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California Electric Trilogy DVD
 5 of 5 (1)

California Electric Trilogy DVD Pentrex CAL3-DVD
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Three great California electric system, in the 1950s and '60s. Plus a new bonus to this DVD, "Ride the Pacific Electric to San Bernardino in 1939".

Featuring the Key System; the Sacramento Northern, and the Pacific Electric
The Golden State has been home to many electric railroads. Noted rail photographer John Kirkland captured three of the most interesting operations during the 1950s and '60s. Pentrex has carefully computer enhanced these films, adding appropriate sound and narration to bring you a superb sampling of California's premier electric railroads.

Climb aboard a Key System interurban train at the downtown San Francisco Terminal and stand alongside the motorman as it rolls across the Bay Bridge. Then explore each of Key's five lines, running on city streets and through their own private rights-of-way to Oakland, Piedmont, and Berkeley.

You'll witness two Sacramento Northern railfan excursions, one using interurban passenger equipment and the other pulled by an electric freight locomotive. Then chase a westbound SN freight from Walnut Creek to Oakland, powered by two electric locomotives, one on each end!

In Southern California, Pacific Electric "Blimps" and "Hollywood Cars" wend their way through automobile traffic on city streets and then roar down PE's four-track main line to Watts. Catalina Steamship specials take you right to the docks in Wilmington, and you'll follow regular trains to San Pedro and downtown Long Beach.

For fans of electric railroading, California Electric Trilogy is a must-have video!

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DVD Item#:CAL3-DVD
Runtime:46 Mins ($0.52/min)
Producer:Pentrex
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:Yes
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC
California Electric Trilogy DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-12-20 18:14:04.

