reading trains, pass through parts of the WM territory.

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Chessie System paint began in 1972. One of the Safety Slogan series.

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The now vintage, Northeast caboose was a staple on Western Maryland.

Vignettes of the Western Maryland Volume One. An interesting show. It covers the railroad as advertised. The visuals are weaker than expected. The audio is much stronger than one would expect. Some rare items within. There you have it.

So… Do you need it?

Depends…

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IF Western Maryland cranks your tractor…

Rating: 3 Stars