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Articulateds UP 3985 and N&W Class A 1218 DVD
 5 of 5 (1)

Articulateds UP 3985 and N&W Class A 1218 DVD Mark I Video M11218
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Challenger #3985 -vs- Class 'A' #1218

Which is the biggest? The most powerful? Which is the best locomotive?

This program gives all the answers and is sure to stimulate many discussions. Perhaps the real winner is the railfan who can still see and hear both giants.

Part 1: A very clear comparison of the specifications and technical differences andsimilarities between the two giants.

Part 2: 3985 on fantrip from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Laramie and return. Features cab ride, pacing and trackside scenes.

Part 3: 1218 pulling excursions from Charlottesville to Alexandria, Virginia and Alexandria to Front Royal. Features pacing and trackside scenes.

One Hour *DVD*- Full Color - Stereo Soundtrack

TVD Price:$ 26.95
List Price:$ 29.95
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DVD Item#:M11218
Runtime:1 Hour, 00 Mins ($0.45/min)
Producer:Mark I Video
Aspect Ratio:Full Screen
Shrink Wrapped?:NO!
Disc Type:DVD
Region Code:0 Worldwide NTSC

  • Some or all of the DVDs or Blu-rays from this producer are manufactured using DVD-R or BD-R material.
  • 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.
Articulateds UP 3985 and N&W Class A 1218 DVD
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-07-11 18:57:54.

People who found this review helpful: 6

  •  5 of 5

In this 1987 videotape/2004 DVD which ran for 57 minutes & was originally released as volume 13 of the railfan video classics collection, the program starts with 3985 being prepared for the May 24 1987 excursion out of Cheyenne while 1218 makes a test run as it crawls between the shops & the original crane. Not only was Mark 1 video there for the 3985 trip, but also 2 noteworthy producers: pentrex for the best of 1987 & Greg Scholl for union Pacific steam volume 1 in 1989. The same thing about these 2 engines is that they were built in 1943 during WWII. Both engines are at 121 feet long, except that the 3985 is 10 7/8 inches longer than 1218 at 9 1/4 inch. For pounds, 3985 weighs at 1,070,000 lbs while 1218 is at 951,600 lbs. Minus the tender, 3985 is at 633,500 lbs leaving 1218 at 573,000 lbs. According to the Firebox grate area, 3985 is at 132 square inches while 1218 is 10 inches less than 3985. For the drive wheel size: 1218's wheels are at 70 inches even, leaving 3985 an inch less at 69 inches. Calculating the heat surface, 1218 had the most at 9342 square inches leaving 3985 in the dust with 6902 square inches. For the boiler pressure: 1218 is at 300 while 3985 is at 280. According to the tractive effort, 1218 is at 114,000 pounds leaving the world's once operating largest steam locomotive in the world at 97,350 lbs. Comparing their tenders: 3985 used to carry 28 tons of coal until it's conversion to oil in 1990 but it still carries 25,000 gallons of water. 1218 however used 30 tons of coal, & 22,000 gallons of water. Counting the wheels on the tender, 3985 had the most with 14 wheels while 1218 only 2 sets of 3 axle trucks carrying only 12 wheels. By the cab size, 3985 is much more roomier & larger than 1218. If there is one question that every railfan wants an answer, it's this: who's the fastest of the 2? That's the tough one which remains unsolved but they have a top speed of 70 miles per hour.

With the difference between 3985 & 1218 finished, we're back in Cheyenne as 3985 leaves the shops. On the right side of the screen, Missouri Pacific 2010 idles in the yard. Again, both Pentrex & Greg Scholl were also on the same may 24, 1987 special. While 3985 switches tracks, a mixed freight with mostly auto carriers sits on the storage track. A look at the map of the Cheyenne yard where we witnessed a 1952 sound film by Fred McLeod as a doubleheader with 2-10-2 number 5518 the sister engine to 5511 & challenger 3954 goes under the Colorado & southern bridge. This clip was black & white on this program, but was colorized by Greg in the 2008 DVD: big boys & challengers. Back to the modern era, 3985 whistles off as it switches tracks while leaving Cheyenne. In Harriman Wyoming, the locomotive comes to a stop to pick up the producer of this program for a cab ride to Laramie. As always, engineer Steve Lee takes the throttle as the once coal burning 3985 gets underway. Along the route, the locomotive goes through Hermosa tunnel. Back on the ground despite the cab ride is over, an eastbound 4 unit freight with diesels: 2525, 2925, 3670, & 3354 smokes out of Hermosa tunnel, then comes 3985 on the return trip. What a smoke show at the tunnel. For the rest of the return trip, there is some quick pacing of the locomotive. At last, the trip comes to a close as 3985 arrives back in Cheyenne. Here it carries the baggage car for maintenance tools, passes by a freight, & switches directions while the sun is still setting.

