Blue Ridge Productions is still selling a great railfan video called Mountain Thunder. This 52 minute video follows the Western Maryland Scenic's Baldwin Consolidation 2-8-0, Engine 734, as the 1916 vintage steamer charges up the face of the Allegheny Mountains.
This is no quiet run across a few miles of almost level track. No, Mountain Thunder fights her way up grades as steep as 2.8% pulling 1930 vintage steel passenger cars. The noise generated by this strong little steam engine reverberates off the hills and valleys surrounding Cumberland and Frostburg, Maryland. Add to that a deep throated whistle off an original Western Maryland Baldwin H1 and you have the unforgettable sound of mountain railroading.
This video follows the Western Maryland Scenic track so faithfully you may get a better view of the trip than when riding the train. Blue Ridge Production's crews climbed Will's Mountain for spectacular shots of Mountain Thunder running through a 900 foot deep slash through the mountain called "The Narrows." They followed the train around famous Helmstetter's Curve and through Brush Tunnel, which pierces a spine of Piney Mountain. Our crews shot from the train as well as from trackside. We covered two more horseshoe curves and followed the tracks above Mt. Savage Maryland giving viewers an intimate look at what passenger railroading used to be in the Allegheny Mountains.
Blue Ridge Productions carefully researched the railroads that once ran on these tracks. We weren't satisfied with simply describing the action, but bring you historic information about the area and its railroads. We carefully fitted this narration around the wonderful sounds created by the train.
We shot our footage on broadcast quality BetacamSP. We recorded superb stereo sound and completed our post production on digital broadcast materials. Then we duplicated from Digital Betacam masters providing viewers with the highest quality duplicates available.
Coal Rides Again
"Coal Rides Again on the Western Maryland" covers an unusual event on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad.
When was the last time you saw a string of coal cars pulled up the face of the Allegheny Mountains by a vintage steam engine? On an delightfully beautiful Summer day in July of 1997, an unusual event occurred on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad. Folks around Cumberland and Frostburg Maryland couldn't remember when they had seen the sights they saw that day. Why there was "Mountain Thunder" their 1916 vintage steam engine pulling coal cars up the Allegheny Mountains once more.
A fellow named Carl Franz had come to run a "Photographer's Special" on the old tracks that had once existed to move coal from mines high in the mountains down to the valleys below. Somehow the folks at WMSR found 9 coal cars to hook between their steam engine and caboose. For the hours between 8 am and 6 PM that day you could actually see a coal train climbing the rails between Cumberland and Frostburg.
As the train crew got into the swing of things, they found they enjoyed making smoke and noises for the 80 photographers on the trip. All this resulted in some wonderfully recorded sounds echoing off the mountains and sights of steam railroading charging up the hills. In all, they managed to shoot nearly 32 runbys that day.
There is a sequence early in the video that is truly worth buying the tape. We covered Kevin Rice, engineer "hostling the Baldwin Consolidation H-1"to bring her up to steam for the event. This rarely seen event helps explain the complexities of steam railroading.
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1 Hour, 42 Mins
Blue Ridge Productions
No, but security sealed
0 Worldwide NTSC
ITEM NOTES REGARDING THIS PRODUCER
Most of the DVDs from this producer are not shrink-wrapped, but they do include a security seal either on the top or all three sides of the case.
STEAMBOY (Revere beach Massachusetts) on 2014-11-25 13:40:41.
People who found this review helpful: 3
5 of 5
Over the years, I had almost each and every steam railroad videotape and dvd in my collection. But this one however? It is obviously my most favorite program. It is been burned in my brain after watching these 2 shows on a combo dvd hour after hour. So what are you waiting for? Go visit the WMSR and See the only chance of riding or chasing 734 in action! After the end of next year, the Mountain Thunder(734's Nickname) will be a thing of the past. As the Youngest articulated C&O 2-6-6-4 #1309 will pull the regular passenger trips. One thing I'm concerned however, will the engine be too big to fit on the turntable in frostburg?
Additional remarks by STEAMBOY: Narration:Could have used more. Would kids enjoy this?Yes. Image quality:Good. DVD Value:Good Value Recommend to others?A "Must Have"!