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Rio Grande Southern Memories DVD
 5 of 5 (1)

Rio Grande Southern Memories DVD Greg Scholl Video Productions GSVP-057 604435005793
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There are a lot of books out on the Rio Grande Southern but few videos. This rare footage comes from 3 or 4 different photographers. Most is 8mm, but some is 16mm. We begin with a 1947 fantrip over Narrow Gauge country organized by Nolan Black for a California group. We see two days of material on the Rio Grande Southern portion of their trip. We see engine 20 west of Rico, where it is traded for engine 455 for the run to Ridgeway. The following day 455 heads back to Rico where we see 20 about to take-over as our coverage ends. Lots of neat stuff on this two day trip including all the highlight spots like Ophir, and the other icon locations.

There are brief trackside views of engine 41, and a freight with 461 and 464, plus a couple of the geese which is 16mm black and white. The rest of the footage is all color. On one trip we see a freight with 20 and then get some shots of goose 5. The next day one of the group rides number 5 from Rico. There is a charter by 4 railfans of goose number 3 which goes to Telluride, then to Lizard Head. This 1951 trip has a freight with 461 following about a mile or less behind them, making for some interesting action shots. There are plenty of onboard shots on the excursion trains, plus on the goose trips, so you really get a great feel for this remote railroad. There is just enough trackside action to break-up the riding, as they stop for a few runbys, or throw switches. Maps guide you along the way for each segment. Here is a video you won't find anywhere else.

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DVD Item#:GSVP-057
Runtime:49 Mins ($0.55/min)
Producer:Greg Scholl Video Productions
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
DVD UPC:604435005793
Shrink Wrapped?:Yes
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC
Rio Grande Southern Memories DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-09-02 19:19:36.

People who found this review helpful: 2

  •  5 of 5

In this 2014 program, the opening & closing theme song for this was actually reused from Last streamliners through the Rockies in 2007. Once after the opening titles are finished, the late regular GSVP narrator John Edward hingsbergen talks about a brief history of the RGS that was constructed in 1890, & features a map of the entire Railroad. The D&RGW narrow gauge lines are green, While the RGS lines are black. The map zooms out to the entire Rio Grande railroad where the black lines are standard gauge, & The green lines are for narrow gauge. The blue line between Alamosa & Antonio is the dual gauge track for both standard & narrow gauge locomotives. Afterwards, the action begins with black and white films as engines 20 & 41 are shown in Dolores during the '40s. Thankfully these 2 engines are saved. 20 is at the Colorado railroad museum in golden, & 41 is at the ghost town & calico railroad in Knott's berry farm in California. When number 41 was built by Baldwin in 1881, it was originally numbered 409. Meanwhile at Dallas divide, Mikado type locomotives 461 & 464 are on a freight in the winter as they prepare to meet galloping goose motorcar 4. 464 is in the lead while 461 is pushing in the middle. Thankfully, 464 is at the huckleberry railroad in flint Michigan. With the freight gone, the goose 4 heads for ridge way. Moments later, goose 4 stops for goose 5 to clear the line. This film clip concludes the black and white footage by Billie Bowen.

