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Ace of Black Diamonds C&O 614 DVD
 5 of 5 (3)

Ace of Black Diamonds C&O 614 DVD Hopewell Productions HV-614T
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Note: Cover image may differ from actual product

January 1985 was one of the coldest on record, yet all through that month, ex-C&O Greenbrier 4-8-4 No. 614 was pulling 4,000 ton coal trains through the New River Gorge. She was testing for the "Ace 3000" project, which was to have led the resurgence of coal-fired locomotives in this country. The project never came to be, but this video tells you the story of what might have been.

You will thrill to the sight and sound of a big steam engine working a heavy freight train in cold winter weather. You'll ride the cab of this big 4-8-4 with Engineer Ross Rowland. He puts the throttle "on the roof" and you'll hear the crack of her exhaust as the 614 pulls a 4,000 ton coal train up river in the dead of winter in the New River Gorge.

Multiple camera crews and the Hopewell Helicopter capture all the action and stunning imagery of big steam at work in the winter.

55 minutes

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List Price:$ 14.95
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DVD Item#:HV-614T
Runtime:55 Mins ($0.25/min)
Producer:Hopewell Productions
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:Yes
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

  • This producer has been known to change the cover design, so the cover image you see here may differ from the actual product.
Ace of Black Diamonds C&O 614 DVD
conductorjack (Bristol Va) on 2014-08-14 22:55:29.

People who found this review helpful: 9

  •  5 of 5

this was a very informative documentary an very well made

Additional remarks by conductorjack:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Maybe.
Image quality: Excellent!
DVD Value: Excellent Value!
Recommend to others? A "Must Have"!

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Ace of Black Diamonds C&O 614 DVD
Big Jim (Morrisville PA US) on 2016-12-10 07:58:05.

People who found this review helpful: 7

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  •  5 of 5

Another great video from Hopewell Productions! Don't expect crystal-clear quality if you're playing this on a Blu-ray player like I am, considering this video was made in 1985. But the quality of video action in here is tremendous, mixed with just the right amount of narration and information provided, as well as a few "behind the scenes" moments. There is even footage of 614 pulling the Amtrak Cardinal - which I didn't expect to see in here! As an awesome bonus, you get to hear the baritone (and much younger) voice of Fort Wayne RR Historical Society's own Rich Melvin doing the narration. A job very well done to all who put this together a little over 30 years ago!

Additional remarks by Big Jim:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Definitely!
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Excellent Value!
Recommend to others? A "Must Have"!

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Ace of Black Diamonds C&O 614 DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-01-19 09:19:18.

People who found this review helpful: 5

  •  5 of 5

In the Hopewell Productions version of the 614 coal tests in January of 1985 it starts with a look at the engine from a helicopter followed by an interview with engineer Ross Rowland. Afterwards, NIP 765 engineer Rich Melvin talks about the ACE test. On a couple days after new years day 1985, 614 is at Huntington station to pick up some passengers. A map of the route is included. Stock footage from the Phoenix engine in 1980 is shown. Next, photos from the Hagerstown Maryland roundhouse is included, followed by another interview with Ross, and a news conference with Virginia senator John Warner. Chairman & CEO of the chessie system hays Watkins is also there. Outside, there is a party going on. Which includes a jazz band, kids taking a look inside the cab, and the mainstream media. One of the wise ladies smashes the champagne bottle on the front of 614. In no time at all, everyone was onboard, as 614 is getting ready to go. After leaving the depot, 614 passes by some chasers, an orders signal, and a yard tower. The engine is highballing east of hurricane. Next, it negotiates a bend at Charleston. Night falls as 614 arrives in Montgomery. The next day, 614 is at Hinton. A pair of the chessie system SD50s are on a coal train. As the diesels arrive at the east end of the new river gorge line, 614 departs Hinton heading west. Multiple cabooses and a burro crane are in the background as 614 makes a nice going away shot. With the 2 day passenger special completed, 614 is getting ready for her real tests: multiple loaded and empty coal trains beginning on January 4th. Here it backs up to get its first freight at Huntington, then it leaves the yard, and crosses over the Guyandotte river bridge. Note the wheelslip in the going away shot. Moments later, some cab footage is included as Ross tugs down on the whistle cord. Back outside, Amtraks cardinal is at Charleston. It's led by an F40, one baggage car, 7 coaches, and a private car on the rear. 614 follows the cardinal behind. More helicopter footage is shown as 614 is at the new river gorge, and Kanawha falls. Another shot of the cab is shown. Afterwards, 614 is approaching the pedestrian bridge at cotton hill. Next, A brief stop was made as snow was not only falling from the sky, but the engine makes a nice departure at Hindsford crossing. The cardinal is seen again. This time it's at the hawk's next overlook park. As it takes some slow orders while crossing the bridge, and negotiating A bend in the going away shot. 614 follows behind, as snow is still falling from the sky, and whistles for the bridge over the river. Not to mention making a meet with A westbound diesel powered coal train which is led by 8295 pulling empties alone. Back at Montgomery, 614 is hauling empties, then it highballs through the yard. More cab scenes are shown, as 614 departs Charleston. Back outside, the engine whistles for The bend. Afterwards it continues to highball straight. More snow is still falling from the sky, as 614 goes under the 29th street bridge at Huntington. Back in the same spot where the cardinal was filmed in Charleston, 614 departs the state capitol a couple weeks later. More helicopter footage is shown as the engine is back in The gorge, as well as some more cab action. The arch bridge on U.S. Highway 19 is the tallest arch span in the world. Back on the ground, the mining town of Thurmond is shown. While this is located in deep in the middle nowhere, the town itself still uses the Amtrak cardinal depot, which is the second least used Amtrak station in history. Some more cab scenes are shown as 614 whistles through the ghost town. At CW cabin, A story of Allegheny 1642 in June of 1953 during the explosion is heard. The cardinal passes by the junction, as 614 is following behind. With the cardinal gone, the locomotive switches tracks. In Hinton, 614 is taking a spin at the turntable. Which was last used by 765 a year later in October of 1986. The turntable itself has since been removed and replaced with a wye track. On the return trip, 614 is passing by the Amtrak cardinal depot at Prince as it enters stretchers neck tunnel. This is the only tunnel on the new river gorge line. Next, the engine is at chelyan. More cab scenes are shown. A quick pacing sequence is shown, and it's back in the cab again. 614 whistles at a bend, then it whistles for the crossing. In no time at all, 614 whistles by the yard. On the second to last day of January 1985 (January 30), the cardinal makes a meet with A freight in Huntington. It's led by F40 345. 614 is coupled up to the cardinal, and heads down the line for speed tests. In the closing credits, 614 is being serviced.

Epilogue: after the price of oil has been dramatically dropped, the ACE plan has since been scrapped. For railfans however, it's very epic to see 614 back on the rails one last time. 11 years later in 1996, 614 operated special trips on the new jersey transit until 1998. Today the engine is still standing silent once again.

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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