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Workin on the Coast Starlight DVD

5 of 5 (1)
Workin on the Coast Starlight DVD Pentrex WCS-DVD 634972955428
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Pentrex joins the crew of the Coast Starlight at Los Angeles Union Station and travels through to Seattle, interviewing engineers, conductors and service personnel along the way. Go behind the scenes to see the support the train and crew receive. The employees know they are on Amtrak’s premier train, with one employee saying “It’s not so much where you go, but how you get there that matters".

The crew and support personnel are the stars of this show. However, the equipment and varied, beautiful scenery is not given short shrift. (42 minutes)

BONUS: A public relations film showing the premier train of the 1950s, the California Zephyr. Put out by the three railroads that ran the CZ, this color film shows how travel in style used to look. Includes a news report from 1970 marking the end of the original CZ train and route. (30 minutes)

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DVD Item#:WCS-DVD
Runtime:1 Hour, 12 Mins ($0.35/min)
Producer:Pentrex
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
DVD UPC:634972955428
Shrink Wrapped?:Yes
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

Workin on the Coast Starlight DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-08-05 20:19:45.

People who found this review helpful: 1

  •  5 of 5


In this main program from 1997 or 1998 which was made by Solana northwest productions, it starts with a ride onboard the coast starlight while a guitar is played as well as some remarks by the crew. The producer of this main feature was John Yeager in the opening credits, followed by Stanley McMeekin for the photographer section. The primary power for the los Angeles to Seattle bound coast starlight was usually the genesis engines, the old F40s, and/or the B32-8W Pepsi can units. Afterwards, an introduction by John is included as he is hosting from the sleeper car, followed by a map of the entire northbound route. The journey begins at LAUPT as the stationmaster does the announcement for the assigned destinations. Outside the platform, F40 number 397 is parked alongside an F59PHI which was used on the capital corridor. The engineer for 397 is Allan Danielle. A cab ride is shown as the diesel goes backwards. A still image of the genesis unit is shown and we are back in the cab for the run alongside the LA river. An interview with Allan is included as the 397 goes over the highway as well as going under the arch bridge in L.A. Which was primarily used for the streetcars. Beyond the downtown area the coast starlight enters the Santa Susanna mountains as it goes into one of the tunnels. For less than an hour, it gained almost 1000 feet in elevation. Before reaching the Pacific ocean, the train rolls through flat farmlands, & small towns with crossings. Allan talks about the controls on the F40. Once after a passenger stop, the coast starlight rolls through green grounds of grass & fields. Another tunnel is shown, and after crossing the bridge, the Pacific ocean is finally here as it rolls through Ventura. More guitar music was played. On one scene note the kite in the sky. Another passenger stop was made in Santa Barbara which is located 100 miles north of los Angeles. With more passengers onboard, more views of the Pacific ocean are shown as we moved to the coaches where conductor Jerry Hodge takes some tickets as well as being interviewed by John. It'll be 104 miles until the train leaves the Pacific ocean before heading for cuesta grade. Everyone is enjoying a marvelous time in the sightseeing lounge car. While the coast starlight with one F40 & 2 genesis negotiates through bends, Garrett swayne sings king of the road while playing his guitar to passengers. Once finished singing, he is being interviewed by John while the coast starlight makes another passenger stop. Some passengers want to sleep in the coach chairs while another cab ride is shown for a brief moment. After the interview, Garrett sings city of New Orleans as the northbound makes a meet with southbound train 11 at the horseshoe curve. The southbound coast starlight will arrive in los Angeles at 6.5 hours. Meanwhile in the parlor car, some California wine as well as some fruit & cheese are being served. Once the passengers get their food, the train highballs up the line through farms, tractors, & fields. Service assistant Jay fountain not only does announce for the next.stops on the list, but also helps out with the baggage. While being interviewed by John, the train goes over the double track girder bridge, as well as more passengers enjoying the scenery from the sightseeing car. At sunset, the coast starlight is at central California while a pickup truck is paced as well as a speedboat at sea. It's also dinnertime on the train as good is being cooked in the dining car. Chef roge talks about what's for dinner in the kitchen. They'll be feeding 200 people in the dining car. A small elevator is used to transfer the food from the kitchen to the main top floor of the superliner coach. The sun is still setting as the train passes by Oakland while night falls as a crescent moon pops out. Oakland is 500 miles north of los Angeles while Seattle is about 926 miles away. Morning finds the coast starlight in the cascade mountains as well as the Mt. Shasta area. Mt. Shasta is at an elevation of 14,380 feet above sea level. The Oregon state line lies ahead as a big rig is carrying logs while a bird picks up a dead snake at the lake. Meanwhile the passengers are waking up for breakfast in the dining car. Waitress Dee Fremont begins her day at 5:00 in the morning, & ends at 10:00 at night. She's making not only coffee for the passengers but also serving food to the passengers as well as being interviewed by John. The sun is still rising as the coast starlight negotiates through the mountainous areas. Meanwhile Bryan of the Klamath county museum & tourist bureau comes onboard as the train crosses the tunnels & through the mountains while heading for Eugene. Again the scenery is beautiful. Back in the cab, an interview with John neederer is shown with assistant crew men Patrick Bennett. Both John & pat worked on The coast starlight between Portland & Klamath falls. Each of the genesis units have 4000 horse power according to Yeager. On one scene, the coast starlight is taking caution while passing by a southbound freight. The entire route was originally southern Pacific property but it's since been purchased by union pacific in 1996. All of a sudden while continuing north to Seattle, there are many times when people refused to obey the rules of railroad safety as a yellow pick up truck touches The lower gate, as well as a man trying to cross the tracks while carrying a bike. These are part of the examples of operation lifesaver. Back on the ground, genesis engine 804 arrives at the station. Still in Oregon, the train is more than a 1000 miles north of southern California. Meanwhile, crew member Mike Muscat arranges a preparation for a passenger's birthday. Mike lives in van Nuys California. While being interviewed by John, the coast starlight passes by Burlington northern 3528 on a freight longhood forward while switching cars. Mike is also a magician as well as creating balloon animals. He also performs on buses, airplanes, boats, & other big machines. In no time at all, the coast starlight arrives in Portland which is not only the city of roses, but also the city of 2 noteworthy mainline steam engines: SP daylight 4449, & SP&S 700. At the station drop off, a vintage white car is shown as the train crosses over the Willamette river with Mt. Hood in the background. Not long after The coast starlight crosses into Washington state, an interview with Jim Kelly is included While the sun is starting to set. Prior to working for Amtrak, Jim was a brakeman in 1969. With Mt. Saint Helens & Mt. Rainier in the background, as well as rolling through pugent sound, the coast starlight arrives at it's final destination of Seattle which is located south of the British Columbia border in Canada. Before the closing credits, there are remarks from the host itself as well as why people always work on The train. In the closing credits, Yeager was not only The producer & The host of this 40 minute video, but also for being a writer. Stanley McMeekin worked as an editor while Garrett swayne did The guitar music for this program.

The bonus company film of the California Zephyr is also interesting as well as a news report for the final run of the Rio Grande Zephyr in April of 1983. A black & white version of the California Zephyr film from the 50s was also shown in various America's railroads collections. On this recent combo DVD, it's 100% color.

Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Definitely!
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Good Value
Recommend to others? Definitely.

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