Big Boy Combo DVD Part 1

BBC1-DVD

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Cheyenne, Sherman Hill

Length: 1 hour 23 minutes

Source: Union Pacific, Pentrex

What we have here. Is an original, vintage Union Pacific program, on Big Boy steam locomotives. A second show. Pentrex made, about the UP Cheyenne Shops. These are paired on a single DVD. Special Collectors’ Edition.

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The Last of the Giants. The original and definitive show, on Big Boy locomotives. Union Pacific produced this program. Hours of film. The 23 minute show is a classic!

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Last of the Giants Volume 2: The Cheyenne Shops. Culled from hours of original film from that old production. Interviews added to augment the Big Boy story.

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A detailed Chapter menu makes life easy.

Pentrex production excellence. No worries.

Broadcast style narrative. Great script.

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The largest steam locomotive in the world! Engineer has seniority too!

Holler up some instructions. Let’s get things on the move… The BIG BOY is here!

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ALCO 4-8-8-4. Over one million pounds.

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Modern UP steam guru Steve Lee adds a wealth, of background knowledge. As do some former Cheyenne shop force employees.

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The time flies as the story is told. Surprising, how much old film exists in the vault. Not only of the Big Boys. Challengers, Turbines and whatever else was nearby at the time of the shoot.

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A 48 stall roundhouse with large support facilities. Thousands of employees needed to keep the steam fleet operational. Learn all about, what it took to keep things running.

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The interior views of the shops are astounding! Those small glimpses that you may have seen. Are complete, and discussed in a fully coherent chapter form.

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That original steam service facility. Had some heavy equipment, to rival anyone. Serious business, for a single railroad.

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Listen carefully to the workforce employed by Cheyenne. A complicated machine. Experts required to maintain.

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Women remained employed by the railroad after World War 2.

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After viewing this program. One can understand the order placements for diesel power. Doesn’t mean that one has to like it.

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#4013 is ready to roll… Diesels…Bah! Not now. The advantage of a film collection!

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Absolutely, a fascinating steam engine to see in operation or learn about.

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Ultra clean clean film presentation by Pentrex.  Perhaps, not the neighborhood laundry in 1956!

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Big Boys put on an awesome display!

Big Boy Last of the Giants combo DVD.

A great pair of Union Pacific steam locomotive shows, to add to anyone’s collection!

Rating: 5 Stars

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Conrail Hot Spots West

Conrail West Cover.indd

Producer: Pentrex

Timeframe: 1996

Locations: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio

Length: 2 hours

Source: Pentrex

Hotspots are where high concentrations of trains can be viewed. Sometimes, a busy section of a mainline.

They are often, trackage crossings. Multiplying opportunities to see trains. Intersecting lines that offer increased variety.

It doesn’t take a mathematician, to realize the benefits for railfans at such locations!

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This show covers: Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Eighteen hotspots are visited.

All the screenshots are not exactly matched to the review progression. The realities of a coherent article and illustrative flow.

Pentrex in house productions maintain high standards of excellence. Everything done correctly. One of the few reliable producers. Frequently, a matter of the subject chosen. Quality is usually a given.

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The unburned fuel is putting on an awesome display, on this General Electric unit!

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Maps are in an abundant supply! Notice, how this enables a smooth flow to the procedings.

A professionally written script. Again, works to keep the program casually rolling along. Balanced with ambient sounds.

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David Drui is the ever present narrator. Broadcast grade announcer. On many of their older releases. That guy!

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Ashtabula, Ohio is the jumping off point. Notice there are additional tracks to provide access to the opposing rails. Just the beginning…

ATVR Bonus..Who pays for the Crossing trackage installation? A. Original Railroad. B. Newer Railroad.

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Answer. B. The newer line is responsible.

The northern Conrail line is featured first. Running compass, East to West. Let’s look at some on the Chicago line first.

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Toledo has a Vickers hot spot. Conrail has plenty of action here. CSX is a main crossover partner. Union Pacific, Chicago & North Western, Grand Trunk with CN and CV units all pass through.

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Indiana has Elkhart, with a CR freight yard. Jake’s Restaurant for railfans. A New York Central museum. Complete with a steam engine on display.

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South Bend offers up freight trains. Transporting cargo or empties, to the massive Chicago classification yards. Clearing Yard and Proviso Yard, for example.

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The above Chicago & North Western SD 40-2,Operation Lifesaver diesel, is doing that task. On it’s path to Proviso Yard, with a mixed freight.

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Hammond is the end of the Chicago line, for this hot spot West tour. Heavy traffic, as one would expect, just outside of Chicago.

