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Americas Articulated - The Challenger and the A DVD
 5 of 5 (3)

Americas Articulated - The Challenger and the A DVD Goodheart Productions ARTICULATEDS-DVD
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Norfolk & Western 2-6-6-4 No. 1218 is back in retirement and Union Pacific's 4-6-6-4 "Challenger" No. 3985 runs less frequently now. The days of being able to view a couple of America's huge articulated locomotives is not what it was. But the experience of watching these great "double engines" is yours again and again in this comprehensive 82 minute video. This program highlights the break-in runs of both locomotives following restoration in the 1980's. Then you'll see some outstanding scenes of these big engines in action! For example, you'll see the Challenger pull a 143 car American President Lines "stack train" up Archer Hill at track speed! Talk about horsepower! You'll also see double and triple-headers with the N&W's No. 1218. Enjoy cab rides, pacing scenes and plenty of track side runbys in this study of uniquely American steam power.

Running time 82 Minutes

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TVD Price:$ 26.95
List Price:$ 29.95
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Runtime:1 Hour, 22 Mins ($0.33/min)
Producer:Goodheart Productions
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:NO!
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

  • This producer chooses not to shrinkwrap most of their products. All the products we sell are brand new direct from the producer. We never sell used or second-hand products.
  • Some of the covers used from this producer may not properly fit the DVD cases.
Americas Articulated - The Challenger and the A DVD
Nate (Woodlynne, New Jersey) on 2012-08-31 14:50:07.

People who found this review helpful: 6

  •  5 of 5

This is a must have for anyone who likes big steam action or is just a rail fan general. Two of the biggest steam locomotives ever, Union Pacific Challenger 3985 and Norfolk & Western A class 1218 display impressive scenes of steam, smoke, and power hauling excursions and freight trains

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

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Americas Articulated - The Challenger and the A DVD
Nick (Redmond, WA) on 2015-01-27 22:50:24.

People who found this review helpful: 5

  •  5 of 5

This program is definitely better than Mark I Video's "Articulateds 87'", which also features the only 2 contemporary articulated mainline steam locomotives (UP 3985 & N&W 1218).

Pros: Many more excursions for both locomotives, cab rides/pacing for BOTH 3985 and 1218, much longer (82 minutes compared to 57 minutes for "Articulateds 87"), cameo appearances from other steam locomotives (UP 8444, UP 3977, N&W 611, NKP 587, TVRM 610), an extremely rare look at how a steam locomotive gets converted from coal to oil.

Cons: Some important comparisons between the 1218 and 3985 are overlooked. (i.e. 1218 is better than 3985 in terms of boiler pressure, 3985 is better than 1218 in terms of size of firebox grated area) Different video qualities for different time periods.

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

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Americas Articulated - The Challenger and the A DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-05-23 19:48:44.

People who found this review helpful: 1

  •  5 of 5

In this 1998 videotape/2007 DVD, the program starts with the history of the once largest operating steam locomotive in the world: Union Pacific challenger 3985. The 1981 test run, the doubleheader with 844 as 8444 & the 1982 solo steam powered trips were recorded on super 8mm film. On March 25, one of the test runs for 1981, shows the challenger operating a freight train to LaSalle Colorado in the late winter as evident by melting snow. Before that happens, 3985 is taking a spin on the turntable at Cheyenne. During the Cheyenne to LaSalle run, there are 2 cabooses on the rear of this all hopper car consist.

A month later on April 23rd, 3985 is making some preparations for the long journey to The grand opening of the California state railroad museum in old Sacramento. First it couples up to 8444. Then the 2 engines are waiting for the departure signal. West of Cheyenne, the doubleheader is on track 3 in Emkay Wyoming on Sherman hill. During the journey to Sacramento & back, Video rails (since been owned by pentrex), Sunday river productions, & Hopewell productions (since been merged with machines of iron) were also there for the unforgettable mainline steam special for almost 40 years in the making. Next, the doubleheader is still on Sherman hill as they head for Laramie & Rawlins. After a service stop at Rawlins, 8444 & 3985 makes a meet with An eastbound freight. West of here, the doubleheader is still Highballing down the line until it slows down for a meet with another diesel powered freight as it arrives at the first overnight stop in green river. Day 2 of the long journey to Sacramento finds the doubleheader West of green river, and heads for other mountains & terrains along the way. In curvo, a publicity photo was made showing 8444 & 3985 going over a diesel powered freight as the eastbound faces the tunnel, while The steam special is over the bridge. Note the helicopter in the sky. Next stop: Ogden Utah. But first, a runby was made at echo canyon. Afterwards, the doubleheader leaves the twin tunnels & makes a service stop at Ogden. This scene concludes the 1981 chase.

