Rotaries 2, Battle to Open Donner Pass

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Producer: Tim Walter

Timeframe: 2011

Locations: Truckee, Emigrant Gap, Cisco..

Length: 58 minutes

Source: Brendan Compton, Mike Haire, Dick Dorn

The second part to Rotaries, Avalanche on the Mountain. A Flanger train is stuck under an avalanche. The Rotary Snowplow gets dispatched from Truckee! Well, not exactly…

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h19m30s895Similar documentary style, as the original show. Employee narration via interviews. Other times, it is radio traffic. On-screen graphics, also convey various information. There is a narrator, to round things out.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h59m30s815Broadcast quality footage. Audio as well. No maps are included. A bonus preview section. A widescreen presentation. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h13m12s759This program begins with the Flanger train, stuck in an avalanche. Where we were left hanging, at the end of that show. Their is commentary, about the incident here. Even still photographs.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h25m51s694I was fully expecting to see a rescue mounted to the beleaguered Flanger. In fact, as a Rotary is dispatched from Truckee, it appears to be the case. However, that’s all folks.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h31m23s002Now, the story is redirected. The massive snowfall. Following the Rotary, as it works hard, to clear the mainline through Donner Pass. The Snow Service operation works, day and night.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h57m13s931The Rotary Train must travel all the way down to Roseville. In order to clear the.line and turnaround.

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Rotary 209 has some derailments in the heavy snow! This is tricky work. Snow drifts at least 10 feet high. Big Union Pacific GE AC locomotives are assigned to this train. The EMD F7B is the Rotary’s power.

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The height of the snow, can be hard to judge. Check this signal tower.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-12h38m08s054Difficult going at Cisco. Back and forth. The Rotary wants to climb off the tracks. The locomotives experience wheel slip. The crew spends hours battling through.

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A sideview of the Rotary.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-15h14m58s193Some fantastic aerial drone views. These appear to be a recent addition.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h04m35s898The camera does spend a lengthy amount of time, in this position. Could have used some narration, during this stretch. Definitely.

vlcsnap-2020-02-22-13h21m08s205The magic of the original show. A combination of the outstanding videography and employee commentary. The way that was edited, gave the show a unique flavor. Those same elements are present in the initial stages, but drops off. A worthy show to add to the collection.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

Union Pacific, The MoPac Merger Years: 1986 – 88

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Producer: Mary McPherson

Timeframe: 1986 – 88

Locations: Salem, Mt. Vernon, Kirkwood…

Length: 1 hour 49 minutes

Source: George Redmond

This Heritage Series show is focused on the final years of Missouri Pacific. The videos are centered around the St. Louis area.

A single DVD-R. A main menu, with options. Play, Scene Selection and Previews.  No maps. There are on-screen graphics.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-13h07m15s643Videography by George Redmond. He is very competent. The scenes are on point. Only limited by the tech of the era. Still, these are images that are hard to find.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h50m46s240Color balance is very good. Audio is lively! Mary let’s these trains be heard. An enjoyable show.

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A broadside view of the final scheme. Those C36-7 units, were assigned to hot priority moves.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-10h59m58s013The opening scene was shot in March, 1985. These Missouri Pacific GP50 units, are painted in the UP style. Nicknamed the Canary paint scheme.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h17m32s252Blue GP38s switch at Salem Yard.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h09m52s538A Western Pacific GP40, also at Salem. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h20m09s204A GE C36-7 at Tuscola, Illinois. The tower is Illinois Central. Doesn’t this locomotive, recall late Alco design?

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h23m33s297A blue GE is heading this local.

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Some GP18s are turned in at Mt. Vernon, to be scrapped. Note, the low and high hood options.

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This Houston to Indianapolis, displays the three principal paint schemes, in use. Salem.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h39m23s292At Dupo, Illinois. A trio of SD50 canaries lead a unit coal train. These late model orders were delivered in this revised paint.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h34m43s042Rarely seen, Union Pacific RoadRailer trains. Good for some appearances,l in this show.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h42m08s603Those  C30-7 were MoPacs last new order. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h45m29s782George has good pacing sequences. A malfunctioning GE unit, is the most entertaining.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-11h54m54s652By 1987, a solid set of MoPac blue is almost impossible to find, on a road train!

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h52m22s170After watching the operator print it. A funny moment! The engineer on this Conrail engine, whiffs on the grab. Mary comments the train continues onward, because it is CTC territory.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h10m47s553Former MP 4248 and it’s mate 4232, are now in full Union Pacific paint. Mount Vernon.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h31m53s271Engine #1713 leads at Kirkwood,MO.

