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The Big A 1218 DVD
 3.5 of 5 (2)

The Big A 1218 DVD Sunday River Productions DVD-NW1218
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The Big 'A' begins with first journey of the last remaining Class A articulated engine, #1218 newly rebuilt in 1987.

Pace 1218's inaugural trip north homeward to Roanoke after two years of reconstruction in Birmingham. Spectacular coverage includes aerials of 1218's first excursions on the Bluefield, Blue Ridge and Christiansburg grades - the only helicopter coverage that we know of the engine's assaults on the Alleghenies. Catch 1218 thundering both eastbound and westbound from Roanoke for magnificent steam action!

In the finale we present Archie Julian's classic: "Battle for the Blue Ridge." Here the monsters of the steam era on the Norfolk and Western attack the Eastern slope of the main line from Bluefield over Christiansburg Hill and across the Blue Ridge. See both the A and Y class engines with the Y's spinning out on the 3% grades to the mine branches and Pacifics, a rare breed on the N&W, double and triple heading. The J class 4-8-4s bust their guts doing 70 MPH on the main line 2% grades. Even shows the 'Jawn Henry', the N&Ws experimental steam turbine in helper service. Feel the energy from the era of authentic working steam.

TVD Price:$ 35.96
List Price:$ 39.95
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DVD Item#:DVD-NW1218
Runtime:1 Hour, 03 Mins ($0.57/min)
Producer:Sunday River Productions
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:NO!
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

  • This producer chooses not to shrinkwrap most of their products. All the products we sell are brand new direct from the producer. We never sell used or second-hand products.
The Big A 1218 DVD
dmacleo (Etna,ME) on 2015-03-11 11:38:41.

People who found this review helpful: 1

  •  2 of 5

could have used more narration, some good shots of the unit running but its mostly just run-bys

Additional remarks by dmacleo:
Narration: Could have used more.
Would kids enjoy this? I doubt it.
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Seemed a little high, but not too bad.
Recommend to others? Not unless they REALLY were interested in the subject matter.

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The Big A 1218 DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2021-02-07 14:37:13.

  •  5 of 5

In The SRP Version of the revival of the short lived Class A 2-6-6-4 itself which operated from April of 1987 to November of 1991 which is still standing silent at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke where 1218 & J Class 4-8-4 611 was built, it starts with a helicopter chase of the Class A itself, followed by a bird's eye view of the N&W shops itself. After the title card, we moved to the Birmingham Alabama shops on April 21, 1987 as retired NS crewmember Bob Claytor smashes the bottle on the cowcatcher, then we are on our way to 1218's real home in Roanoke. Besides the Sunday River Crew, other Producers like Hopewell productions, Berkshire Productions, & even Future famous America By Rail Producer Greg Scholl was there for its innagural run of an articulated locomotive. Away from Birmingham, 1218 crosses over bridges on rivers & highways, then we are back in the sky for a bit while the iconic Hooter whistle was activated. Sometimes the scenes from the ground to the sky could change vice versa along the way. Amazingly enough, there isn't a single diesel helper on 1218's one way train to Roanoke. At Anniston Alabama, 1218 crosses the double track diamond at a slower speed, then after backing onto the other track, An Amtrak Passenger train with F40 number 385 arrives & departs. Underway once again, 1218 crosses over a bridge & enters the Atlanta city limits where again, the hooter whistle is activated as 1218 crosses over a trestle, & under highway bridges. Arriving at Greenville South Carolina, 1218 would be stopped for service as everyone waited for the arrival of an old friend. During the Panning Sequence, Some NS Geeps are in the background. Still heading home to Roanoke, 1218 whistles under the signal bridge, crossed over the Yadkin River during a whistle show once again, & passes by a branch line to the right, before re-joining a brief flight in the sky & on the ground, & vice versa. Of course 1218 would still have to whistle through various unidentified locations along the way.

With the really long 1 way trip finished, the very first excursion with 1218 is underway as it heads to Bluefield where fanfare music is played as 1218 Departs Roanoke. This Entire Journey was filmed by Dave Corbitt. Out of Roanoke, the engine made some wheelslips on wet rails & again, there are no diesel helpers on this special. At an S Curve, 1218 whistles through the crossing, then it is seen from a small valley as the engine itself is working hard, followed by an overhead shot of 1218 on the grade, as it continues west to Bluefield through different tunnels & entering the Narrows with a station filled with some chasers & visitors. Out of the Narrows, 1218 is whistling through the New River itself, Then it parallels the roadway, river, & triple track mainline at Glen Lyn. In a small town, 1218 whistles by some houses & local businesses. Back on the bridge or from a cliff, 1218 is chugging well for a bit as well as a whistle show. At last the Journey was over as 1218 arrives at Bluefield Yard while passing by some storage tracks with Freight Cars. On the return trip, there is a little bit of pacing included, before the Class A itself is negotiating through different bends.

