44 Years of Union Pacifics 8444 - Updated DVD4 of 5 (1)
Experience the complete story of 844/8444, the longtime pride of the Union Pacific Railroad. Relive 44 years of action with the only steam locomotive never to be retired. Witness the famous FEF-3 class Northern, a high-steppin' 4-8-4, in passenger and freight service. Enjoy decades of excursion runs. Thrill to 8444's triumphant return from the World's Fair in New Orleans. See the 1990s "new" 8444 in beautiful two-tone gray paint.
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44 Years of Union Pacifics 8444 - Updated DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2019-04-24 19:02:37.
People who found this review helpful: 7
In this now over 30 year old program from 1988 or 1989, it starts with a montage of the unretired northern itself, as well as some films of 844�s sister Engines. After the title card, a clip of one of the big boys are shown, as well as more films of 844�s sister engines in regular service. Not to mention some clips from the 1981 10 minute film which was shown at the opening and closing credits of the show that introduced us Americans to the little blue tank engine we all know and love for 30 years. Throughout the introduction, history of the actual northern is included, as well as more films which were later shown in the classic collectors series. The year is 1958 or 1959 as 844 doubleheads with one of the since been scrapped challenger 3820. Note the power in the background. Next more vintage films of the end of steam are shown as 844�s sister Engine 833 is still rusty but thankfully it has been put on display at Ogden Utah, then comes a really long line of dead challengers waiting to be scrapped in September of 1959. These 2 clips were later shown in Greg Scholl�s big boys and challengers from 2008, but with some sad depressing guitar music playing in the background. Next 844 backs out of the Cheyenne roundhouse tender first to the turntable and taken for a spin on it in 1960. Afterwards 844 needs some service, and then backs up to collect it�s train. These scenes were later shown in Greg�s 2013 DVD: 844 the early years, but with music playing over these silent films. 844 makes some runbys at Lynch, the Harriman coal chutes, and a stop for service at Laramie. In Rawlins, 844 must be turned on the wye for the return to Cheyenne. Some diesel helpers are shown. In 1962 due to the debut of the GP30 diesels, 844 was renumbered to 8444 until late May and early June of 1989. In the weaver and echo canyons of Utah, the engine is returning to Ogden for the pacific railroad society. Next 8444 performs a photo runby after stopping in wasach. The engine leaves Edison and continues to Cheyenne. In some scene transitions, listen carefully for the interesting synthesizer sound. When major repairs have to be made, 8444 must go to Omaha. While collecting a one coach special, the tender is derailed. Afterwards, 2 Diesels are used to move the engine from Omaha to council bluffs Iowa. Even though this is one of the unretired northern�s shortest passenger consists it�ll still have some interesting runbys for a lucky group of people. Afterwards 8444 made every run with just the locomotive itself. No diesel helper, no water car, no coaches, no freight not even a caboose hop. A vintage brochure of the railroad with 2 semaphore signals are shown and throughout the early 60s, 8444 made special runs from both Denver and Cheyenne, which includes some organized runs by the NRHS, the Rocky Mountain railroad club, and of course the actual railroad itself. In 1966, 8444 operated on a special passenger run in Oregon. In order to get to the northwest, the engine was placed on freight trains, as 8444 hauls 2 Geeps and 68 cars with a caboose. Some pacing is included as well. After the Oregon trips, 8444 returns to Cheyenne. On the first leg of the trip, the engine must go to hinkle carrying the streamlined era F9s and 108 freight cars with a caboose. On one scene, the engine passes by interstate 80. Like the westbound chase, there is some eastbound pacing as well. The following day, 8444 leaves Hinkle heading for Nampa Idaho with another train that has 2 different Diesels. On one scene 8444 meets a waiting freight. Another brochure is shown, this time for the timetables with a streamlined passenger diesel and a steam powered freight on the cover. Next 8444 returns to Wyoming as it crosses the south platte bridge. As always throughout the 60s, 8444 powers 2 trips per year out of Denver and Cheyenne with the 3 groups. One of the Grand events of American railroading history was on May 10, 1969 as the golden spike in promontory Utah was celebrating its centennial year. Some vintage photos of the 1869 construction crew are shown. As 8444 leaves Cheyenne after using the turntable, a turbine passes by the northern. Then 8444 rolls her special train to Ogden. The celebration is underway as the re-enactment of the golden spike is performed followed by some equipment on display, which includes the debut of the brand new centennial unit 6900. With the ceremony finished, 8444 heads home to Cheyenne. Note that most of the scenes during the 100th birthday of the spike is in blue tint for some reason. At the transition of the 60s into the 70s, 8444 steams with multiple excursions in and around Wyoming. Wying the northern at Laramie can be a difficult task. Due to the sharpest curves on the wye causing the tender wheels to derail, 8444 must pull the train tender first to the Sherman wye. If only we had more trips with giant steam stars pulling trains tender first on fast mainlines. Even the big boys. At last 8444 is facing the opposite direction at Sherman, as it heads for home. Not all excursions had to run backwards out of Laramie into Sherman hill. A 2 second shot of the locomotive�s name is shown, then 8444 leaves the turntable as it continues to pull special trains throughout the decade of disco songs. On one of the final scheduled Union Pacific passenger trains: #18 the Portland rose, 8444 takes the train to Denver. Then a repeat of the 2 second name comes out. Next doubleheaders with diesels and steam are sometimes used in powering Amtrak in modern passenger service. The Amtrak units are formerly Union Pacific units. 