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The Valley Railroad
 5 of 5 (1)

The Valley Railroad Mark I Video M1TVRR
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This fine program presents the complete history of the Valley Railroad, from its beginnings in 1871 as a common-carrier freight and passenger railroad to its rebirth as a steam tourist line.

Rare archive photographs illustrate the fascinating story of the original Connecticut Valley Railroad, which extended from Hartford to Saybrook Point and Fenwick. The line was later absorbed by the New Haven. Following abandonment in 1968, a portion of the railroad was purchased by the state of Connecticut and leased to the Valley Railroad Company for operation as a steam tourist line.

You'll tour the Essex yard, ride the train, and sell all of the Valley's steam locomotives in action including 2-8-0 97, 2-8-2 40, and Chinese 2-8-2 1647. Beautifully-photographed trackside scenes are combined with in-cab and on-train sequences for a nostalgic look at one of Connecticut's most popular tourist attractions. All aboard!

80 minutes *DVD* Color with some B/W Archive Photos
Produced and Edited by Marc S. Balkin
Narrated by Jim Boyd

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TVD Price:$ 19.95
List Price:$ 24.95
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Runtime:1 Hour, 20 Mins ($0.25/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.
The Valley Railroad
Steamboy (Revere MA US) on 2020-07-11 12:38:30.