It's 1982 as 3985 is being serviced in Cheyenne as it makes a nice solo run to Pocatello Idaho, & later salt lake city. First we see the coal burning challenger on a half passenger/freight combo as it goes over the bridge across the creek. The date is June 16. West of Hanna, 3985 climbs the grade, then the scenery changes to a green dessert as elk mountain is shown in the background at medicine bow. Like the 1981 test run, Video rails & Sunday river productions were also there for the solo excursions of the locomotive. Day 2 of the run to Utah & Idaho finds 3985 west of green river. 30 miles west of green river, the coal burning challenger is at Grainger Wyoming on the old Oregon short line route. Next, 3985 whistles under the signal bridge, then passes by a local farming elevator. One of the reasons why 3985 is going to Pocatello Idaho, is because of how the railroad must celebrate a century of the actual town itself, as evidence by the billboard. As the coal burning challenger is sitting on display, note the hot air balloon in the background. A look at the display plaque of 3985 is included as well as a mention of 1218 which we will see later. The narrator for good heart productions: Marc Boone, does a brief comparison between the 2 articulated giants in the modern era. Back on The mainline, the challenger is on a trip to mccammon Idaho as it carries 2 domes, 2 boxcars, & a bay window caboose on the rear. One of the presidents for the railroad as well as one of the state's governors are onboard this journey. With the big birthday of the town finished, 3985 heads for salt lake city. Here it goes under the signal at income. At reduced speed, the challenger negotiates a curved trestle between cash junction & Leland. Out of salt lake city, 3985 pulls its first weekend Fan trips for the public with the Wasatch mountains in the background. Still in the morning, 3985 billows black smoke upgrade at drabert. On the return trip to Cheyenne, the coal burning challenger is at echo & Weber canyons. First it leaves the twin bridges, then the rails run right alongside the highway as there are plenty of curves to go through. This horseshoe curve at one of the canyons concludes the 8mm films of 3985 in 1982.

At the 14 minute mark, Still images of the challenger on Sherman hill is shown. Back to the moving footages however, 3985 is on one of the trips over Sherman hill, probably in 1988, but we aren't sure. Throughout it's lifespan of the 1940s, 50s, & 80's the locomotive was an all coal burning locomotive. Unfortunately, due to the cinders ashes and sparks coming out of the engine, there are bushfires all over some parts of the route, as evidenced by the 1982 film clip. In order to get the once largest operating steam locomotive in the world concert from coal to oil, a visit to cody park in North Platte Nebraska was made in October of 1989, as the workmen are removing the oil box out of the tender from sister engine 3977. Thankfully, the silent sister engine to 3985 was converted to an oil burner in 1945 during WWII. A mobile crane is used to remove the oil box on the tender, then it places the part on the flatbed of a semi truck. When the oil tank was built, the price of these heavy pieces of metal was high as $1880. An early snow fall is shown at Cheyenne as the transfer of coal to oil on 3985 begins. First The clamshell crane removes all of the coal on the tender. Next, a scene from inside the Cheyenne roundhouse is shown as a diesel removes the tender from the locomotive, as the process on removing the stoker screw. A tenderless 3985 takes a spin on the turntable despite its not in steam, then the diesel pushes the engine back in the building. On the right of the screen is E unit 951. Next, the grates are removed from the Firebox, then the new wood boards are placed under the oil tank. Slowly but surely, the crane carefully moves the almost $2000 oil tank into the challengers tender. It's already the spring of 1990. Only good heart productions was there for the entire conversion. Almost 30 years later in 2019, big boy 4014 uses the same oil tank during the test run to Nunn Colorado, and also for the doubleheader with 844.

Back to 3985 on the other hand, a new water tender has been installed behind the oil converted challenger as it goes backwards while leaving the Cheyenne shops. Besides good heart, WB video productions, and pentrex was also there for oil converted test run. It's August or September, as 3985 heads to Omaha Nebraska for the river city roundup days. Sitting on the flatbed is 1243 built in 1890. We are east of Cheyenne as 3985 is on a fast but long freight with no diesel helpers in sight. After crossing over the river at Bushnell, it heads for Kimball as it passes by the Vicks grain elevator and point of rocks known as buffalo bend. At lodgepole, the children are really excited to see a steam locomotive for the very first time. Here the challenger takes on water as well as some service. Afterwards, a cab ride with engineer Steve Lee is included. Keep in mind that there are some Back and forth scenes between inside the cab and out on the tracks as 3985 leaves Kimball for its final stop: North Platte Nebraska-the home of the biggest railroad yard in the world: Bailey yard. No more shoveling coal into the firebox on the once largest operating steam locomotive anymore. 3985 is picking up the speed at 60 miles per hour. It's on the westbound line, as it heads east due to track maintenance. One of the photographers of railfan and railroad magazine: Mike Del Veccio, is also enjoying a nice cab ride. Reduced to 40 miles per hour, Steve takes the challenger to the normal track at ogallalla. With the 217 mile run from Cheyenne completed, 3985 arrives at North Platte.