8444 sometimes helps the new San Francisco Zephyr. The second repeat of the 2 second scene is shown. Throughout the 70s, 8444 powered various excursions and trains in Colorado and Wyoming. On some trips, the northern itself powers some specials in the snow. With some heavy snow on the ground, 8444 has a mechanical problem with the piston valves. Back at the Cheyenne roundhouse and turntable, 8444 says farewell to the 70s. The first 30 minutes of the program show various silent 16mm films with dubbed audio of the actual northern itself, while on the second half hour of the program, it was known as the huge upgrade for home movie use, as handheld video cassette cameras with built in microphones were making their actual debut in retail stores which most of them have since been bankrupt. One of the most noteworthy examples is that in 1981, the California state railroad museum was having a grand opening week from May 2-10. In order to get to Sacramento, 8444 must doublehead for the first time since the very end of regular steam operations in 1959. Who�s the helper engine to Sacramento? Well it�s none other than the debut of the newly restored challenger 3985 that is still a coal burner before its 1990 oil conversion to avoid making brush fires. Of course some of the scenes of the 8444/3985 doubleheader was shown in VR�s very first program: Union Pacific Steam �81. Note the Railfair 81 logo with 8444 and SP daylight 4449 on the front. Not to mention the headon shot of the 4-4-0. 1981 was also not only 4449�s special journey to California from Portland, but it�s also the daylight�s 40th birthday, and it marked for the first time since 1977 that the streamlined 4-8-4 operated on mainline service before the rebuild for preparations of the trip to New Orleans for the 1984 world�s fair. Speaking of the worlds�s fair, 8444 also heads to New Orleans for its own special train called the rivers of steel. The fair was held mostly all year long from May 12-November 11. The fair was over in mid November, as 8444 begins its long journey home to Cheyenne starting with a trip to Houston texas. 8444 left Cheyenne for the fair in early March as only Greg Scholl was there for his very first videotape recorded camera which he used only in 1984 & 85. Due to the lousy picture quality on the camera, Greg refuses to release the lost pilot of the northern due to picture quality, and also in some scenes, they have subtitles. The video rails version in November had an excellent best picture quality themed video camera. On the first day to its return home, 8444 is pulling a baggage car where the engine�s tools are stored, 6 boxcars and a bay window caboose. After dropping the freight off, 8444 couples to its coaches as it rolls through Louisiana and into Texas. Some wobbly pacing of the northern is included. On one scene, a Goodyear blimp is racing with 8444. In 1987, after many years of being painted in black, the engine was switched to the two tone gray scheme with yellow lettering. Pentrex was also there for its own 8444 in 1987 video which is yet to be made on dvd. The northern itself looks great pulling freight no matter if it�s painted in black or gray. A cab ride behind engineer Steve Lee is included. After this program was released, the engine itself made more trips on the entire up steam program. In 1989 it heads to Los Angeles for the 50th anniversary of union station, then northwest to Portland, then home to Cheyenne to have its original identity back due to the diesel�s retirement. In 1990 the northern made 2 trips, one was the NRHS convention in St. Louis, the other for the 100th birthday of president Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1991 it returns to Sacramento with an oil converted 3985, but it was also the final year the engine was operating in the 2 tone gray paint. The locomotive was put on rebuilding mode from 1992-1995, and it returned to the rails in 1996 with its original black paint put on. 844 made various trips in the late 90s until its boiler explosion while on display at the California state railroad museum�s railfair 1999. The locomotive was out of service again and like the 1992-1995 trips, only 3985 did the honors of operating the specials while 844 was in pieces yet again, until it returns again in 2004 or 2005, this time with more than 10 year boiler tubes and flues. In 2013, the locomotive removed her red mars light due to the failure of the bolts holding the light into place. The engine was rebuilt in 2014 & 2015 and returned to operational condition in 2016. The 2018 season was not only the final year of the frontier days train, but it came to a painful end when 844 killed a female bystander with its front cowcatcher. All the passengers onboard the train must be bused home to Denver for a full refund, as diesels took over the specials to Cheyenne, while 844 must stay at Denver for a couple of days as it only returned to Cheyenne with a freight. At this conversion of this dvd in 2019, 844 would soon be doubleheading with newly restored big boy 4014. This is the first time 844 doubleheads with another engine from Cheyenne since the 2005 frontier days special. While this was the third pentrex program to be made on blu ray, it is the second one to have a program from video rails. Like 8444 rides again, this program was narrated by Rodney Hunter.