The introduction of steam locomotives revolutionized transportation clear across the North American continent more than a century ago. In the process, it changed our culture and our personal lives forever. It's no wonder that our senses and our emotions are captivated by the enormous size, sound, smell, and visual impressions of these behemoth steam engines.
When you feel the heat from the firebox, and you see and hear steam from the boiler; when you smell the oil and grease; when you hear the bell ring and the whistle blow; when you see and hear the smoke stack blasting clouds of smoke skyward; and then, then when you see the massive driver wheels start to turn, when you experience all of these things, you know undeniably that the locomotive is alive. It is breathing and moving and working to pull its assignment to the final destination.
Massive and mysterious, these powerful locomotives have captured our senses with their sight and sound and smell. We have built notions of nostalgia around our romance with steam engines. We have written poems and songs and stories about them. The wail of the whistle far off in the night, echoing through mountain canyons excites our psyches with visions of a lonesome train passing in the darkness. Imagine the sounds of enormous locomotives blasting smoke skyward, pounding, clanking, and hissing as they struggle to haul their heavy train over mountain passes, through tunnels and snowsheds. Smell the engine's unmistakable air of steam and oil, feel the heat of the firebox firing your emotions as you listen to that train passing through the night.
Now, you can witness all this for yourself. See and hear two famous locomotives climbing over the Sierra Nevada mountains of Northern California. Experience their massive pulling power like nothing you've ever seen. On May 21, 1999, many hundreds of rail fans pulled their cars to the roadside, stopping anywhere they could find a spot with a view of the passing train. All along the line, people stopped what they were doing, waiting for a glimpse of this train. They stood and they stared at the spectacle as, for a moment, the two soot- breathing locomotives pulling their train, stopped the world and transported us back in time for a day. People watched in amazement as the Union Pacific Railroad's Challenger # 3985 and Northern # 844 locomotives journeyed all the way from Cheyenne Wyoming steaming their way over Donner Pass in California.
The purpose of their journey included a rededication of the rebuilt Roseville Rail Yard, recently refurbished with millions of dollars by UP. The locomotives also steamed across country to participate in the Rail Fair 99 at the Sacramento State Railroad Museum. Traveling over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, these locomotive steamed through many of California's famous railroad towns along the main line of the former Southern Pacific/Central Pacific main line over Donner pass. The engines rolled through towns and places like Truckee, Norden, Soda Springs, Cisco, Emigrant Gap, Gold Run, Colfax, Auburn, Rocklin, all the way to Roseville! The Donner Rails camera crews were strategically positioned at over 40 locations along this historic route between Sparks Nevada and Roseville California to catch all the adrenaline-pumping excitement.
The journey for the locomotive crews and engineers was not without risk and unexpected events. Hear their stories in rare interviews, the only interviews given and recorded exclusively by Donner Rails. Get the real story about what happened in Tunnel 41 as told by the engineers.
You can hear it, see it, feel it all in this video "Steam Over Donner" from BA Productions right in your own living room! It's so real and in your face, you can almost smell the steam and oil, you can feel the heat of the firebox! Steam Over Donner is for rail fans who can't get enough! Steam Over Donner goes beyond anything you've ever seen before!
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54 Mins ($0.42/min)
0 Worldwide NTSC
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Steam Over Donner DVD
armchairrailfan on 2009-07-08 22:21:33.
People who found this review helpful: 1
5 of 5
Donner Pass is a very narrow pass across the Sierra Nevada Mountains northeast of Sacramento CA. The climb from the east is very steep, while the climb from the west is less difficult. The Central Pacific Railroad first crossed Donner Pass in 1868 during construction of the first transcontinental railroad. US Route 30, the “Lincoln Highway” first crossed the pass in 1913. Track #2, opened in 1925 a mile south of the original Donner Pass became the only track when the Union Pacific Railroad abandoned and removed Track #1 in 1996.
<p>This video shows UP 4-8-4 #844 and 4-6-6-4 #1385 crossing Donner Pass enroute to Sacramento for Rail Fair 99. The program opens with an explanation of how a superheated steam engine works and other details about operating a double headed steam powered train. There are interviews and music throughout the video leading me to believe that parts of this program was a made for TV documentary.
<p>Aside from the interviews, narration is minimal. Markers are displayed for most locations. Some of the scenes in first few minutes of this video have a pinkish tint. The photography otherwise is of average quality for commercial railfan videos of 10 years ago. The family might appreciate the explanations about the steam engines. The historical significance of 2 big steam engines, one of which has been in continuous active duty, never retired, double heading across Donner Pass makes this a must have for UP steam fans, but for other railfans, maybe, maybe not...
Additional remarks by armchairrailfan: Narration:Just enough. Would kids enjoy this?Maybe. Image quality:A little rough around the edges. DVD Value::Fair. Recommend to others?Not unless they REALLY were interested in the subject matter.
Steam Over Donner DVD
ANDRE on 2009-10-07 04:45:40.
4 of 5
Could show the train more going over Donner Pass. Not much footage of train actually going over Donner Pass.
Additional remarks by ANDRE: Narration:A little bit too much. Would kids enjoy this?Maybe. Image quality:Good. DVD Value::Fair. Recommend to others?Not unless they REALLY were interested in the subject matter.