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Midwest Challenger - Union Pacific 3985 DVD
 5 of 5 (1)

Midwest Challenger - Union Pacific 3985 DVD Highball Productions 3985W
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Union Pacific's Challenger 3985, the biggest operating steam engine in the world on a U.P. special between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Saint Paul, Minnestota in September, 2008. You'll see this impressive, massive locomotive storming Archer Hill, along the triple track, a spirited departure from North Platte, and along the rails towards Saint Paul. 60+ minutes

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DVD Item#:3985W
Runtime:1 Hour, 17 Mins ($0.16/min)
Producer:Highball Productions
Aspect Ratio:Wide Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:NO!
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC
Midwest Challenger - Union Pacific 3985 DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-03-17 20:25:15.

People who found this review helpful: 1

  •  5 of 5

In the highball productions version of the September 2008 coverage of the once largest operating steam locomotive in the world that was sadly replaced by big boy 4014, it starts with camera operator Peter Crooke talking about the challenger's journey to the twin cities and also the history of 3985. A comment from Crew member Lyndon Nystrom is included. Listen to some kids offscreen. Lyndon does a tour of the cab as well. Look carefully for some people in the background as Lyndon talks about the controls of the Driver's side of the challenger. With a tour of the detailed and labeled cab completed, it's back outside once again, as 3985 has already left Cheyenne, climbing over archer hill with centennial unit 6936 between the water tenders and the consist. Next we see the challenger at Pine Bluffs as the tail of a westbound hopper train is in the background. As 3985 approaches, look carefully for 6936 bouncing up and down. Moments later, the challenger and the centennial unit have crossed the state line into Nebraska, as it passes by one of The grain elevators at Dix. Afterwards, it passes by a stranger at Potter Nebraska. Listen carefully for the sound of the highway and the wind. A repeat of the same scene is shown, but it's from a different camera operator as it's only a few feet away from the previous scene. Next we see 3985 & 6936 at milepost 417. At Sidney, there is service on the challenger. Look carefully for the missing 9 on the challenger's number board throughout the trip. With service complete, 3985 makes a slow departure, then it picks up speed. East of Sidney, the challenger and the centennial unit are whistling for the crossing at an unidentified location. At lodge pole, 3985 is taking slow orders and crawls to a stop for a red signal, then it turns green as the challenger whistles off. East of here, 3985 & 6936 are at milepost 374. Again listen for the wind as well as the whistle. Moments later, it crosses the state line into Colorado. At Brule Colorado, 3985 and 6936 are passing by a grain elevator as it approaches milepost 343. Next, the challenger whistles for The crossing at Paxton Colorado as well as the silo towers. As 3985 is east of North Platte, it negotiates a bend on the triple track mainline, as it makes a meet with a westbound coal train in the going away shot. 6936 has been removed from the consist, and the number board on the challenger has been put on. Of course, North Platte is the headquarters to the largest railroad yard in The world: Union Pacific Bailey. At Maxwell, there is a 3 way meet: the steam special, an eastbound freight with 2 units, and a westbound with a helper on the rear. With the freight trains gone for good, 3985 gets the right of way, as a pair of pick up trucks are alongside the rails. A repeat from the previous scene is shown, but it's on the opposite side of the tracks. Further down the line, some kids are offscreen as the challenger whistles by. Not all locations are identified for the Cheyenne to saint Paul trip. Here we see 3985 doing a whistle for the crossing. Some grain elevators are shown as the challenger is at Cozad Nebraska. Note the blue diesel switcher on the right filling covered hoppers with wheat and Grain. As the camera zooms out, a trio of Union Pacific diesels are parked on a siding. The wind is getting wild as 3985 is east of Cozad, as it passes by another grain elevator, then whistles for the crossing as always. At an unidentified location, the challenger is still whistling for another crossing, followed by another one. At Kearney Nebraska, the railroad flag is waving as everyone is waiting for the arrival of 3985. During a close up look at the flag, listen for the horn of a freight. With a perfect stop, the challenger gets some service. Look carefully for one of the crewmembers wearing an 844 hat on the driver's side. With maintenance finished, 3985 does a splendid whistle show for the visitors, as it departs Kearney. East of here, the challenger is at the Hot Spot of Gibbon Nebraska, as not only would 3985 be taking slow orders, but also the sound of the wind is getting louder and louder. Not to mention the signal switching from yellow to red. The wind is still blowing as the challenger is east of Gibbon. Afterwards, 3985 is passing by a local diesel powered freight loading cars with grain, while there is The tail of a mixed freight in the going away shot. Next, the challenger is whistling at a junction east of the previous scene. At central city, 3985 is taking slow orders with a blinking yellow light in the background as it switches to green, plus the challenger does a blow down, crawls to a stop, and resumes it's journey once again. More slow orders are shown as 3985 is east of central city passing by an unprotected 3 track crossing sign, and new signals waiting to be installed. As the tail of the train leaves, look carefully for an NW2. East of here, 3985 is increasing speed but barely. The challenger arrives at Columbus Nebraska as the sun starts to set, and the visitors want an up close look at the locomotive. With maintenance finished, 3985 creates an unforgettable departure. Young and old alike are enjoying themselves well with true entertainment. At Kennard, the challenger negotiates a bend at milepost 359. The next day finds 3985 at Missouri Valley, as some coaches are added to the rear. Here we see the challenger at milepost 328 as it makes a nice departure. East of Missouri Valley, the wind is still blasting as 3985 rolls through The heartland. Moments later, it slowly approaches the photographer as the camera does a quick Zoom out, while the challenger is at medium speed. Note the flickering Firebox. Next, it negotiates a bend at an unidentified location. Afterwards, 3985 whistles for the maintenance crew who are adjusting the ballast. Listen carefully for the car horn in the next scene as the challenger whistles by signal 2879.2. Next, 3985 is alongside the highway as it still whistles by a grain elevator. Look carefully for some tires. As the camera zooms into the next scene look carefully for the solar powered windmills in the background as 3985 billows some black smoke. Afterwards, clouds are hovering overhead as well as the sound of the wind while the challenger is still taking slow orders. Next, we see 3985 along route 30. East of the previous scene, the challenger is highballing. Moments later, 3985 whistles through the silo towers. In Iowa, the challenger is in Boone, which is not far from the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad. Here it makes a meet with a coal train, that had a Southern Pacific unit in the consist, as well as other people talking offscreen. Afterwards, the special approaches the Junction at Nevada Iowa. East of Nevada, 3985 whistles through grassy fields and trees as it continues to head for the twin cities. The sun is starting to poke out as the challenger blows its whistle for another crossing. At Mason City Iowa, 3985 whistles for another crossing. In Manly Iowa, the challenger passes by several freight cars. This is the meeting point where big boy 4014 photographs with the purple diesels as the lead unit has the same number as the southern 2-8-0. East of manly, the challenger crosses over the bridge. The final 5 minutes of this program show 3985 climbing uphill at an unknown location, whistles through various crossings, negotiates a bend at Owatonna Minnesota, and climbs uphill at Medford while heading for the twin cities. This concludes the Highball productions version of 3985 in 2008.

Here's a fun fact: Les Jarrett from Railway Productions was also on the challenger chase in 2008.

Overall, this is a really good look at the once largest operating steam locomotive in the world during its final years of operational service, before being put into storage at the Cheyenne shops, and also restoring a big boy back to life.

Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Could have used more.
Narration CAN be turned off in special features.
Would kids enjoy this? Definitely!
Image quality: Excellent!
DVD Value: Good Value
Recommend to others? Definitely.

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