If you liked our Riding the RGS show released in 2020, then you will enjoy this first segment. Ted Collins shot both the RGS segment and this 1947 visit to the ET&WNC Narrow Gauge. The day begins with a few chase scenes of #12 heading from Elizabethton to Cranberry. Then we see that they have boarded the cab for the remainder of the run to Cranberry. Here the engine takes water, and switching is done, before they head back west tender-first. There are some nice scenes in the Doe River Gorge. After the gorge the visitors get off and follow the train into Elizabethton, where the trip ended. A final shot of the same crew taking engine 204 back to Johnson City on the standard gauge ends this rare segment. There is very, very little coverage of this line since it went out of business in 1950 (The Narrow Gauge portion that is).
Next we head south of the border with California enthusiast Jim Vail. He hired a local guide and spent the better part of a day at the San Lazaro yard in Mexico City. This was nearly 100% steam in 1966 when he was there. We see all sorts of neat stuff with a variety of F.C.I. and N de M 2-8-0’s working the yard or being serviced. There were generally 1 or 2 engines constantly switching, and moving narrow gauge as well as standard gauge cars in the dual service portions of the yard. We see engines on the turntable (armstrong which took several men to move it-a rare sight indeed), and shop work being performed next to the roundhouse. Engines were constantly being serviced, taking oil, or water. We would see a train now and then as well. There is also a cab ride in 2-8-0 number 273 while switching in the yard. This is the longest segment in the show, but it typifies the daily routine of a steam railroad in it’s prime, which is enjoyable to say the least.
The third segment features Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge 4-6-0 number 9 on the Keeler Branch. This was supposedly the last excursion the engine made in 1954, but it ran in freight service after this. We see some trackside views, learn some history and enjoy a rare piece of SP steam power.
Lastly we enjoy some Rio Grande (Denver & Rio Grande Western) narrow gauge, starting with some freight action with engine 480 from Durango to Farmington, and the Durango to Chama line with some nice footage of this now extinct section to Chama. There are scenes in Gato, as well as others with good action scenes along the way. Then we see two “Hill turns” with engines 498 and 488 as they battle the 4% grade from Chama to Cumbres, Colorado at an elevation of 10.015 feet. This section is always good material.
As you can see there is a lot of great content crammed into 71 minutes. There is something for everyone and subjects that are rare indeed. Get your copy today!