Union Pacific and Cotton Belt, Midwest Joint Lines

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1989- 1993

Locations: Kirkwood, Gray’s Summit, MO. Aldridge, Thebes, IL. more

Length: 1 hour 55 minutes

Source: George Redmond

An exciting assortment of pre-merger action, centered around Kirkwood, Missouri! This show is an unpredictable one. It might be the best in the well established Heritage Series, by Diverging Clear Productions.

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Videographer George Redmond was out circa 1989. Hotspot, Kirkwood Missouri supplied a wealth of great trains. Union Pacific, Missouri Pacific, Southern Pacific, Cotton Belt, Rio Grande, MKT and Amtrak.

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A single DVD-R in a Slimline case. Detailed Chapter Menu. On-screen graphics. No maps. Enviornmental soundtrack. Balanced levels. Good color balance, on restored video. Crisp editing, that has a well paced program.

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The show begins at the station. Kirkwood Missouri. This is on the Jefferson City subdivision. MKT and a Missouri Pacific SD40, lead one of the trains, at this busy place.

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Gray’s Summit is outside of St Louis. Perfect for Model Railroaders! Note the striking face. Sharp, vertical angles would make a compact scene. This screen, is for those modellers. Yes, plenty of cool trains here.

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Rio Grande actually took over, Southern Pacific. For anybody that needs to know. Hence, there are DRGW locomotives traveling via Kirkwood at this time.

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Union Pacific shares the headline. This scene is from the Illinois half of the show.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h08m37s392Cotton Belt is a show co-star. SD40T-2, at Kirkwood, Missouri. Plentiful supply of their trains. Bottom line is, must have a tunnel motor in this review!

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MoPac, also became a part of the Union Pacific. Sometimes, they are seen repainted and lettered as, Missouri Pacific. Canaries!

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Amtrak stops to a herd of people at Kirkwood, in 1989.

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More Union Pacific rolls through the territory. Solid and mixed lash-ups. Note the MKT, way back there. This shot in the rain.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-09h49m46s055Gray and Scarlet, also abounds. Cotton Belt and Southern Pacific lettering. As one would expect.

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We need a blue MoPac on the lead. 6071 it is. Actually, SP Kodachrome paint is fun. Want even more fun? You find them!

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Cabooses galore! Hit or miss, on any given train. Even concerning roadnames. Surprises that one can love – even for those, who hate surprises! I left more surprises.

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Halfway through the show. The Chester subdivision is featured. This is in Illinois. Can the Chester sub match the thrilling first half? The timeline is now 1993. Moves between 1991- 93. Take a look…

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h32m49s163At Chester, a CNW leads a UP move.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h59m06s848Some water gives off a reflection, of the passing UP train.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h40m20s205At Gorham, the Chicago sub begins. Bounce between Chester and Chicago subs. A Conrail run through, gives some variation.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-11h20m11s340The bridge at Alridge sees enough trains to function as a hotspot here. Single track and busy! Visit both sides. See plenty of SP too.

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A speed lettered Southern Pacific unit. Receives the time tested, pan shot.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h47m21s399Not as much variety as the Missouri half. Still, there is much action.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-11h33m09s531A bridge at Thebes. Double track. Even more rust, than then the previous one.

vlcsnap-2019-11-17-10h55m13s352Several cabooses on this half.

Union Pacific and Cotton Belt, Midwest Joint Lines. The Heritage Series.

So far, this is the best entry that I have seen! The Missouri half is a real good time. Never know what’s coming next. Illinois is a tad less a blast, but still good. The sharp pace, keeps everything moving along. Fine show by Diverging Clear. If you want to try out a Heritage Series. This one is a great way to start.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

Big Boys and Brothers in the ’50s

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Producer: JMJ, Morty Farcus

Timeframe: 1950s

Length: 68 minutes

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman Hill, Hermosa Tunnel, North Platte…

Sources: William J. Altheimer

Sunday River, with a remastered steam, and more show. Union Pacific Big Boy’s and Challengers are the stars. Additional: 800s, Turbines and Diesels. The collection is 98% color film, from the 1950s.