  •  5 of 5

In this 1994 videotape/2005 or 2006 DVD, the program starts with Mikado number 40 arriving at Essex from old saybrook as night falls. Then it leaves the main depot with a wheel slip. Listen to the iconic Crosby whistle as number 40 heads for the crossing. The Next day,the recently turned 100 year old Mikado heads for the crossing alongside state highway 154 with the route 9 bridge in the background. Afterwards, a cab ride is included as number 40 rolls along the Connecticut bridge while the opening credits are activated. Back at the depot, a new haven U-Boat sits on display. Followed by A map of Connecticut. The railroad is located 4 miles north of interstate 95 between Boston & new York city. It takes only 2.5 hours to get from either both cities to old saybrook. The headquarters is located at route 154. While passengers are buying tickets for the day long visit, a ride alongside the Connecticut river is shown. Then the camera cuts to a boat ride on the river. Speaking of which, some vintage black & white films & still images are included. As well as some vintage schedules, maps & stills of crewmembers. Plus there are 4-4-0s from the Rogers locomotive works are included such as number 1: the haddam, & number 3: the Middletown. A trolley on the street is shown. In 1892, the new haven purchased the Hartford & Connecticut valley railroad. Until 1931, there were adjacent ferryboat trips to New York city. More vintage still images are included at Middletown as well as the short lived Boston to New York city ghost train between 1891 & 1895. Next, a still image of the haddam station is shown. The station served at one time: the stop for camp bethel. In regular new haven years, American type 4-4-0s were on passenger duties while the mogul type 2-6-0s handle the freight business. A still image of the original Chester depot is shown followed by the original depot at both deep river & Essex. The original passenger station in Essex is gone for scrap while the freight station still stands as a present passenger station. In the still image from 1900 on the new haven mainline, the freight station is on the left side of the screen with the switch tower in the background at saybrook junction. The location had many changes over the decades. Afterwards, a still image of the trolley going over the bridge on the shore line trolley system which operates between New London & new haven with a branch to chester. The trolley operates from 1910 to the start of the great depression in 1929. Still images of steam engines & boats at saybrook point near long island NY is shown. As well as a brass band with people walking from the docks to the railroad station. A 4-4-0 is stored inside the 6 stall roundhouse. Today the roundhouse itself is gone but all that remains are limestone boulders as well as the 2 axel wheels. Afterwards, a still image of the Fenwick hall is included. In 1872, the railroad built a bridge from the hotel to the depot. The station at Fenwick was used only in the middle of the summer. Until 1916, the depot was removed & service was abandoned to the hotel, which unfortunately was burned down in 1917. Moving Onto the films black and white films, a steam locomotive is on a passenger train, followed by a 2-6-0 on a freight with 2 cabooses on the rear. While steam on the New Haven was gone in 1952, the old saybrook to haddam line was out of service. In 1966, number 97 operates on new haven mainlines for various specials. One one scene, the 1923 built 2-8-0 is taking a spin on the turntable with alco RS3 diesels standing by. 2 years later in 1968, the new haven was merged with 2 rival railroads: New York central & Pennsylvania to become the Penn central. It was the biggest bankruptcy in all of American railroading history. 8 years later in 1976, the Penn central was reformed into conrail. While Penn central never cared about steam, 97 was stored in Danbury just not far from the New York state line. Back to the present times, there is some onboard footage. In August of 1969, the Connecticut park & forest department purchase the line from old saybrook to maromas from Penn central. By the first day of June 1970, the department ran a former lease to the company. The first president of the railroad was Oliver Jensen. Over a year & a month long span, the overgrown trees & bushes have to be removed, New ties & ballast have to be installed, as well as restoring the stations at essex, deep river, & chester. While Essex didn't have a workshop, the valley railroad needed to build one. More pieces the rolling stock came from Middletown New York. The southern New England steam powered tourist railroad's very first engine was 2-6-2 number 103. On July 29, 1971 after 100 years to the exact day, the valley railroad opened for business. Moving Onto color films of the 70s, number 97 approaches deep river, then it highballs uphill. Back to the present day, number 40 arrives at the depot tender first. Route 154 is known as the Middlesex turnpike. At one time, 103 used to be at Essex & later on display near the depot, but it has since been moved to a new home. While everyone is buying tickets, a brief tour of the gift shop is also included. A coach that's sitting on display right next to the storage track serves as a snack bar. In the summer years, the railroad uses open air gondola 728 from the Lehigh & new England. Today that freight car is on display. A past & present comparison of the entrance to the station parking lot is included. As well as a look around the storage yard. Afterwards, a past & present comparison of 103 is shown. 103 was built by Baldwin in November of 1925 as it was made for the sumter & Choctaw in Alabama. By 1962, the little engine moved to the empire state railroad museum where it carries tourist visitors until 1966. After a 4 year hiatus, 103 came to essex. On one scene, 103 is sitting next to 97. By 1973, the railroad had made an important decision: replace 103 with 97. For just one day in 1973, a doubleheader with 97 & 103 is shown. Back in the present times, 97 ran around the train while switching tracks at the main depot in essex with NYC 4096 on display. Moments later, the locomotive ran around the 3 coaches at deep river. Those scenes were shown in the 1992 video Susquehanna steam express. In regular service, number 97 was sent to the Birmingham & southeastern railway as number 200. In 1964 the engine got its original identity back as it operates mainline trips in Vermont & Connecticut until 1969. In 1978, the 97 got a new tender from central Vermont 2-8-0 number 404. Mikado 40 was originally built as Portland Astoria & Pacific 101 in oregon. 