Steam Around the World The African Archives
Jeffrey Ornstein on 2009-06-07 22:44:30.
This is my favorite of the Steam Around the World Series. The transfer quality, which is a bit rough around the edges as all of the SATW videos are, is acceptable.
That said, this dvd delivers unbelievably rare footage of African steam locomotives, passenger cars, stations, etc., during the decade of the 1960's.
Many countries are covered including South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, The Sudan, Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and others. The East African Railways (EAR) is covered in detail.
The main type of locomotive seen is the Garratt, which was very suited to Africa's geography. I didn't know the variety of this type that existed.
Harry Dodge apparently traveled to some very exotic places. Some of the more interesting images were of the Ethiopian steam locomotives decaying in the yards as well as the primitive and uncomfortable-looking passenger cars of the Sudan. The Sudanese railways closed down shortly after Harry Dodge filmed the line, as they could not deal with the cost and complexities of the diesels that replaced the steam engines.
All in all, if you can overlook the less-than spectacular transfer from tape to DVD, and if you are a real locomotive enthusiast, the images in this video are NOT to be missed! I doubt you will see these trains anywhere else, and in such detail. For the price, you really can't go wrong.
Additional remarks by Jeffrey Ornstein:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? I doubt it.
Image quality: A little rough around the edges.
DVD Value:: Fair.
Recommend to others? Yes.