People who found this review helpful: 1

  •  5 of 5


In this 20-25 year old program from 1998 that was made in Co-Operation with both the Pacific Locomotive & the Bay Area Electric Railroad Associations Inc, it starts with the San Francisco Key System which includes a look at the Bay Bridge Transit Terminal building, as well as a look at the photo of the area. Inside the Terminal, there are 6 tracks on the upper level. Outside the depot, an articulated set is switching at the south end of the terminal. Meanwhile, a 3 unit set heads for Berkley as it leaves the depot carrying 600 volts of power, followed by a single one as it also leaves the station, as well as a close up look at one of the pick-up shoes on car 167. Next, there is some onboard footage from mostly the rear of the train, but there is also a cab ride as well. Already on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, we're racing with a single trolley, but we're are stopping at Yerba Buena Island Depot to pick up some more passengers, then we are underway once again as we make a meet with both an opposite bound train, & a bus. The buses & other Automobiles go right over us while heading for the other side. Leaving the bridge behind, the train passes the sub-station that supplied power for the third rail. Afterwards, a look at Bridge yard is included which features a workshop, Track switching from third rail to overhead cantenary for eastbound trains, & even some electric freight only locomotives being stored. Back in the cab, the Key System not only goes under highway bridges, but also for the Southern Pacific Mainline as it heads for Oakland. A brief history of the Key System is included as it was formed in 1903 as the San Francisco Oakland & San Jose Railway. The logo was changed to Key System in 1912. Next, a look at the map of the Key System was included. According to the route of the Key System, there are 5 branches in Oakland. The A Branch is for 12th & Oak near Lake Merritt, The B Branch goes to the Underhills in Oakland, The C Branch goes to Oakland Ave in Piedmont where along the way it interchanges with the Sacramento Northern which we'll see later, The E Branch goes to Claremont, & the F Branch goes to Berkley. Once again, we're back in the cab as our train heads for the A Branch while passing by Tower 2 as evidenced by a ground level shot. Near the Main shops, there are Breakdown Cranes near tower 2 waiting for the call for service, then we see a trolley turning at the Louise & pomplar streets. At the Junction for the B Line at Pomplar & 22nd Streets, Note the Wig Wag Crossing Signal on the Northeast corner of the screen. Next, we're at Pomplar & 12th streets, as we are next to the wheat plant that was operated by the Oakland Terminal where 2 boxcars are waiting for their locomotive. In Downtown Oakland, car 156 is crossing at 12th & Broadway. Arriving at the Dead End of 12th & Oak Streets, the Train crawls to a Stop at The State of California Department of Employment. Prior to 1950, the A Branch was extended 5 1/2 miles to Pavenscourt. Returning to the Pomplar & 12th Street Junction, we're now focused on the B Branch as it Leaves the Same tracks from the A Branch. Away from the A Branch, the B Branch of the Key system ran on 22nd street across Broadway with a Bowling alley on the right side of the screen, then it followed Grand Ave. Along the North End of Lake Merritt & continued to a trestle while heading for Underhills Road. Next, car 157 switched directions as it departs the Dead End destination. From here, we moved to the C Branch beginning with a shot from Yerba Buena Ave near tower 2. At the Piedmont transfer station, the train comes to a stop after running on 40th street, Then we moved to the Pleasant Valley Station as another train comes to a stop. The Oakland Ave. Station is the Dead End for the C Branch as car 167 arrives on time before switching directions. On the Return Trip, the train leaves the 40th Street tunnel as it enters Broadway. Next, we see another one at the Intersection of Yerba Buena Ave. & Adellite Street near tower 3, followed by another train crossing the San Pablo Ave where this Branch as well as the E & F Branches crossed. Before we Get to the E Branch, there was the Proposed D Branch to Montclair, but it never went into full service. The tracks are Owned by the Sacramento Northern which we'll see momentarily. Returning to Tower 3, the E & F lines Split away from each other. At the E Branch's Dead end of Domingo Ave, there is an adjacent Tennis Court & Claremont Hotel in the background at Berkley. On the return trip, the train leaves the hotel & enters Claremont Ave, then it Turns to 55th street where a Wig Wag Signal is Activated. Afterwards, we're at the 46th & Linden Streets depot as the E & F Lines Diverge where the F branch heads for Berkley. Back at tower 3, the E Line train is entering the Junction. Moving onto the Last Branch of the Key System known as the F Branch, there are buses taking people to a football game as they're lined up at Shattock Ave. Until 1941, the Tracks north of University Ave, were owned by Southern Pacific. Returning to the cab ride segment once again, the train leaves the North bay tunnel, then we come to a stop at Thousand Oaks station which is not only the Dead End Terminal for the F branch, but there is a swinging gas station sign located across the street. On the return trip, the train is leaving the tunnel as it enters Shattock Ave. In Downtown Berkley, Look Carefully for the abandoned tracks of the SP interurban railway. Once again, we're back at tower 3 as this train heads for San Francisco. Note the Workman Waving a Red Flag. At the Oakland Army Base Depot, the A Line Train Passes by the station as it was adjacent to the Bridge Yard & Toll Collection Plaza. By the Mid-1950s, the A Branch was sadly shortened due to passengers traveling on buses, airplanes, & their own automobiles, as evidenced by these 2 scenes of the streetcars waiting for work and/or gone for scrap. In the Going away shot, look carefully for the Pantograph Deactivating as it transforms into third rail only before heading for the bridge. Soon, we're back in the cab as we make a meet with an opposite bound train to Oakland as well as paralleling the road, then we loop around the elevated structure as we're back at the Main Depot with a few more scenes from the platform as well as inside the Main station. As Mentioned earlier, the ridership on the key system was declined as evidenced by Rails being ripped up after it went out of business in April of 1958. Here we see the rails being removed at 12th street near broadway in Downtown Oakland, as well as scrap being loaded onto Gondolas. While there are to many cars to be stored at bridge yard, most of them have since been scrapped while others have since been on display at the Western Railway Museum, & the Orange Empire Railway Museum. The main terminal was converted from Railway tracks to pavements for buses. As we bid farewell to the Key System. The Key System is the Longest segment is this Program.

