614 Coal Trains - C&O DVD Train Video
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The coal trains powered by 614 in January of 1985 was one of more dramatic steam events of several decades in our opinion. It had all the elements: Big steam with a 4-8-4; Engine running on its home rails in C&O territory; cold winter action; regularly scheduled trains 6 days per week; a purpose to test steam capabilities; and steam pulling real revenue freight. At first we made two trips to chase coal trains from Huntington, and those two runs were great, but taxing on us since we made roundtrips from Ohio which made for nearly 450-500 mile days and not much sleep. Finally three of us including my wife Kathi went down for a 4-day stint and captured 2 runs in each direction. Exhaust plumes went skyward in the cold winter air, and sounds of 614 radiated off the canyon walls at places like Hawks Nest. We even got a shot passing the depot at Thurmond deep in the gorge far from the main highways. This video is mostly hand-held, with our first video camera. Thus it is first generation equipment and must be considered "Early video". There is more zooming and so forth that should have been done, but there is quality content here. In 1980 Railfan and Railroad reviewed our show along with some others and said ours had the "Best feel for the railroad". To me thats what its all about!!! There are some shots with a tripod, when stills were taken generally, and on a few of them we move the camera a few times making a few less than stellar jitters. This was later rectified with better tripods and eventually more professional cameras. So now you know that the quality could be considered marginal, but the action is simply non-replaceable. When will we ever see anything like this again? Probably never!!!
In addition to the runbys, we also see turning on the Huntington wye before the first trip, and after a westbound run it returns to the shed it was kept in. The next morning the engine is stuck inside as the metal door jams in bad position and welders are called in to torch it off at the top. We captured that as well as the engine being pried out by crew members using bars to clear appliances on the engine. We also got a nice dose of snow two mornings after sleeping at Hawks Nest Lodge overnight. Seeing a 90 car train of empty hoppers snaking across the New River is a spectacular few will ever see with steam powering the train. This show was originally released in 1985, and was our first U.S.
video on VHS. A few months earlier we had done the South Africa Videos. Like the South Africa videos they 614 Coal Trains was not narrated and had crude editing. So in 2011 we have re-edited the show with narration, and titles as well as included as much extra footage as we could from the original tape. As many of you know early VHS tape has difficulty at times with green and reds, and in our current dvd we attempted to take out as much as we could to eliminate flaring that was so common with these cameras. This procedure could not have been done easily say 10 years ago, so waiting until now probably has improved the final product in some fashion. The last time this show was offered on VHS, many years ago, it was 60 minutes. Now it is a bit longer, as we try to get you your monies worth. However, we feel no matter what the cost some of these things shot 25-30 years ago are like the credit card commercial....priceless!!! We know the video quality is not perfect, but then you can't go out and see this again can you!!! Its still a great show to enjoy!
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Tom B (Xenia Ohio) on 2012-04-07 21:56:14.
People who found this review helpful: 1
A little grainy, some flairing, overall good DVD. Very informative! Will lead to future purchases.
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2016-07-22 20:27:29.
This 2011 DVD Features 614 on a Special Month Long Coal Train Throughout January 1985. Also This Was one Of Greg's First Videotapes Ever Made During The Early Years Of His Video Business. Yes I Know The Panasonic Supertube Era was Floppy & Lousy Back Then. But over 25 years later, Greg Tried His Best To not Only Re-edit The Old School Program, But also Color Corrected the Picture Quality, And marks the final Chapter of his 614 trilogy.