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Naturally, by 1988 the older blue units are faded and in smaller numbers. A veteran SD40 shows up at Mt. Vernon.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h45m38s971This scene tells the story, of the later Missouri Pacific years. Union Pacific, with an ever growing prescence. This power clears the mainline at Mount Vernon, after dropping it’s cars.

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-12h38m20s889In the end, the railroad is absorbed into the super system. Some say it’s progress. While many Railfan’s, are saddened at another fallen flag. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-18-13h00m33s314There are a number of cabooses in this show. The transfer model could show, in road service.

A well paced show. The train sounds make it just as interesting to hear, as it is to view. Sure, it is not modern standards. There is historical value in these older tapes. This collection has aged well. Narrative highlights the need to know information. A variety of locations. One of the better Heritage Series releases.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

14 Miles Cajon Pass

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Producer: Tim Walter

Locations: Cajon Pass, Sullivan’s Curve, Palmdale Cut-off…

Timeframe: 2019

Here is a current visit to world famous, Cajon Pass! The 14 miles, refers to the length. Operating freight traffic, is by Union Pacific and BNSF. Fans of the modern rail scene, are in for quite a treat.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h37m10s560As one would expect from Pentrex, all of the  best known locations are included. Many others, as well.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h30m06s169A single DVD-R.  Detailed Chapter Menu. On screen graphics. Preview section. Great picture and natural audio. Excellent post production.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h18m31s859A colorful, custom map is included. Only referenced a single time. Veteran Railfans already know this material. However, newer people likely would appreciate multiple references.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h55m11s295Veteran announcer Dave Drui handles a relaxed script. Informative, yet leaving plenty of space to listen to the trains. So, activate that soundbar!

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h22m52s594The busiest railroad, mountain crossing, in the United States. This is the subtitle. Hits the nail on the head! There are 100 scheduled trains daily.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h22m00s941Blue Cut is where the San Andreas Fault is located. A blue CSX accentuates the bluish stone.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h33m38s388It takes quite awhile to change locations sometimes. However, no shortage of traffic.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h05m54s142For those unfamiliar with this part of the country. Note the dry riverbed. These can sometimes becoming raging torrents. Have no idea about this specific one.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h59m07s795Very little, in run through locomotives. Several Citirail units are seen.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h57m27s523An odd moment. Mention of this train breaking down later in the show, causing traffic problems. No further discussion.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h56m20s535A show highlight, is the cut to Cajon 1976 footage!

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 Big Boy 4014 rolls by, a single pass in 2019.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h37m19s030A couple of shots from a rare snowfall are another break, from the unit trains.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h53m09s035Amtrak Southwest Chief has a single rollby.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-19h33m23s508Almost missed it! A Chicago and NorthWestern unit, is in the middle of this lash-up.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h55m05s247Cajon Summit is acheived, at the end.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h42m13s259UP fans will want their flag on the summit. The 9068, is an SD70AH. 

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-20h00m51s397Note, this is the older BNSF livery. Santa Fe traditional style lettering. C44-9W.

While present day railroading, is not my wheelhouse. The combination of slow trains, and beautiful scenery has its own charm. Hearing the locomotives working hard is another positive.

vlcsnap-2020-02-16-18h45m22s774The two hour length could have been edited down considerably. Certain locations, the camera is planted there, for far too long. Particularly, in the first hour. Unusual, as Pentrex normally picks up and moves!

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For a show featuring the current railroad scene, special scenery is a must have. Everything else is repetitive. This show is well put together. Although, this era is not to my interest, it is a good show. Recommended, if you enjoy today’s railroading.

Rating: 4 Stars

Big Boy Greetings From Kansas City

BBKC-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 2019

Locations: Kansas City, Topeka, Denver…

Length: 1 hour 25 minutes

Sources: Marc Lingenfelter, David Burritt, Stephan Johnson, Jim Tanis, Nancy Burritt

In the Steam Era, Kansas City would have been foreign territory, to a Union Pacific Big Boy. Times change and the 4014 attained KC, in 2019. This was the final run for 2019.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h06m20s859This show is on a DVD-R. It has a new style menu! The Top Menu is overlayed on a map. A detailed pictured Chapter Menu, lists locations. Quite modern. Also, a preview section and the music video.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-18h47m38s833A full page map is displayed, near the beginning of the show. On screen graphics denote locations. David Drui narrates.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-18h54m12s723his leg of the tour begins in Arkansas.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-18h56m25s878Vintage film of 4014 is included. Retirement was in 1961.

Brief history includes a little bit of 4014 update. Previous Pentrex Big Boy shows are referenced in this program.

