Rio Grande Steam in the 1960s - Greg Scholl Video Productions 4.5 of 5 (2)
Click to enlargeNote: Cover image may differ from actual product
Travel back in time with us to explore the Denver and Rio Grande Western (Rio Grande) narrow gauge operations between Alamosa, Chama, Durango and Silverton. These expertly shot 16mm films were accumulated by Clarence, Perry, and Jim Becker between 1957 and 1968, with visits being made in 1957, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, and 1968. There is a nice mix of passenger and freight operations in this program. The Beckers first ride the Durango to Silverton Train in 1957, as their introduction to the railroad. As a bonus we see K27 number 464 as the Durango yard engine, switching coaches in what would be its last season of operation on the Rio Grande. In 1961 the Becker brothers made a trip to narrow gauge land, and start by photographing a passenger special from Alamosa, and then west of Chama, photograph a doubleheaded freight toward Chama in the late afternoon, followed by more freight operations. Subsequent visits throughout the sixties brings us a nice variety of Durango activities with some excellent shots north of Rockwood along the spectacular High-Line where the train traverses the ledge high above the Animas River Canyon. There is plenty of freight action, as we see doubleheaders out of Durango up Bocea hill, and headed east toward Chama. There is also a doubleheader seen Westbound between Arboles and Durango. Several runs up the 4% grade from Chama to Cumbres are shown, including more than one run in one day. On one trip the train with rear helper stalls, and the sections have to be split. There is doubleheader action from Alamosa to Antonito, where trains were split, and an engine inserted mid-train for the run west to Cumbres. On one such run from Alamosa we see the first run for engine 492, along with 484, after 492 was repaired from its collision with a huge boulder a month or so earlier near Navajo. This is a fine collection of images, and all on 16mm. Its 85% color, with only one section being black and white, which was due to a processing malfunction. Like 95% of all vintage films, there was no train sounds on the films, so we have added some nice music, and set-up narration about important aspects of the footage. This is the first of several eventual programs that will feature part or all of the Becker films. - Greg Scholl Video Productions
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Joshua Craig Beytien (Dubuque, Iowa) on 2015-07-27 22:53:41.
People who found this review helpful: 1
This movie is nice. Even though there are no sounds at all, it contains music and narration. Either way, Rio Grande Steam Freights is certainly a good film about the hard-working engines of the once-extended narrow gauge empire in America.
Added 2018-08-15 09:26:09 by Steamboy
Got a sad email from Greg. He told me that narrator John Edward Hingsbergen died last November. Pass it on to the Railfans you know.
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2018-07-18 20:04:23.
This 2005 dvd contains various points on the Durango to Silverton line, the already long gone Chama to Durango line, and some action on the Farmington branch which has since been scrapped as well. The music is excellent as well as segment where the film reel is in an all pink tint but Greg was kind to turn this mistake into a more simplistic black and white look. The epilogue was shot by Greg which includes 1994 action on the Durango and Silverton during production of America by rail the heartland, and 1997 action on the cumbres and Toltec which was shown from the chased by a steam train video in 1998.