Back on The ground, it's the first day of August 1990 as 3985 pulls forward through Cheyenne yard as it'll soon be coupled up to a doublestack heading east for its biggest test: climbing archer hill without a single diesel helper. There are plenty of grain elevators along the way, as well as some pacing on the highway. As the camera keeps rolling, try to count how many containers there are on the consist while the engine is at 65 mph. A service stop was made in lodge pole, then it makes a nice departure which does include a wheel slip. East of here, the challenger makes a fine show as it rolls down the line. A slow order was made at Sutherland then it highballs at Hershey as North Platte would soon be coming up. Before 3985 arrives, a quartet of MPI diesels leads a covered hopper. It's early morning as 3985 is on a mixed freight while leaving north Platte for Cheyenne. A different whistle is installed on the locomotive. Service was made at Kimball, then 3985 departs with a brown wooden boxcar on display. As we are getting close to Cheyenne, we bid farewell to the once largest operating steam locomotive in the world & also the western region of America.

Going all the way east of the Mississippi river, it's already the spring of 1987 as 1218 is making some test runs out of Birmingham. Besides goodheart, Hopewell, Sunday river, Berkshire productions, & Greg Scholl were also there for the test run of the short lived giant of the east. Today the engine is on display in Roanoke. First, a foggy downpour of 1218 is shown. 8mm film clips of 1218 is shown as it backs up. Next the engine crosses over the trestle. Some days later, 1218 is switching tracks as it heads from Birmingham to Roanoke. Again, this segment uses 8mm films. Plus there are no diesel helpers. Afterwards, 1218 is at a curve in levic. 27 miles away, 1218 crosses another bridge at cooks springs, then it crosses over a bridge at Anniston. Next stop Salisbury north Carolina, followed by Roanoke the following day. The first excursion with 1218 is to Bluefield West Virginia. First it curves at the cliffs, followed by an S curve. Next day finds 1218 east of Roanoke on blue ridge grade. In the afternoon, 1218 is on the westbound trip to Walton as it leaves Montgomery tunnel.

At the end of july, 1218 heads for Roanoke during the 1987 NRHS convention where it'll meet up with 611. The opening trip was to Bluefield. 1218 climbs to Knowles gap. A highlight shows 2 freight trains With 1218. There's plenty of riding footage on 611. After the side by side & doubleheader trips with 611, 1218 would be on a coal train. Cooper WV is one of the most iconic landmarks on the N&W as well as the coaling tower in fort gaye. This scene concludes the 8mm films in 1987.

Back to videotape cameras about 2 years later in 1989, 1218 would not only join 611 for the movement, but also NKP 587 joins the N&W duo on a tripleheader. Greg Scholl & Berkshire productions were also there for the '89 NRHS special. With 611 gone, 587 & 1218 are on a doubleheader.

It's already 1990 as 1218 is being serviced. Here there are some more differences between the 2 engines. On the road again, it's April 29, as 1218 is on a trip from Spartanburg to Spencer: the second restoration site of 611 at the North Carolina transportation museum. First there is a reflection shot over a trestle followed by a scene from the bridge, then 1218 uses the hooter whistle at a bend.

A look in the cab is included for 2 weekends of trips every fall. Like the 3985 segment, there are back & forth scenes in the cab & out on the tracks. The date is October 27th. More comparisons in the cabs of both articulated giants are included. The cab ride on 1218 was also shown in Wide world of steam by duke video in 1994 which is owned by topics since 2011. At Chattanooga, 1218 passes by the Tennessee valley railroad museums grand junction depot as US army 610 makes a welcome meet.

We're back in Roanoke as 1218 makes another trip on September 22, 1990. This time from Roanoke to Lynchburg.

The final segment on 1218 shows the engine making a meet with Norfolk southern diesels at Birmingham. There are lots of incredible fall colored trees as well as a huge amount of pacing. This trip not only concludes the 1990 season for 1218, but also for the program itself.

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

Did you find this review useful?