On July 14, 1947, Nolan black traveled from California to visit the Rio Grande for 5 days as he boarded the San Juan from Alamosa while the train later crosses lobato trestle over wolf creek. The next day on July 15, a ride on the Durango to Silverton line is shown as it was led.by 463 on a mixed train. And the following day July 16, Nolan traveled on the Rio Grande southern with riding footage between Durango & hesperus on its route to ridge way. Meanwhile, the engine stops for water at hesperus in milepost 145.6. East of mancos, number 20 is between milepost 129 & 127. Later the engine passes by milepost 121 as it climbs out of the chicken creek drainage, & again at milepost 120. Shortly thereafter, the number 20 rolls through the county road 184 crossing at milepost 119.4 before it was paved in 1976. There are some scenes from the rear of the train as there are flowers & grasses on the tracks. Moments later, the number 20 is along the Dolores river in milepost 95.5, before stopping to pick up some men at milepost 95. The train continues to Ridgeway as it passes by some horses, approaching the highway at red cliffs between mileposts 88 & 87, and stops for a crew & locomotive change in Rico at milepost 66.2. Here the number 20 carries caboose 0404 as it heads for the siding. With the 10 wheeler gone, 455 carries caboose 0403 as it couples up to the train for the continuous run to Ridgeway. In 1943, the 455 was wrecked from a runaway at Dallas divide. During the rebuild, the cab from one of the since been scrapped standard gauge locomotives was installed on 455. Out of Rico, 455 passes by the loading chute between mile markers 66 & 65, rolling above the river between milepost markers 65 & 64 before entering burns canyon, crossing over bridge 58A meadow creek trestle at milepost 57.1, bridge 57B Gallagher trestles over the Dolores river, and crosses the lower Gallagher trestle at milepost 56.5 before crossing bridge 57A at upper Gallagher trestle. The RGS has many bridges between Durango & Ridgeway. At milepost 49, 455 is along trout creek as it approaches the namesake water tower for not only a photo runby, but also for a meet with goose 5. With 455 stopped, the galloping goose leaves the siding. A long pan of the Rocky mountains are shown before the riding footage resumes as 455 crosses the loop & bridges & ophir. A map of the ophir loop is shown as the red lines are for the bridges. Another runby was made at one of the bridges: high bridge 45A as 455 departs ophir. Back onboard once again, the bridges of the ophir highline are now above 455. The following day July 17, 1947, it's time for the return trip to Durango, as 455 crosses over bridge 22A the Leonard trestle east of Placerville as it heads back to Rico. In milepost 30, the train comes to stop so that the workmen are removing the equipment from the track. Moments later, 455 is at bilk in milepost 34.4, before we see goose 5 once again as it heads for Ridgeway. With the motorcar gone, 455 is underway again. Back at the lower portions of the ophir loop, the engine is stopped as the camera pans to the higher portions of the loop. Between ophir & trout creek, 455 has encountered a flock of sheep at matterhorn. West of lizard head, 455 crosses over bridge 57A once again, followed by an engine & caboose swap in Rico as the 10 wheeler taking the passengers back to Durango. This scene concludes the July 1947 films.

Moving on to Ridgeway at milepost Zero where it connects with the D&RGW Montrose line, goose 4 passes by some freight cars. This was filmed in either 1948 or 1949 as the galloping goose was heading for lizard head. From the front side of the goose Between milepost 5 & 7.5, there are wooden ties alongside the track, as well as lots of sheep on the line before it crosses the ophir loop & bridges 46D, E, & F. Back in the cab of the goose, it crosses over bridge 45A at milepost 45. Bridge 45B is at the ophir loop. At the high line, between milepost markers 45 & 46, goose 4 crosses over Bridges 45A to F. Lizard head is at the summit 10,250 feet near milepost 52.2 as the goose enters the snowshed. Once at the West portal of the snow shed, the motor car has been turned on the wye, & all too soon, the ride comes to a close as it arrives back in Placerville.

At the 20 minute mark of this program, goose 6 is West of Dolores at lost canyon. This scene was filmed in 1949 by Jack Alexander. Moments later, 10 wheeler 20 is seen once again as it follows behind on a freight. At last the 10 wheeler arrives at Dolores from Durango. The Dolores depot is located at milepost 102.3. Here the number 20 will do some switching around the yard. Like the 10 wheeler itself, caboose 0404 is also on display at golden West of downtown Denver. A brief ride is shown while passing by the San Juan national forest sign, before we see goose 5 once again as it heads west. After Turning on the wye, the galloping goose goes backwards to get a well deserved rest as the sun is starting to set. Early the next morning, number 20 is at Dolores depot near the coal pit. For the rest of the segment, the still image montage song from Norfolk & Western steam freights in 2004 was used, beginning with the water tower & section house at stoner creek in milepost 87.4. At Rico, goose 5 stops for freight being unloaded as it heads for Ridgeway. A still image from the top of the boxcars are shown, before we resume our cab ride through burns canyon while negotiating the S curve & crossing over the namesake trestle which includes a tumbleweed Rolling. The highway 145 crossing is located next to bridge 58A at meadow creek trestle. Winter came to Colorado as the galloping goose crosses the lower Gallagher trestle before passing by lizard head pass. Once again, we're back at milepost 52.2 as the goose enters the snowshed, then we're on the ground as The cameraman films goose 5 leaving the east end of the snow shed before we're back onboard as goose 5 descends the pass while heading for trout lake as it swings over the highline, bridges, & passing by the depot at ophir. Bridge 44A is also called the butterfly trestle. A look from bridge 44A is shown before the goose curves around windy point (not the spot between coxo & Cumbres). In no time at all, goose 5 is near Ames & approaches vance junction on the telluride branch. The motorcar passes by the Vance junction depot & small yard. West of Placerville, a runby is shown along the San Miguel river. Back onboard once again, the scenery is still beautiful, before goose 5 passes by the ruins of the mill at milepost 33 in vanadium, as well as getting all of the wheel off the tracks. 2 more runbys were made as goose 5 crosses over the green mountain lodge trestle & bridge 19A known as dead horse gulch east of Placerville. At Dallas divide, goose 5 crosses the crossing While heading for Ridgeway. This scene concludes the goose 5 ride.