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Pentrex has on screen designations for many of the trains. Narrator does explain the fairly simple codes. After a time, most viewers will be able to decipher many Conrail codes.

Amtrak shown, just for variety.

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Southern Conrail line next, for the remainder of the long program.

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Our eastbound return begins at St Elmo, Illinois. Conclusion will be in Alliance, Ohio. Many hot spots visited on the sojourn.

vlcsnap-2019-02-12-15h44m02s092Pentrex fact. An EMD wide cab is no wider than a standard cab. It is the nose!

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Effingham, features Illinois Central at the crossing. A well known spot for years. Nice passenger station there. active Amtrak stop, as well. The Illini is the Amtrak train.

This Union Pacific led train is actually another Conrail move. Looks can be deceiving in this modern era. One almost needs a scorecard to keep on top of the action. Pentrex takes care of it in this show.

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Haley Tower at Terre Haute, IN. An old railroad town. The towerman was busy this morning. Plenty of Conrail and CSX trains.

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Marion still must be the grandaddy of the Ohio hot spots! CSX and Norfolk Southern are still active here. The original tower and station, are still here. Yes, this place still has it going on. Although the tower is no longer in service.

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Quadruple diamonds. Action all the time. What’s not to like at Marion?

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Alliance, OH. is the final spot. Cleveland and Ft. Wayne lines are there.

Eighteen hot spots in this program. Pentrex had their favorite West. My pick would be Marion, Ohio. Although Elkhart ran a close second! What is your favorite Conrail West hot spot?

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Conrail Hot Spots West. End to end, trains filled by, big blue and more. A great Pentrex show. This is one of those, that you will be replaying.

A fun one with: assorted locales, views and of course, the many trains. Conrail Quality.

Rating: 5 Stars

Steam Over Tennessee Pass

Steam Over Tennessee Pass cover

Pentrex

Length: 90 minutes

Time Period: 1997

Locations: Royal Gorge, Soldier Summit, Glenwood Canyon

MSRP: 29.95

 

UP 844 stars in what is now an older excursion video. A three day trip is featured here. Takes place in Colorado during 1997. Denver to Salt Lake City is the route.

Steve Lee is one of the engineers present. He ran the railroad steam program. A trio of Electromotive E8 locomotives run behind the big Northern. Matching passenger cars form a long train. This was rare track age for a passenger special.

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Pentrex employed five camera crews for the trip. The choice of multiple shots results in high quality viewing. The full narrative is informative, though not very engaging. Live sound rounds out the audio. Some very simple maps are useful to envision the route. On-screen graphics contain additional location information.

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Basic maps lack detail. They do illustrate the lines traveled.

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Day 1 begins at Denver Union Station. Favorable weather conditions.

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Day 2 has the best of the scenic locations. Leaving Colorado Springs the train journeys towards Royal Gorge. Salida to Tennessee Pass are on the agenda. Minturn is another renowned area.

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Day 3 is Grand Jct, to Salt Lake City. Soldier Summit is the highlight, as the train crosses Utah.

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Effective intermingling of onboard train camera gives a feel of riding this special.

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One shortcoming is too much distance on some scenic shots. In fairness, the scope of the geography sometimes precludes this. There are too many far views of the train.

The glut of 844 centered shows can make the locations a deciding factor to purchase. Colorado has some spectacular scenery. Fans of 844 should be satisfied with this program.

Rating: 4 Stars

A Quarter Century of Steam

A Quarter Century of Steam25

Diverging Clear Productions

Length: 4 1/2 Hours

Time Period: 1985-2010

Locations: Midwest, East, and more..

Sources: Jensen, McPherson, Redmond, Tom and Kyle Dunn

Producer: Mary McPherson

MSRP: 30.00

Where can you find 65 steam locomotives in a train video? Diverging Clear has just released a pair of DVD’s that are packed with over 4 hours of steam action. Many locomotives are found here. The usual suspects are ever present. Railfans already can guess those examples that were running during those years. Union Pacific, Nickel Plate, Norfolk & Western are the major ones. Frisco, Southern Pacific, Pere Marquette, and Southern are some others.

sr 4501Southern 4501

A small sampling of what you will see in this show . There is much more. Many locomotives no longer are in service. There is plenty of fine cinematography. Kids will love this one.

3985 Union Pacific 3985.

ssw 819bCotton Belt 819

There are rarities to be enjoyed. Viewers will see operating steam power that is no longer in service. Re-lettered locomotives such as former Canadian railroads round out the selection. Special excursions and train museums, are where the trains operate.

black hillsBlack Hills Central encounters a mother deer and doe.

