Imperial Valley Sugar Beet Trains on DVD 4.1 of 5 (7)
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The Ending of An Era
Our journey begins in the lush farmlands of the Imperial Valley, 420 rail miles away from the Holly Sugar Mill at Betteravia. There you"ll watch as sugar beets are harvested, transported to receiving stations, and then loaded into the wooden gondolas, with their friction bearing axles, that made SP"s unit beet trains so unique. The loaded trains of up to 100 steel and wooden cars hauling 10,000 tons of sugar beets depart El Centro, heading toward Taylor Junction in L.A. and along the Coast Line to their destination in the Santa Maria Valley. Helper units are often added for the push over Beaumont Hill, as you"ll see on several of the trains. At Taylor Junction, we"re invited into the cab of SD40 7349 on the point of a 3-unit lashup that includes two SD45s. The cab ride to Guadalupe features tunnels, cuts, and blue Pacific Ocean views as well as meets and passes with intermodal hotshots and Amtrak trains. At the interchange yard in Guadalupe, the Santa Maria Valley Railroad"s new GP-9 arrives to transfer the gondolas to the Holly Sugar Mill. Then we"re treated to a complete tour of the refining process, from unloading to washing, pulping, purifying, drying, and bagging the granulated sugar.
Though the mill has since been partially demolished and SP"s sugar beet trains are a thing of the past, you can still enjoy one of the most interesting railroading stories ever shown, now on DVD from Pentrex!
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Daniel Eltzroth (Dayton, OH) on 2011-03-14 20:10:35.
People who found this review helpful: 3
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Been wanting this DVD for years and I finally got it. Well I must say I really found it to be lacking in just about every way. Unless you're really into the harvesting and processing of Sugar Beets you really should look elsewhere for your SP excitement because this really doesn't have any.
rrvideoman on 2007-09-10 20:56:46.
People who found this review helpful: 2
A very interesting movie. Whether you are a farmer, a tourist, a rail fan, a fan of food production, etc... There is something of interest in this movie.
keith (Los Angeles, CA) on 2010-10-05 13:31:32.
People who found this review helpful: 1
This was a very interesting and well done documentary on the Southern Pacific sugar beet trains. Informative about not only the trains, but the growing of sugar beats, the processing of them, and the processing of the sugar at the mill, this was a very interesting piece. The narration was clear and the video quality was excellent. If you want to know about not only the trains the SP ran but about the produce it hauled and the route it took, this is a very good video to own.
VideoRailsFan on 2010-03-28 13:10:59.
People who found this review helpful: 1
Video Rails was on location once again, this time to document the very last Imperial Valley sugar beet trains. In just one hour, Video Rails presents the entire process. Included are the harvesting of sugar beets, transporting to loading facility by rail and truck, unloading of trucks, and loading into old friction-bearing-axle gondolas. The very last pair of cars loaded with sugar beets are also documented. Even the impromptu ceremony honoring the last car is briefly shown. After that, ground footage as well as cab footage transport you to Betteravia, the Holly Sugar's refinery. Included are gorgeous shots of the Pacific Ocean from the cab as well as footage from inside one of the Chatsworth tunnels. The camera crew went to great lengths to document the very last sugar beet train arriving at Betteravia in the early morning hours. Then, Video Rails takes you through the entire sugar refining process from unloading the beets to packaging the sugar. The wide variety of subjects covered in this program makes it available to many people, from railfans to farmers. I thoroughly enjoy this DVD every time I watch it; every railfan should have this in their collection.
JoshM on 2013-10-30 16:35:13.
This video is heavy on side information about the industry served and associated history. That is why I bought it. There are also a few scenes with classic heavy trucks in action.
Michael (New Zealand) on 2011-09-10 17:35:41.
If you want only train action this DVD is not for you. If like me you are a Southern Pacific fan and are interested in seeing how the sugar beet is harvested, transported and processed then this DVD is for you.
Paul on 2007-07-26 19:16:42.
Wow! This was like an extended How It's Made episode geared towards railroads. I had no idea what a sugar beet was, how it was harvested, how it was transported, and how it was processed...until now.