The single DVD is in a sturdy, plastic case. A detailed Chapter Menu. On-screen graphics. Technical specifications on display screens. A single map, with filmed territories.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h47m03s638The remastered film quality is excellent! Clear images with fine color balance.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h31m36s694Audio soundtrack is predominantly train sounds. The light narrative introduces the various locomotives. Trainwatching then proceeds, with the lively train audio. Some brief musical interludes, round out the presentation.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h13m07s930The on-screen graphics are targeting the engine numbers. Several locations. The only area where the details are a little light, are the locations. However, it is along the mainline, where the big steam was operating in the 1950s.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h34m12s273This show is divided by locomotive class. Further, sub-divided by types. FEF Northerns for example. There were three. Number 844 is an FEF-3. Detailed specs are given for each type. Above is 837. Inquire within…

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h57m53s245Big Boy’s lead-off the show. Individual numbers. Yes, fan favorite 4014 is above and below!

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h56m08s021There are Big Boys in a plentiful supply. Big Boy 4014 crew appears to be posing for the camera, as they pass so many years ago…

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h55m51s366Each engine he has, is highlighted by number and shown. Of course, an unnumbered section is included.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h53m54s042Sharing a brief personal story…

My Grandfather worked for the steam Railroads as a young man. I was about 5 years old. I asked Grandpa, Did the steam always blow straight up?

Grandpa chuckled, No. It could be brought down by a heavy rain or blown sideways by a strong wind.

A little hard for a 5 year to picture. The above screenshot, illustrates his memory.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h02m58s253The Cinematographer filmed plenty of pacing sequences. Steam and pacing, are a great natural pair. Two Big Boys above.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h12m13s222Challengers are correctly split into the early and late versions. The early models had a slightly homely appearance.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h14m33s048Some redesign on the late Challengers had an improvement in performance. The lowered headlight, was one element to identify and actually looked better.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h28m29s159The 800 series are famous for number 844. Never having left the active roster.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h25m13s214These big Northerns were meant for passenger service. Late in their careers, they were assigned to freight duties.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h24m48s076There is a plethora of freight cars to see! A mine for Model Railroaders seeking period correct consists. Neat, clean and dull, boxcar red trains. Almost uniform, Pacific Fruit Express ice bunker reefers blocks.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h41m09s901Turbines were number one for a time.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-08h50m10s009 An assortment of early diesels conclude this show.

vlcsnap-2019-11-11-07h48m24s282Sunday River has a fantastic collection, of Union Pacific big steam and even more! The remaster has it in best possible quality. Enjoyable to hear the huge Articulateds and Northerns, at work.

A must have for Big Boy fans with this unique footage. Union Pacific, Steam train and Railfans, should all find this show, a worthy addition to their collections.

Rating: 5 Stars

New York Railroading in 1998

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1998

Locations: Poughkeepsie, Marlboro, Campbell Hall, Iona, more.

Length: 89 minutes

Source: William D. Sternitzke, William E. Sternitzke

A general tour of New York area circa 1998. Many locations. No narrative. Conrail is still intact. A show of, basically mindless runbys.

Chapter Search. Motion Menu. No maps. Switchable on-screen graphics. Default is off. Dolby Audio, with natural sounds.

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Videography is predominantly standard 3/4 views. Shot trackside. Clear images, although rather pedestrian. Several scenes are shot differently. The second Videographer perhaps.

Did not play this on the big screen. Looked very clean on the laptop. Audio was fine.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-15h05m44s857Watched it, with and without the location graphics. Without any point of reference. Maps for example. The train symbols and locations, are meaningless. Little upstate towns. Who knows where these places are?

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Poughkeepsie, sure that is widely known.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-15h07m17s367An NJ Transit at a nameless tunnel. Yawn.

