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Rio Grande of the Rockies DVD

4 of 5 (1)
Rio Grande of the Rockies DVD WB Video Productions WB015
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In the mid 50's motive power on the Denver & Rio Grande Western consisted of a fascinating mixture of huge standard gauge steam engines, first generation diesels and narrow gauge steam engines...some built before the turn of the century. With his love of the steam engine, Irving E. August documented these glory days on the D&RGW in high quality 16mm color film. Mr. August donated these rare films to the ROCKY MOUNTAIN RAILROAD CLUB and by special arrangement, WB Video is honored to make these unique images available to all.

In this program, you will experience the massive Standard Gauge 3600 2-8-8-2's blasting up fabled Tennessee Pass, see workhorse F-9 diesel power assist 3600's up to the Moffat Tunnel and witness the legendary California Zephyr with PA diesels.

Narrow Gauge operations include long two-engine gondola trains on the Monarch Branch with its unique switchback. K-27 #453, K-28 #473 and K-37 #497 are seen in the Durango yard and the "Silverton Mixed" leaves with 3 coaches, a caboose and business cars B-2 and B-7...still in Pullman Green paint. Near Montrose #318, a diminutive 2-8-0 hurries by with a freight and at Gunnison, #268 is just in from the last run on the Sapinero Branch. K-36 #487 plows through deep snow with a flanger-ore train from Gunnison to Crested Butte. Then you are on board the last train over Marshall Pass with #483 and #489.

Irv August narrates his own story of those wonderful days on the D&RGW.

60 minutes

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DVD Item#:WB015
Runtime:1 Hour, 00 Mins ($0.45/min)
Producer:WB Video Productions
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:NO!
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

ITEM NOTES REGARDING THIS PRODUCER
  • This producer has been known to change the cover design, so the cover image you see here may differ from the actual product.

Rio Grande of the Rockies DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-09-03 20:14:53.

  •  4 of 5


In this recently turned 35 year old program from 1985, it starts with a look at a still image of General William Jackson Palmer, as well as a still image of 4-4-0 american type locomotives doubleheading. The films began with 2-8-8-2 number 3603 pushing on the rear in black and white. Then cuts to more still images. Afterwards, the color films show a steam powered freight making a meet with the diesel followed by 2-8-0 number 268 in the bumblebee scheme, another 2-8-8-2 pushing on the rear, & a ride on the top of the tender.

Once the opening titles are finished, we begin this trip on the since been gone Tennessee pass line as an F unit leads a freight while a 2-8-8-2 pushes in the middle, & another 2-8-8-2 pushing on the rear as it leaves the tunnel & negotiates the bend in September of 1950 at minturn heading east. Afterwards, a troop train heading west at the summit of the pass while leaving the tunnel. This train is led by F unit 5511. On the return to minturn, a light doubleheader is shown with 3602 & 3612 first at the reverse S curve, then we see the since been scrapped articulated giants going under the highway bridge at red cliff. Arriving back at minturn, 3612 takes a spin on the turntable, & heads for the roundhouse while class M67 4-8-2 number 1523 goes back on the turntable, & passes by the coal tower, then filled the tender with coal. A black and white reel features 2-8-8-2 number 3601 on a short freight as it carries only 2 open door boxcars & a caboose. This was filmed in 1954 as evidenced by the F units on a freight train in the following scene on August 15 at Mitchell Colorado. 3603 is in the middle, While sister engine 3610 pushes on the rear. Moments later, we caught up with the same freight again as it negotiates the S curve while 3603 creates a smoke show for the chasers as 3610 continues to push on the rear. Returning to the color films & also to minturn, a trio of the 3600 series 2-8-8-2s are on a freight. One is in the lead, one is in the middle, & One is on the rear. Afterwards, we caught up with the same train once again as it climbs over Tennessee pass. The following scene shows the same train in the background as The filmmakers are recording from an empty siding, then we see a quickie of a 2-8-8-2 leaving the tunnel after pushing on the rear. In the spring of 1951, train number 2 the royal gorge is shown heading east for leadville. At tabernash Colorado, 3612 is running light in October of 1956 as it couples up to the rear of the freight while heading for the West side of the Moffat tunnel. The standard gauge lines of the Rio Grande were almost 100% diesel when these films were recorded. Moments later, the eastbound freight makes a meet with a westbound freight that is also led by F units. Miles before entering the 7 mile long tunnel, 3612 continues to push the freight before we head back to tabernash as the 2-8-8-2 prepares to be in the middle for the climb to the continental divide and also for the Moffat tunnel. Some pacing of 3612 is included. Steam was 100% gone for scrap on the Rio Grande standard gauge on the day after Christmas 1956, except for 2-8-0 number 106. At milepost 12, winter came to Colorado as more F units pushing on the middle of the freight between Denver & The east portal of the Moffat tunnel in February of 1951. The California Zephyr follows behind the freight as it is pulled by Alco FPA4s. South of Littleton, a southbound freight is led by 3614. Following behind the 3614, is another M67 class 4-8-2 that is running light. This scene concludes the standard gauge lines on the Rio Grande.

Moving on to the narrow gauge as 483 arrives with a freight in the monarch branch While wearing a pilot snowplow, then we see 481 up front with 489 on the rear. More wooden ties are piled up as we see 481 & 489 once again, then we see 481 passing by some empty cars as well as rolling through the crossing. Looking down on the 1925 Baldwin built mikados, we're near limestone Colorado. Once at limestone, 481 carries the first half of the train as it reversed on the lower switchback, & switched directions on the upper switchback. 489 follows behind as a motorcar is on the lower part of the lower switchback. Once recoupled on the top switchback, the train continues on the third division. At last 489 was removed so that 481 could go backwards on the upper track while having some slipping issues as it heads for the coal tipple. A cab ride on one of the 2 engines is shown as 489 heads for Maysville after performing a flying switch. 489 ran light & switched directions while 481 follows behind as they took turns on the switchback. Arriving at Maysville, 481 & 489 are turned around as the train heads for the mine. Nowadays, 481 is on the Durango & Silverton, While 489 is on the Chama to Antonio line on the Cumbres & Toltec. In the early winter, 486 heads for the mine on the third division while wearing a pilot snowplow. South of Salida, we're at the Barron coal station as the limestone is being transferred to the standard gauge track. In 1956 we see 489 pushing the work train with only the caboose up front at ponca junction. The flatbeds are loaded with standard gauge ties. Meanwhile, 453 carries a freight tender first at Durango in June of 1951. At the same time, 473 & 495 are getting ready for work. 473 is wearing the unique bumblebee scheme as it leaves the yard area with 495 on a doubleheader for preparations of the San Juan express. Next we see 478 doing some back and forth movement for the preparations to Silverton, then we get some trackside views as 478 heads for Silverton with locations at Hermosa, Rockwood, & The animas river just like it did in the present days of the D&S. A motorcar follows behind. Leaving the Silverton line behind, it's still the same day as 318 leads a freight. The locomotive has since been restored to operating condition in 2007. At the Gunnison branch, 268 is leading a mixed train in September of 1954, moments later, 268 does some service around the yard before being stored for the night. Returning to the winter season, a caboose ride on a freight is shown in February of 1952 on the Marshall pass line to Gunnison. The men enjoyed a nice ride in a warm caboose on a really frigid cold day as the temperature is 20 under zero while arriving at Gunnison, then it continued on the third division as the station & rolling stock are snowed under. Our train stops as 487 is going backwards without the pilot plow upfront. Once removing the freight cars, 487 pushes the train on the rear as the entire town itself is still snowed under. Meanwhile, the flanger is pushing snow on the return trip as it was filmed from the top of the tender from 487. Back at Gunnison, the sun is out and the deer is racing. The brief look at the wye concludes the 1952 films. It's May of 1955 as 483 is operating its final climb on Marshall pass. 489 follows behind in Salida while assembling the train for the climb up the pass. There is onboard footage from behind the tender as the train makes its final battle on the third division before all of the narrow gauge were operated on the 4th division only between Alamosa & Durango. The work men are servicing the locomotives while a cab ride is shown. With tenders loaded with water, 483 & 489 continued the climb for the last time on the Marshall pass line. At one time, Marshall pass had the highest post office in America. The train enters the snowshed before we see 483 being turned on the wye at sergeant. Meanwhile, 489 performs a flying switch with 2 cabooses. Once coupled up, there is some service to be made before steam was gone on the since been ripped up Marshall pass line for the very last time. From here to the summit of the pass, a caboose ride is included. Note the bulldozer on a flatbed behind 483. Nowadays, the 2 engines that operates the last freight on the third division and the Marshall pass line are on the Cumbres & Toltec as 489 is in operating condition while 483 is still in pieces.

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

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