Quickly into Oklahoma.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h01m27s822Fort Gibson bridge. Drone shot footage throughout

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h03m30s069Kansas City is next. The Union Station has been beautifully restored.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h11m38s848The Highline bridge is well documented, as waiting for the Big Boy to appear.Outstanding aerial view, as the 4014 is paced.

Additional drone footage is great! The train moves at a leisurely be pace towards Topeka. Sure is an advance, over endless runbys. As found in an average modern, steam show.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h22m21s286Arrival at Topeka. A restored UP station, now a museum.

Overnight here. Grain cars added for braking the following day.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h26m32s940A large amount of stored power at North Topeka. Evidence of changing opearational practices! Just a single yard. Think about it.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h17m08s648Are we there yet?

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h32m42s153Frequently referenced in old Western movies. This is Abilene. A modern canyon, created by grain elevators.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h35m22s469Model Railroad sized structures! Steam to diesel era. Your welcome.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h43m45s167Pentrex breaks the monotony, with a music video. It’s about the UP 9000 locomotive. Nebraska is the band. 9000 is the song.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h48m36s795Pretty amazing accomplishment. To obtain this amount of aerial. Not to be critical. If nature doesn’t cooperate, the results would be far less useable. Nearly all the scenes are perfect. Just be sure to appreciate it!

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h53m44s635A snowstorm is encountered. It is an improvement, over the brown fields.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h50m48s094If there is one new item learned with this aerial tour of rural Kansas. Not a burger joint in sight! Better pack a lunch. Lol.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h59m07s830Enter Hugo, Colorado. Desolation.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-20h01m02s283Limon has historical equipment on permanent display.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-20h08m41s937Arrival at Denver is in clear conditions. The city skyline is in the background.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-20h10m01s482Departing Denver, blizzard conditions are on hand the following morning.

vlcsnap-2020-02-15-19h24m07s661The aerial approach makes this show! Rural Kansas in drab November, is not very scenic. The weather is favorable, for the majority of the time. The Big Boy is the star. Expert camerawork makes this program fly. Smartly paced and an interesting script, move this tour along. Pentrex can sure dance! They certainly elevate this one.

While this release doesn’t have the natural, scenic advantages. The aerial videography, makes it a worthy addition, to any Big Boy collection!

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kansas City Diesel Power Review

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Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1996- 2000

Locations: KC, Olathe, Bonner Springs, Holliday, more

Length: 1 hour 52 minutes

Source: David Defendorf

Kansas City is second only to Chicago, for America’s railroad capital. A cornucopia of this era’s railroads pass through this area. This program focuses upon the diesel power. Viewers will not be put to sleep watching unit trains.

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A single silver, factory pressed DVD. These are manufactured at the same facilities, as used by some Hollywood companies. ChapterMenu is numbered. Plentiful, are the on-screen graphics.

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Custom made maps, a CSP standard. Details vary by requirements. Predecessor roads, locating junctions or suburbs. He makes  frequent use of various maps.

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Video quality is excellent. All of it has been digitally restored. The imagery is top shelf.

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Audio is very lively! These trains do sound off. Birds in fields are heard clearly. A few too many crossing bell scenes, but does move on.

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Charles does the narrative. He is much quieter, than usual. So, for those who feel that he talks too much. Here is your show!

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This almost 2 hour show extends beyond Kansas City limits. We visit hotspots and some rural looking places.

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The Bottoms is recognizable, as the old City section of KC. This scene and below, have details for Model Railroaders. Take note!

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Santa Fe Crossing is a classic location. Tower is visible in background. Modified GP7u locomotives, were still in daily service. Not bad, for Electromotive 1953 built diesels.

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Some additional hotspots, such as Olathe, Kansas. Very busy location.

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The Highline Bridge is unusual. An interesting place.

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Soo Line reached Kansas City, as well.

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The setup at Bonner Springs, yields a bunch of close-up trains. Apparently, a Dash 8 is loading too much fuel.

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A Chicago and North Western pair, passes by the camera.

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Kansas City Southern is a railroad that was based here for decades.

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Gateway Western is a relative newcomer.

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Even more action, with Conrail power.

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Norfolk Southern appears, with various trains.

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BNSF brings up different possibilities.

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It is mainly a Western Railroad show. Which brings up the question. What is the railroad that you think of, when Kansas City is mentioned?

vlcsnap-2019-11-29-17h38m07s252Rare find, is this Department of Defense caboose.

Kansas City Diesel Power Review.

Charles certainly delivers on the advertised. A trainload of diesel power! The large assortment of: locomotives, locations and railroads, keep it interesting. Definitive overview of the Kansas City area.

Rating: 5 Stars