Jack Alexander traveled from Pennsylvania to take a cab ride on the Rio Grande tracks of the California Zephyr between Denver & grand junction. Amazingly enough, these are the same tracks where many years later in 1994, Les Jarrett of railway productions (well known faithful partner to Greg) took a cab ride on the California Zephyr West of Denver for its cab ride through the Rockies 3 part set, & Of course America by rail the heartland, but it'll go as far as Glenwood springs. Much of the consists, locomotives, & even the journeys has been changed over the years. One scene shows an eastbound freight in the siding waiting for the Zephyr to pass at milepost 31.2. The east portal of Moffat tunnel is at milepost 50. This scene concludes the vintage cab ride. At grand junction, Russ Arnke was filming the Rio Grande portion of the California Zephyr as F unit 5524 arrives with Jack. These films were recorded in 1951. A still image of Jack & Cliff grandt is shown as the men are in front of goose 3. When regular passenger service on the RGS ended in 1949, the mail run was taken over by trucks. In May of 1950 all of the galloping geese motorcars were used for excursions. Some letters to Jack from E.D. Randow in May of 1951 was shown as well as an advertisement of the goose trip. The trip begins on june 25, 1951, with Jim Cooper as the motor man for goose 3. Here the goose is between Ridgeway & Dallas divide near milepost 13. There is some more cab ride footage until we stopped at milepost 37.8 as Jack throws the switch at Vance junction for the telluride branch. Like number 41, goose 3 is also preserved at Knott's berry farm in California. Moments later, Jack filmed Russ, cliff, & ken Johnson. All 3 men in the front of the galloping goose motor car are visiting from California. Back onboard once again, goose 3 heads for telluride while climbing keystone viaduct. Between mile posts 41, & 42, the goose is approaching the top of the keystone hill grade before approaching it's assigned destination of telluride Colorado as it crosses highway 145. Telluride is at milepost 45.1 as a look around the structures are shown, plus the beautiful scenery once again. On the return trip, the goose passes by the Illium wye down below as well as passing by the damaged tender of engine 19 on keystone hill. The locomotive was wrecked in 1907. Back at Illium wye, goose 3 is being turned around. This scene was filmed by Russel. Like milepost 37.8, Jack does some switch throwing. Returning to the riding footage, the goose goes backwards on the branch between Illium & Vance junctions. Once again, we're back on the mainline as more sheep are shown alongside the rails While the train heads for lizard head. A runby was made at butterfly trestle, as the first scene was from jack, While the second was from Russel. Near ophir, 461 is following behind the goose on a freight as it approaches windy point. We saw 461 in the black & white films with 464 earlier in the program. Meanwhile, the same scenes with 461 at windy point are shown once again, but it's from the angles of Mr. Arnke. With only 10 minutes left into the program, 461 crosses over high bridge 45A. A repeat from Mr. Arnke's angles are seen once again at the same location. Back onboard the goose, we look at near matterhorn, then passing by Mt. Sniffles at trout lake in milepost 48. Between trout lake & lizard head pass, goose 3 crosses over trestle 51A. Mr. Grandt is shooting slides from the rear. Meanwhile, 461 is heading for Rico. The water tower at trout lake is at milepost 49.3. Once the tender is full, 461 gets underway again. A repeat of the film is seen again, but it's from Mr. Arnke. The dismantle of the tracks began in September of 1952, & were finished in July of 1953. At the lizard head pass snowshed, 461 leaves the portal as it hauls wooden boxcars with a caboose on the rear. While the rear of goose 3 is shown in the shed as the steam locomotive heads for Rico.

Before the program comes to a close, a bonus segment from Ken Johnson is shown. While this program was originally released, Ken was the lone survivor of the 1951 trips. Here we enjoy a cab ride on the goose, as it rolls alongside trout lake, passes by the water tower, see a quickie of 461 following behind, ride on the rear of the goose, see 461 leaving the snowshed at lizard head pass, & departs after the crew inspects the boxcars.

While the RGS ended in 1951, most of the galloping geese cars survive with us as well as engines 20, 41, & 464. But at least the legends will live on forever even to this day.

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

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