As we bid farewell to the once largest operating steam locomotive in the world, we head all the way east from Wyoming to Virginia as 1218 operates to Alexandria since the restoration this past April of the same year as the challenger trip. The date is Saturday July 18, 1987 about 2 weeks before that year's NRHS convention in Roanoke. The action begins with pacing 1218 northeast of Culpeper on former southern rails. Just take a moment & Listen to that original hooter whistle. Taking a quick break from pacing on a highway, 1218 makes a photo runby at Calverton. Some kids are heard off screen. Afterwards, there is some more pacing again. The sun is setting as 1218 negotiates some bends on the double track mainline. As night falls, 1218 is making some preparations for the Sunday July 19 trip to front royal. A look at the map of the route is included. The trip from Alexandria to front royal would go West on a one track line with locations at Burke, Manassas, & On the grade to front royal. The action begins at Burke as 1218 whistles through the countryside on the double track mainline to Manassas. Then it goes under the overpass while scaring some birds away at the same time. A pair of different camera crews were shown at the same location: one on the bridge, & another just West of the bridge as 1218 whistles by while approaching Manassas. Once at Manassas, 1218 would make a passenger stop, & would be turned for the front royal branch to linden. On the front royal branch, 2 scenes were made at Haymarket & broad run. In Haymarket, some children wanted to witness a smoke billowing giant for the first time, then it increased speed at broad run while approaching a curve. At belvoir, 1218 whistles for some multiple photo runbys. Once everyone is out of the train, 1218 backs up & whistles for the first runby. With the passengers back onboard, 1218 is between Rectortown & linden beginning at the small wooden trestle at rectortown. Afterwards, it whistles at delaplane, then it passes by a backyard house in Markham. Next it whistles for an unprotected crossing at an unknown location & later continues to whistle while heading for the destination at front royal. Once at front royal, 1218 is turned on the wye, backs into the depot, & also be refilled with water & coal. While 1218 backs into the depot, a vintage automobile awaits the arrival of an old friend. In the late afternoon sun, 1218 leaves front royal on its eastbound trip back to Alexandria. Again, just listen to that original hooter whistle. Back in rectortown, 1218 passes by an old house while crossing the small wooden trestle, which did include a few wheel slips while taking slow orders. Moments later, 1218 whistles by a grain elevator & some chasers at Marshall, then it chugs & whistles through thoroughfare. Afterwards, 1218 is still whistling as it chugs through the crossing at Wellington. Back in Manassas, 1218 is crossing the bridge over the highway, & heads back on the double track mainline to Alexandria. Before that happens, 1218 makes a passenger drop off at the depot for people who ordered tickets from that station only. The sun is finally starting to set as 1218 heads back to Alexandria as it whistles under the overpass. We bid not only farewell to 1218, but also to 3985 as the credits roll with a bonus film segment as 1237 is on a freight, followed by A black & white shot of 5510 & 3968 on a doubleheader. Afterwards, a past & present comparison between a vintage film of an unidentified class A in regular service, as well as 1218 in 1987, followed by an encore shot of 3954 in black & white with 3985 leaving Cheyenne in the modern era. Plus there is some encore pacing of the 2 engines, as well as an encore shot of the cab ride aboard 3985. In addition, there is a side by side comparison of the 2 engines driving wheels, followed by some encore shots of 3985 finished for the May 24 1987 trip as well as 1218 on the front royal branch. After the title card says "The End NOT QUITE", An encore shot of 3985 leaving Hermosa tunnel is shown on the return trip, followed by 1218 at Montgomery tunnel on Christiansburg grade. Here's a fun fact: this program was based and/or adapted from the September 1987 issue of railfan magazine.

Today, just between 30-35 years later, neither of these two articulated giants operates on mainline rails anymore. 1218 operated from April 1987 to November of 1991 due to increased maintenance costs, & today it's on display at the Virginia museum of transportation near its original N&W shops in Roanoke where it was built alongside J class 4-8-4 number 611. 3985 has operated in excursion service from January 1981 to October of 2010. Due to its poor condition as well as the successful restoration of big boy 4014, the challenger still stands silent in the Cheyenne roundhouse.

Overall, Bill Zagorski did a decent job narrating this program.

Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Could have used more.
Would kids enjoy this? Yes.
Image quality: Excellent!
DVD Value:: Fair.
Recommend to others? Definitely.

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