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Here is an Amtrak. Unknown private cars.

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This show requires narration.

Riverline, Haverstraw. Now, there is a name! What about this place? Ugh!

I do believe they mean, The River Line. Yes, that works better. Hudson Line. River Line. So, it is a place called Haverstraw, on the River Line. Ok.

Now, some Union Pacific locomotives do appear on the River Line.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-13h57m40s236The Poughkeepsie Bridge is in the background. About the only recognizable scenes, are at Poughkeepsie. Here we have a Conrail business train. Doing what?

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-15h01m01s657 I was really looking forward to reviewing this release. Part of the fun, is learning about the different areas. Didn’t learn much. Extremely disappointed.

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Susquehanna eases past some derailed freight cars. A CP Rail unit trails. Not enough additional information. The graphics offer a few tidbits. Old HJ. What’s that? Susquehanna at Greycourt, Hudson Secondary. Never heard of Greycourt. Where does the Hudson Secondary run? Some time is spent here. Revisited later on. This show is annoying.

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A Conrail train at Suffern. A yard there or lineside industry? Who knows. I do know, that it is, Buffalo to Oak Island. I did learn that this town (never heard of it) is in New York.

vlcsnap-2019-11-02-14h57m58s221Poughkeepsie station. FL-9s. I know more, but they are not talking…

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What about this operation? Even a brief ride on this switcher is given.

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These empty flatcars summarize, how I rate this show. Not much meat on the bone. Too bad. However, I viewed the, Green Frog, Rails New York Metro. A review is forthcoming. Check that one, for a traditional, narrated show. Similar material. Better show!

Also available in the, Trains around New York and New Jersey set.

This is a wasted opportunity. The visuals are fine. The lack of much additional information, torpedoes this release. Probably fine for the locals.

Please. Spare me any comments, with after the fact details. This show is over. Move on.

Not recommended.

Suggestion. Narrate it.

Rating: 2 1/2 Stars

 

Railfanning Cajon and Tehachapi

Railfanning-Cajon-and-Tehachapi-1976-1993-DVD-D-150

Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1970 – 1993

Locations: Cajon Pass, Tehachapi Pass, Colton, San Bernardino,

Length: 1 hour 38 minutes

Sources: Jon Davis and more

Cajon Pass  and Tehachapi Pass. They are featured in this new release, from Charles Smiley Presents. This program looks further, than just those two areas. A desirable era, the includes films from the 1970s.

The single DVD is a silver, factory pressed disc. Same facilities, as used by Hollywood.

A numbered Chapter Menu, is included. CSP always provides, highest quality, custom made maps. Frequently referenced, and appropriate close-ups. Preview section of additional CSP shows.

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A multitude of on-screen graphics. Providing a variety of information. Sometimes, quite detailed which adds to the discussion.

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Sample of one map. Palmdale is being targeted. Color coded trackage.

Three Class One Railroads are all co-stars.

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Santa Fe

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Southern Pacific

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Union Pacific.

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Additional roadnames, such as Burlington Northern. Run through power, with Chicago and North Western.

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Audio has accurate to the locomotive sounds. Laid-back background music balanced the soundtrack.

Charles Smiley narrates. He his always, interesting and informative. Giving a wealth of knowledge, on these subjects.

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Film quality is excellent, overall. Digital restoration has great color balance. Appears to be predominantly 8mm sourced. Camera work is highly competent. Clear views of trains. All seasons.

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Cajon with snow. Amtrak passengers had a spectacular view!vlcsnap-2019-10-24-12h13m41s779Cajon Pass. There is a good amount of footage here. A welcome change from recent times! By this time, the Pinstripe Blue scheme has been replaced with the popular Warbonnet scheme.

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Of course, Santa Fe and Southern Pacific have the rails. Kodachrome repaints are easily found on Santa Fe.

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Colton has abundant trains. The yard leads and Colton Crossing. An SP Kodachrome.