A variety of sizes and classes are here. Diminutive narrow gauge. Large Northerns from UP and Milwaukee Road. Passenger power. Consolidations, Mikados and Shays. Strange looking Chinese steam, on US rails. Articulated, with UP, N&W. Saddle tanker and even a replica of an early 440 steamer.

slsf 1522Frisco 1522 in a stunning scene. Reminds one of classic Emery Gulash. Some engines, like this one are shown very often. Ditto for UP 844, UP 3985, NW 1218.

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Kurt Jensen does minimal narration. Title screens offer the bulk of information. The program is better when Kurt adds more information.

grand canyonGrand Canyon

The show is arranged in chronological order. As one would expect, the quality increases over the timeline. 1985-2010. Editing is smooth. Sometimes, the lower quality is all there is of a rare scene. In that case, it’s better then nothing.

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East Broad Top.

pm 1225Pere Marquette

soo 1003 2007Soo Line

mil 261This scene with Milwaukee Road 261 recalls the spirit of Lionel trains .

261A Quarter Century of Steam: 25 years. The show does contain many steam engines. It fulfills the advertised content. This reviewer does find the program overstays it’s welcome. There is too much repetition of the same engines. After awhile, the proceedings end up an excessive series of runbys. Seems that an hour or more would have served better. if presented as a separate bonus section.

gtw ocOhio Central has a restored Grand Trunk Western and more.

cn 89 strasburgCanadian National 89 is one of several steam engines seen at Strasburg, Pennsylvania.

There are 2 identities of DCP. There is the ‘new and improved’, with tight editing and sharper scripts. There is also the earlier incarnation. That has endless footage and simple narrative. This show falls into the early style.

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It is geared as a basic ‘Best of DCP Steam’. That all being said, this is worthy for the assortment and the rarities. If those are appealing, jump on it!

Rating: 3 Stars

Union Pacific Scrapbook

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Charles Smiley Presents

Length: 1 hour 40 minutes + previews

Time Period: 1950’s- 1996

Locations: Tehachapi Loop, Coast Line, Chicago, Laramie, Cajon Pass, Afton Pass and more…

Sources: Mark Johnson, Gino Pagliaro, Charles Smiley- video. Ten movie film sources.

MSRP: 29.50

Union Pacific Expansion Years is the fitting subtitle for this show. Scrapbook shows feature assorted films from multiple years and locations. A focus on the growth of this railroad includes the fit of additions to UP goals and operations.  Providing action of vintage and modern railroading. Plus, plenty of good old fashioned trainwatching! This release explores Union Pacific in this fashion.

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High quality is a hallmark of Charles Smiley productions. Notice how the diesel sounds are matched to the locomotive. Digital film processing gives fine picture standards.

1955

Featuring highly interesting and informative narration. Charles gives the audience a plethora of historical backgrounds. Passenger service is one of those discussions.

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Perfect scene for model railroaders to recreate in miniature. Charles is an accomplished  model railroader as well. This authentic yard is at Portland, Oregon. Check the ATVR links to visit Charles recreation of Southern Pacific in HO scale!

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Intriguing storyteller, the Rio Grande is one of the show within shows.

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Frequent and varied, multiple custom maps put the routes and locations in perspective. Thorough map coverage has system type maps for roads merged into UP, such as: Southern Pacific, Rio Grande, Missouri Pacific and Chicago Northwestern. Close up maps like Cajon Pass, are another welcome inclusion.

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Chicago was a key gateway, that had been long coveted for a direct connection. While joint CNW-UP power and cabooses could be seen for years in the area. It wasn’t until CNW was absorbed in 1995 … and that is explained in detail.

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tucson

Outside of Tucson, Arizona in the 1990’s.

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Sharp video from 1996 documents trains in the Tehacapi Loop vicinity.

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Classic shot at Tehachapi Loop.

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Unusual locations set this apart from many modern train videos of UP. Exhilarating cinematography, that is far ahead of crossing gate scenes of many others. Afton Canyon is a must see.

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.That 1965 Ford Mustang is a match for the year of this street running local.

Union Pacific Scrapbook is an excellent show for railfans and model railroaders. The vintage portions are a smaller percentage in this release. Get Union Pacific Vintage West first, if you want many classic trains.

Consider this one as a look at Union Pacific in the mid 1990’s. That will be great for those who are seeking double stacks and third generation locomotives. The modern slant is not my particular preference.

Any fan of this contemporary era of railroading, will be very happy with this program.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars