4960 Steam Star of the Grand Canyon Railway DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-07-03 20:37:18.
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In this 1996 videotape/2005 DVD, the program starts with 3 scenes of Lake superior & ishpeming 2-8-0 number 18 built by Alco in 1910 that have since been sold to the Rio Grande scenic railroad in Alamosa Colorado. First The consolidation blows the SP 6 chime whistle with 3 coaches at sunset, another day with 4 coaches, & another day with 6 coaches & former Santa Fe blue unit 2072 on the rear. During the title card, 4960 makes a head on shot to the camera crew as it used the peanut sized whistle while carrying 8 coaches as it heads for the canyon. In the Williams shops, the preparations of 4960 began at 4:30 which is hours before the sun comes up, then as the clock stroke 7:00 AM, 4960 runs light while heading backwards to not only collect the coaches for the day long trip to the national park & back, but also for the tank car with extra water. Once coupled up, 4960 backs its train into the Williams depot. The Williams station is right next to the Santa Fe mainline which serves not only busy freights, but also Amtrak's southwest chief. With all the passengers onboard, the clock strikes at 9:30 meaning that it's all aboard time for 4960 to leave. During the departure, another locomotive is on display at the depot while 4960 makes a blowdown effect. Some cab ride footages are included as 4960 goes under the Santa Fe mainline. The wooden trestle is at milepost 4. Afterwards, 4960 crosses another bridge at red lake. Then it rolls through the desert at Miller's wash with the mountains in the background which includes a cab ride, & more blow down effects that zig zags back & forth. Back in the cab, an interview with the fireman is included as well as an interview with engineer Bob Franzen who was also the Chief mechanical officer on the railroad itself. Afterwards, 4960 is at milepost 46 from the ground, while another interview with the engineer is included. Back on the ground, the locomotive is approaching the 3% grade outside coconino canyon near milepost 47.9 with the shadows of the mountains in the background. Once again, we are back in the cab as engineer Bob is holding his hand on the throttle. On one scene from the cab roof, note the water drops on the lens. At last, 4960 is approaching the national park yard limits at a slow speed while passing the wye. While the locomotive arrives at the destination, another camera crew zooms out as it shows the actual canyon itself. With perfect timing, 4960 arrives at the log built depot which was built by the Santa Fe. While the passengers are enjoying their 3 hour visit, 4960 & it's coaches must be turned on the wye. With the national canyon in the background, the locomotive backs into the depot with a wheel slip. Once the coaches are turned around, 4960 must be uncoupled from the train & heads for the siding for service. With service finished, 4960 backs up, couples to the coaches & heads back to Williams at 3:15. Back on the roof of the cab, 4960 is at coconino canyon, followed by a ground level shot. Moments later, 4960 is at a cattle ranch in valley, then it highballs down the line with the peanut whistle blowing in one scene. After the rebuild of 4960 in 1996, many railfans thought that the locomotive looks nearly identical from Frisco 1522 when you look at a distance shot of the Burlington Mikado. As the clock stroke 5:30 PM, the regular day trip comes to a close as 4960 arrives back in Williams.
Moving Onto the vintage films of 4960 in the CB&Q years, the locomotive is at aurora Illinois on an excursion in the 60s. 4960 was also one of the steam stars to pull the Baraboo to Milwaukee Wisconsin circus train.
Back to the present day, engineer Franzen talks about the differences on 4960's parts with a side by side scene comparison of 4960 in the 60s & also during its restoration in 1996. For example, the domes & the tunnel were lowered 3 to 6 inches during the restoration. As evidenced by a cab ride during 4960's CB&Q years in the 60s it was a coal burner but during the restoration, it was converted to oil. Also during the restoration of 4960, the original tender from the CB&Q days have to be removed from the 3 axle trucks due to the huge amount of rust spreading all over the tender as well as no longer holding all of the water like it did in regular steam service. A new tender for 4960 have to be purchased. The original tender in the cb&q days uses 10,000 gallons of water while the new tender can hold up to 18,000 gallons of water.
With the comparison parts of the restoration finished, we are at the Williams shops as a flashback to May of 1996 is shown with a test fire of 4960 out of the shops. 2 months later in July, the tender was joined in, the cab was installed, & in no time at all the test run begins with 4960 rolling out of the shops as she slowly crawls for a blowdown. Note the workmen on top of the tender. After throwing the switch, 4960 backs up for its break in movements, then it switches directions again with more speed & a whistle show. As 4960 backs into the Williams depot, Bob Franzen inspects the checklist. Over the next several days, 4960 makes some more test runs, & On one day, 4960 carries a tank car with water, an Amtrak dome, & an observation car on the rear. It's always important to detect the problems on an early restored steam locomotive before the inaugural run. On another day of the test runs, a regular grand canyon open window coach was added to the test train. During the departure after an inspection stop, note the wheel slip as 4960 climbs uphill. On another inspection stop, engineer Franzen is checking the axle bearings, then the locomotive highballs up & down on a hill as it approaches the camera crew head on. Also along the way, the original peanut sized whistle must be activated. On another test run, 4960 uses the tank car for water, & also a trio of regular grand canyon railway coaches. Moments later, a lightning storm was in the area as 4960 bravely moves under evil skies, which includes a hail storm. Not only does the locomotive highball under evil skies, but the farmer's Cows are looking for shelter.
With the test runs finished, there is a party going on at Williams depot on July 27, 1996. USA flags and balloons are on the station building itself, the local media interviews with the crew & visitors to the railroad, & of course, all systems are all clear for the inaugural run of 4960. During the press conference next to number 20 that is standing silent, the railroad president Marshall Bryant makes a speech on the return of 4960 as well as Bob Franzen taking the speech. During Bob's speech, listen carefully for the RS5T horns on the Santa Fe freight. He also mentioned thar The rebuild got started in July of 1993. Owner of the grand canyon railway max beagert also makes a speech. While the owner makes a speech, a scene of number 18 carrying 2 tank cars over a bridge was shown. With the speech finished, the owner helps his daughter for the christening as they break the champagne bottle on the front bar. Afterwards, Bob took his young son for a tour inside the noisy cab of the locomotive, then the crew gathers up front of 4960 for a group photo. With everyone onboard as the clock stroke 9:30, the inaugural run gets underway as former VIA rail alco FPA-4s numbers 6773 & 6793 (once on the Potomac eagle in West Virginia) are between the restored Mikado & the coaches. Note the generator car between the coaches & the 2 cars on the rear with VIP guests. As 4960 whistles at a bend, all the passengers makes a friendly wave to trackside chasers. With perfect timing, 4960 arrives at coconino canyon & heads for the main grand canyon station for the very first time.
Back at Williams on October 5 1996 during railfan weekend, the since been discontinued American orient express makes a meet with the restored locomotive. The AOE is pulled by Amtrak genesis unit 824 & B40-8W Pepsi can unit 509 which is one of the common diesels on the coast starlight. With the American orient express our of the way, 4960 makes a first runby of the day at the wooden trestle in milepost 4. Then it whistles at a second runby location. On the third runby, it whistles at an S curve with the mountains in the background. The fourth runby of the northbound chase shows the 6 car special in the desert. With everyone off the train, 4960 makes a 5th runby with a wheel slip at the start. Then it makes a 6th runby of the day at the same location. The 7th runby shows the engine in the desert, while On the 8th photo runby of the day on the 3% grade near milepost 47.9, 4960 is having some traction troubles, but it's all under control. On the 9th runby of the day as 4960 is near willaha, note the sounds of the helicopters off screen. In the siding at willaha, the regular train with the Alcos heads for the grand canyon station first. At sunset, 4960 makes another runby. For the last runby of the October 5 1996 special, number 18 is joined in for a doubleheader with 4960. During the doubleheader runby note the wheel slip on both engines. The following Sunday October 6, 4960 is on a 2 coach train as it prepares for a rare over & under photo near the Santa Fe mainline. As 4960 whistles at the bridge, a doublestack with a trio of warbonets goes over the restored locomotive.
Before the closing credits, 4960 hauls a 6 car train with a tank car full of water as it heads for the canyon itself. In a statement from the late trains magazine editor David P. Morgan, he quoted that 4960 is the great teacher that hauls school children in the CB&Q years. On another day, 4960 highballs without the tank car as it carries 5 coaches while the wind is still blasting on the microphone, then it is on the coconino canyon limits with 8 coaches & later on a different trip with the tank car added, but it has 6 coaches. On a different day, the locomotive is carrying 6 coaches without the tank car. Later on a different day, it whistles by the lake with 5 coaches. At sunset, 4960 is making a head on shot for the crew as it negotiates a bend, then it carries more coaches in a different sunset evening, followed by a nice going away scene as the locomotive arrives back at Williams while the credits roll.
The grand canyon railway is one of the most iconic standard gauge steam railroads of the American west. Many years after this program was released, only 4960 is operated on special occasions while diesels power the regular trips. In the closing credits, Mike Del Vecchio & Mike eagleson from Railfan magazine & Mark 1 video were one of the several camera crewmembers for this program. Also on the credits, the information details on the next railfan weekend in October of 1997 was shown which initially enough, pentrex & herron rail video were also there as well.
Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Yes.
Image quality: Excellent!
DVD Value:: Fair.
Recommend to others? Definitely.