Returning to Roanoke, another Excursion for 1218 was announced. This time it'll be an eastbound journey to Lynchburg. First we see 1218 going backwards as it switched directions & tracks for the preparation of picking up its assigned consist. Underway now, 1218 passes by a long line of covered hoppers, followed by a brief Helicopter ride, & passing by a field of flowers, in nice sunny weather, then the camera cuts back to the helicopter ride as 1218 rolls through Bedford. During the Preservation segment, the Narrator mentioned that 1218 used to be on Display at the Original Steamtown USA in Bellows Falls Vermont until it was heading home to Roanoke in 1970. Meanwhile, the engine itself is still rolling through home rails on a mostly single track line while continuing to Lynchburg as it crosses over trestles, & through the valley. At last more freight is shown as 1218 arrives at Lynchburg. Here the engine would slowly be squeezing through some freight cars & even turning around. On the Return trip, 1218 is whistling well especially if it's being recorded from a helicopter. Back on the ground, 1218 is dodging through some signals, then we are back in the sky as the engine passes by some coaling plants in the region. The trip comes to an End as 1218 arrives back in Roanoke.

On a different day, 1218 is heading west to Walton as it negotiates a bend in the mountains, passing by the depot at Salem, & crossing over & under bridges both big & small. Next, the engine is rolling by a small farm, parallels along the highway, & heads for the Christiansburg grade while whistling through various spots & negotiating through different S curves & passes by cantilever signals. Out of the tunnel, 1218 makes a smoke show, then the engine is operating well as it enters the Montgomery tunnel on Christiansburg grade. Back on the ground 1218 passes by some farm like fields, slowly chugging under the Vickers Coal tower, & enters Walton while passing by a 3 unit mixed freight on an S curve which again, there are more helicopter angles along the way. On the return trip, the engine is still working as hard as it can while going through various mountains & valleys along the way, as the music has rejoined once again, concluding our look at the Sunday River version of the 1218 in 1987. It ran for 44 minutes.

There are also bonus chapters. The first was made in 1978. It was titled: Battle for the Blue Ridge part 1. This contains mostly onboard footage behind different engines on different trips. One scene shows a train going under the Virginian railway with a shot of Electric Rectefiers, & another features a mix of Steam & diesels in Bluefield as Disco music was played for a bit. Later a Class Y is running light after doubleheading a special, then we get to see a powhatan arrow at Glen Lyn trestle. Meanwhile we moved to the Blacksburg line as a doubleheader is shown with a pair of 400 series 4-8-0 12 wheelers. Only 2 are saved: 433 is in Abington Virginia, & 475 is at the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. This Doubleheader is led by 475 & 489 but aren't sure. Later a Tripleheader was included. Next we moved to the Abington Branch as we are riding on a mixed train behind either a 4-8-0 or a 4-6-2, but aren't sure. At West Jefferson, 4-8-0 number 392 arrives, then we resume the onboard journey for a bit followed by some switching as disco music is played once again. When the Strasburg Railroad held its freight specials that was sponsored by Peter Lerro, 475 was renumbered to 382 for the occasion. Our next town on the list is Norton as we see some cars on the highway, followed by a class A arriving, see a brief shot of a non-streamlined K Class 4-8-2, & even witness an excursion with pacifics 563 & 578 doubleheading out of the Tunnel & crossing the trestle in 1957 on the Jewell Valley Branch. 563 is gone for scrap, but 578 is on display at Worthington Ohio. Returning to Walton, We witnessed a westbound powhatan arrow that is led by a pair of Atlantic Coast Line E units, then we get to see 578 arriving at the depot, then departs with a wheelslip. Meanwhile, an unknown engine is running light, then we see a coal train that is led by a Class Y. Later, we witnessed a meet between a diesel powered coal train & the Pocahontas with a J class northern in charge. Part 1 ends with a Class J whistling through the Station. All of these scenes were filmed by Mr. Archie L. Julian.

Part 2 from 1978 features more disco music, as a Class Y is on a coal train, a J class Northern on a passenger run, an opposite bound northern, A K class 4-8-2 on a short passenger run, & we are battling Blue ridge grade as an unknown engine is pushing on the rear, a Class A on a mixed freight with 3 cabooses on the rear, a brief look at a K class 4-8-2 on a passenger run, a look at the Pocahontas with a J class northern upfront, note the New York Central coach on the rear, A class Y on a mixed coal train with some heavy equipment on a gondola that has a pusher on the rear which is none other than the Jawn Henry: A steam powered turbine which was the N&W's Experimental engine, see the turbine running light, a highball on a passenger extra, plus another one, & see a Class Y Assembling its own train while slipping on wet rails. Its number is 2163. Meanwhile we witnessed a class Y on a coal train with a pusher on the rear, as this scene ends our look on both N&W steam in regular service, & of Course, the return of 1218 in 1987.

Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Could have used more.
Would kids enjoy this? Yes.
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Seemed a little high, but not too bad.
Recommend to others? Yes.

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