"2839 A Royal Farewell-Part 1" Features the first weekend of operations from Alexandria to Atlanta over some 600 miles of Southern Railway mainline trackage. We see everything from the engine stalling on grades, and operation of the booster to get started, plus some fast running with this 8 coach train. The engine looks superb still in Canadian Pacific Livery, as it heads toward Birmingham where it will be "Southernized" slightly for the next two years under the lease. We have great coverage of the first two days, including some nice pacing scenes on day 2 west of Salisbury. In May of 1979 we enjoy trips from Cincinnati to Danville on the Southern's northern end of the railroad. An FP7 is behind the Hudson to assist on this trip which we chase. Included is a trackside view of High Bridge, and other good scenes along this good trackage. After these trips we see a one-way deadhead move from Cincinnati that is headed to Louisville. This is Memorial Day weekend and a cold day brings clear skies and great steam effects, and no diesel helper for this trip that made several passenger stops. The great sound of 2839's exhaust, and mellow Southern PS4 whistle make this engine one of our favorite excursion engines. All footage was originally Super 8 Sound, and has been professionally transferred for the best possible quality. This engine ran in 1980 and is now stuffed and mounted at a car museum in Sylmar, California.
The Second video (Part 2) continues the 1979 season and 1980 trips for this lovely former Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 on Southern Railway excursions. First is a rare mileage " Independence Limited" operated by the Roanoke Chapter NRHS. This trip originated in Lexington, Kentucky, and traveled the Chesapeake and Ohio to Ashland, Ky, a line that is long since been torn out. There is no diesel for this as we cover 3 of the 4 days of this special. Day 2 finds the train running from Ashland down the Big Sandy Subdivision of the C&O to Elkhorn City, where the old Clinchfield Railroad begins. We then see some shots on the Clinchfield as it travels through portions of Virginia, and Tennessee. Day 3 begins south of Johnson City, and we follow it as far as Newport, Tennessee. There is a great variety of scenes here and unusual trackage for this engine to cover. Next we head back to Lexington in June of 1980 for two days of trips. The first day is unusual in that the engine makes two runs to Danville in one day. We ride the first one in the morning, and get some views off the train crossing High Bridge, and the nice stack talk as it climbs out of the Kentucky River Valley toward Burgin. In the afternoon, we make some nice trackside shots as 2839 again runs from Lexington to Danville. On the following day, 2839 makes a roundtrip from Lexington further south to Oneida, Tennessee into portions of the "Rat Hole". This trip had a Southern Diesel behind the 2839 due to the longer train and more grades necessitating more power.
We catch a few nice scenes including upgrade at Kings Mountain, and some fast running a couple of times. There was a "Farewell to 2839" two-day excursion operated from Atlanta to Alexandra retracing its original run in reverse from March of 1979. This last weekend was November 29-30 of 1980 and it was clear and cold that late in the fall season. A 12 coach train without diesel was a sight to see and hear as 2839 put on a great show with several start-ups, and scenic locations along this Southern Mainline. The engine never operated on mainline excursions after this weekend, and only operated once more on a tourist operation before being sold several years later to the museum where it resides today. This was perhaps the fastest, pure passenger engine operated by Southern during its years of steam excursions. You will love the sights and great stack talk of this engine for years to come.
Along with the 2101 story at the same year (2012), Part 1 of 2839's short-lived excursion career was one of the very first GSVP programs to be shot in the 1970's with on-location sound. Of course who doesn't love Canadian Steam in America? After all, the Royal Hudson such as 2839 & 2860 were one of Greg's all-time favorite Locomotives. Not only that but Southern F-unit 6133 from the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer is also shown as well. Some films from Newton Rositer is also included during the history of the engine in part 1.
In part 2, 2839 operates on the 1979 independence limited starting with the now abandoned Lexington to Ashland Kentucky line on America's 203rd birthday which was the Fourth of July 1979. During a photo run by east of Mt. Sterling, the farmer's cows were startled and distracted by the engine's chugging effect as it picks up the passengers. 2 diesels help the engine at a step 2.66% grade. The following day July 5, Amtrak's Westbound Cardinal makes an appearance at Clyffeside KY. The F40PH units on Amtrak are sadly a thing of the past, as well as the paint scheme on that train. However 2839 operates the southbound journey from Ashland to Johnson City, TN on both C&O as well as the Clinchfield railroad. Today both of the fallen flags are still owned by CSX. Throughout the chase for day 2, Greg and the boys would have to encounter tight obstacles such as Small tunnel near BU cabin north of Paintsville for example. Some young men were shown in the program such as Ken Stewart making sandwiches for the boys. One of my favorite scenes in this program, is when 2839 rumbles through Sykes mill tunnel at Rush, VA as it is now on clinchfield tracks whistling out of the tunnel, and exiting Perkins & entering Rhinehart at Clincho. Plus the abandoned coal mine at Trammel. On day 3 of the chase, 2839 heads for Asheville, NC. Greg and the boys would film the limited as far as Newport, TN. The final 2 scenes of the engine's 1979 season would be whistling at Douglas Lake near Leadvale, as well as street running in Newport as local residents witnessed the smoking giant rolling slowly. As the 1970s transforms into the 1980s, 2839 operates on the Short Lexington to Danville trips on Saturday June 21, 1980. Greg was onboard the first round trip to Danville, and did some trackside chases on the second run. Eventually the high bridge was interesting, as well as 2839 pulling the short trips tender first. The engine would operate alone with no help from the water car and/or a diesel. Speaking of tender first a couple scenes inside the open air observation car was also included. The following Sunday June 22, 1980, 2839 would have to operate on the all day journey from Lexington to Oneida KY through the Rathole. One highlight in this trip, was at the location of the hot spot of burnside bridge. For Railfans sometimes you win when the regular freight stops to let the steam special go by, and sometimes you lose when the freight blocked the view of the special as only smoke coming out of the funnel is shown as well as the sounds of the locomotive. All good things must come to an end even for 2 short years as 2839 operates the farewell trips from Birmingham (Greg starts chasing east of Atlanta), to Alexandria, VA not far from our nation's capital. The map in the background was a zoomed in image from 3 out of 4 America by rail Videos. Once the long one way journey is finished, it is indeed a royal farewell for a CP Hudson. This one as well as part one will not only become one of your favorite GSVP programs, but it'll take you back in time to what Greg shot before his soon to be 35 year old business was formed.
Additional remarks by Steamboy: Narration:Just enough. Would kids enjoy this?Yes. Image quality:Good. DVD Value::Fair. Recommend to others?A "Must Have"!