Our Next Segment takes us to the Sacramento Northern, beginning with a look at the map of the route from San Francisco to Chico & Downtown Sacramento. The total distance is 186 miles. Passenger service from San Francisco to Chico ended in 1940, & the short branch to Pittsburg ended in 1941. At the Key System Bridge Yard in the west side of Oakland, the SN is having preparations for an excursion in the early 50s. This restored Interurban car is pulling a former Salt Lake & Utah railroad observation car. Leaving the Key system Bridge yard, the special turns into the shafter Ave at 40th street, which does feature some street running along the way. Note the bed sheet covering the front part of the car. Next the special passes by Maraga, as well as passing by some happy & joyful Kids at Lafayette. Afterwards, it comes to a stop at Concord California, then we get one final look at the special as car 1005 picks up orders from the Port Chicago station which interchanges with the Santa Fe. Meanwhile, we moved to another Special on the SN, this time its at Havens California. The train that is led by an electric locomotive is leaving the 3600 foot tunnel at Eastport, Followed by a shot from the Oakland hill. Leaving Walnut Creek, the train is rolling through Concord. The concord station is on the left as the special makes a nice going away shot. Next we see it again at Port Chicago as the crewman picks up orders. After Turning on the Wye at West Pittsburg, a lunch stop was made for the hungry passengers. The same observation car with interurban car 1005 seen earlier, is now on display at the Western Railway Museum. Backing 2 more miles & after lunch, the special heads for the US Steel Mill yard. Returning to Port Chicago, the train parallels the Southern Pacific & Santa Fe. Some views of the SN at Shafter & 40th street yard are shown before we see some freight action, beginning with number 661 leading a westbound at Walnut Creek. Next the same train is stopping at Maraga, followed by a slow order as it approaches the Oakland hills tunnel, then crossing the road at Warren BLVD. At the intersection of Caviar & Shafter Streets, the train climbs the 4% grade as the fog rolls in. This scene concludes the Sacramento Northern.

Leaving the San Francisco Bay Area Behind, we're in downtown Los Angeles as our final railroad takes us to the Pacific Electric & their iconic big red cars. First we're at 6th & main streets as the 1905 station is shown in the background. By the late 1950's there are only 2 routes left for the Pacific electric Via Dominguez junction: Long Beach & San Pedro with a tiny branch to the Catalina Terminal. Leaving the Main depot, a single car heads for the San Pedro Line, while a 4 car consist is on the Watts Local that is following behind. Meanwhile, a 2 car consist heads for Long beach, followed by another 2 car train that is on the Watts local as its crossing Knight & Hooper streets on the original 4 track line while an empty train heads for 6th & main in the background. At the storage track near 9th & hooper streets, the red cars are stored at midday. Afterwards, the Watts local heads for downtown Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the 2 car consist enters the 4 track line with the 8th street freight yard in the background. The Destination is Long beach. Next we see a single car heading south while going under MOPA interlocking. The Long beach limited is meeting the watts local at the Whittier tower. Next a southbound 3 car long beach limited goes over firestone BLVD, followed by a 2 car San Pedro bound Lash up. The Quadruple tracks end at Watts tower, where the Redondo Beach line is in the foreground. A 2 car Watts local leaves the line & enters the car house. Meanwhile, car 417 heads for Redondo beach while meeting with car 422. At the Site which was later used as Metro Rail's Blue line, a southbound 2 car train heads for long beach. Meanwhile we moved to Dominguez Junction, as the 2 car train heads for San Pedro. Its led by car 417 but on a different day. At Watson near the oil refinery, car 432 comes to a flag stop. Then we see a 3 car special to the Catalina Steamship in Wilmington, followed by the different boat train at Anaheim BLVD as it heads for the short branch to the harbor. Its led by car 431. At Catalina, there is a welcoming Committee for the passengers on the Big red cars, while car 403 follows behind. As 403 is being serviced a Santa Fe Zebra Striped Alco switcher is seen in the background. Next the Ferry is taking the people to Catalina Island, before we see car 402 heading to San Pedro, & see some automobiles at the west basin line. At San Pedro, a 2 car train arrives as a single car waits for a signal. Next we see car 1403 arriving, before we moved back to Dominguez Junction as a 2 car train heads for Long beach. Afterwards, car 459 crosses Alameda street, then we see another single car as it does some street running at Willow street & American Ave while heading for the beach. A single car turns into Oceanview BLVD, which parallels the beachfront. The Long Beach Line ended at Morgan Ave where we see car 498 at Fairbanks Ave that is waiting for its next job. Today 498 is on Display at the orange Empire railway museum. It was originally numbered 602. Later we see car 455 finishing its work for the day as it is moving into the shop for service. The Workshop Roof was removed in 1942. The program comes to a close as car 451 is having a washdown before it rolls for its next assignment.

All of these films were recorded by Mr. John Kirkland who was also a Scriptwriter, & there is also an add for Early Baldwin Diesels that was also filmed by Mr. Kirkland one for the Southern Pacific, & the other for Mixed roadnames.

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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