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Of note. Talk about a pig train! A rare scene, is this move of hogs.

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Model Railroaders will be pleased. FYI- Charles has a fascinating Model Railroad. A plethora, of vintage freight and trailer on flatcars, roll by the camera. Eyeball, that blue L&N boxcar!

vlcsnap-2019-10-24-11h42m30s479Double – Diesels are a fine chapter. Electromotive gets the nod. DD40AX.  Built in 1969… Centennials.

vlcsnap-2019-10-24-15h27m21s404Static photographs augment the show. Earlier, DD35 units are also shown, on movie footage. 

Learn the background of the Double Diesels. The UP goals, and implementation.

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General Electric Turbines get looked at, as well. How did these Big Blows, relate to the later EMD units that followed? Answers within the show.

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Tehachapi Pass is well done. Different Cinematographers, with fine views on the scenes.

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Tunnels, in particular are a fine assortment.

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Good overview of Tehachapi area.

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Railfanning Cajon and Tehachapi. Comprehensive coverage of two, world famous locations. Additional areas simply add to this enjoyable show! The three featured railroads are classics.

This Charles Smiley Presents, checks all the boxes. What’s not to like?

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Griffith, Indiana

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Producer: Jonathan Quinley

Timeframe: Dec, 2016 to Sept, 2018

Location: Griffith, Indiana

Length: 2 hours 20 minutes

Source: Jonathan Quinley

Griffith is a hot spot . The interlocking trackage is  located near Chicago. Six miles, from the Illinois and Indiana State line. Once, one of the busiest interlockings in the world. There are still about 45 daily trains here.

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C Vision has footage from 2 years. That was 2016 until 2018. CSX ran a daily train until 2018. Here are some highlights…

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December 2016 is the beginning of this timeline. According to the Chapter Menu.

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This single DVD-R has a detailed Chapter Menu. On/ Off narration. Detailed vicinity map is included, of the trackage.

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The on-screen graphics are super detailed. Every single train move has this much information.

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Picture looks great on a modern 55″ screen. Sound quality is awesome, via the sound bar. The levels are full. Turn the volume up and trains seem to be coming into the room!

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Don Grant is the narrator.  The script is a light one. Natural train sounds are the main sounds.

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Pretty good variety of roadnames on the non CN locomotives. These BC Rail units make an appearance on the lead.

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Too bad in this modern era. We get, Oh your Momma didn’t pay enough attention to you. So, now you graffiti train cars. Punks!

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The Videographer has a fine set of skills. He gets variations, from a limited area and on the ground. Camera is tripod mounted, with zero movement.

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Canadian National is the star in this show. The mixture of local and road trains equate to older and new power.

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Although Illinois Central was consumed. Some black IC units can still be found. Sharp editing, gives viewers choice views of the train consists, without having to sit through entire trains.

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Once common Grand Trunk blue engines are working locals. Such as these GP38’s.

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CSX still was active at Griffith, with a regular move. Y123 is this train.

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BNSF rolls some run through power by the camera.

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Some night scenes are interspersed. Elgin, Joliet& Eastern locomotive here. They formerly owned some of these tracks.

vlcsnap-2019-10-10-20h19m45s553Action is predominantly mixed freight. Preferable to constant, boring unit  trains and double stack traffic. Check this Bessemer & Lake Erie trailing unit.

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Many are transfer freights. Others are far flung moves. Those graphics are interesting to read!

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Almost forgot you Union Pacific fans… No, it is not a UP move.

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The change of seasons adds to the appeal. Look close, it is an Illinois Central SD.

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Some of the power sets rumble the floor, as they approach! This show is fun.

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Norfolk Southern shows up, as well. An NS rebuild here.

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Griffith, Indiana is wall to wall freight trains. Enjoyable trainwatching for those who like this era. Has a definite trackside feel. Enough variation, in spite of what may seem to be limited, by location and era. This show is simply, a good time!

Rating: 5 Stars