3 years later in 1923, the Mikado worked in California on the minarets & western. In January 1935, the M&W 101 was conveyed to the southern Pacific for settlements. Unfortunately, there wasn't any plans for use of the engine on the SP so instead the engine was moved to North Carolina on the Aberdeen & rockfish. Once on the A&R, the engine was renumbered to 40, & also converted to coal & ran passengers & freight until 1952. In 1977, the engine arrives at its present day location in Essex. Back to the present day, 40 ran around the coaches in Essex. While the Mikado backs up, a diesel road switcher with a caboose sits on display. At the 30 minute mark of the program, it's nighttime as 40 operates the countdown to Christmas special while waiting for passengers to board the night train. At last, number 40 leaves Essex for the run to deep river in the dark. More scenes from Susquehanna steam express is shown as Class SY 2-8-2 number 2271 shunts cars in China. A visit to the building shops were shown for the assembly of 1647 (Susquehanna 142) in January of 1989. The following may, 1647 made some test runs before heading to a port where it'll have to be loaded on a ship, go through The Panama canal, & head to New Jersey where a railway tugboat carries the engine as well as many Burlington Northern boxcars to the Brooklyn section of new York city, be transferred to conrail tracks over the hell gate bridge, drops off at old saybrook, & fired up for the very first time on American rails in December 1989 to March 14, 1990. On the same trip, sister engine 1658 (valley railroad 3025) was also on the same boat trip. The destination for 1658: the since been gone Knox and Kane in Pennsylvania. 1647 entered revenue service on April 20. As it leaves the essex depot with NYC 4096 on display. The engine whistles at old deep river road, then it cuts to the cab ride. During the 1991 season, 1647 (142) works with 97 as the consolidation arrives at deep river while 1647 idles at the platform. As 97 heads north, 1647 ran around the coaches for the trip back to Essex. In June of 1990, Susquehanna made an order from China to purchase 1698 where it would become number 141. Unfortunately due to the gulf war, the newest steam locomotive from the far east was gone for scrap in June of 1991 as it lies underwater in India. With the return of Mikado 40, the 1647 last ran on new England rails about 3 days before Christmas 1991. At the transition of 1991 into 1992, the engine was renumbered to 142. Nowadays since 2004, the locomotive is at the Delaware river railroad near the Pennsylvania state line in Phillipsburg New Jersey. On one scene, 142 is on an excursion from butler NJ. Back in Essex, a look at the U25B from 1965 is shown which includes some.vintage films of these early diesels are shown. Today, 103 & 2525 are at the Naugatuck railroad in Thomaston Connecticut as well as Boston & Maine 1109. Motor car 55 was built in 1930 as 116 for the sperry rail service. Later it was renumbered to 121. 44 ton diesel 800 was built in 1950 as it worked for the long island & black river & western in New Jersey as number 400 powered a tourist train with great western 2-8-0 number 60 standing by. 0-4-0 saddle tank engine number 10 was built by Baldwin in 1935. The little engine worked for the Standard steel works in Vernon Pennsylvania, & later for a steel company in Massachusetts before coming to Essex in 1970. Back to 1647 in Essex however, it pulls the train tender first on the return trip. The 1100 series coaches were built in 1924 & 1925 for the Jersey central. Some vintage films of the coaches being serviced & washed. The 500 series coaches were built by Pullman in 1914 & 1915 for the Delaware Lackawanna & western as it was shown by a fast steamer in regular service. On the service track, 40 is being prepared for another busy day on the rails. When all is ready, the Mikado picks up a Pullman coach and ran around the former Jersey central coaches. The coach that 40 is carrying was built in 1930 for the Yankee clipper on the New Haven. Amazingly, the coach appears in the movie: Malcolm X. With all the coaches coupled up, & passengers arriving at the depot for a ride on one of new England's steam powered railroads, an interview with crewmember Paul Lewis is shown. As everyone got to their seats, it's all aboard time as number 40 heads for deep river with a close up look at the wheel slip. A cab ride is included as well as from behind the tender. Listen to the iconic Crosby whistle as it crosses route 154, goes under the Dennison road overpass bridge, rolls through the meadows, whistles for old deep river road while negotiating a bend (this was used as the front cover art.for this program), chugs under the route 9 bridge while whistling for the dump road crossing next to state route 154, runs right alongside the Connecticut river as it whistles for another crossing at Essex street, slowing down at river lane while passing parked boats, & arrived in perfect timing at deep river landing with the station still in place. From here, the 40 whistles north through a blind rock cut, and chugging through Chester with more boats parked on trailers which includes a black & white image of the original Chester depot. During the great Connecticut river flood of March 1936, the station ground was underwater. In 1959, the depot was used for the movie: it happened to jane. Back on the ride behind 40, the North Chester depot is on a flatcar. At Chester creek, 40 comes to a stop, then it whistles with a wheel slip as it continues north to hadlyme. At goodspeed, the old freight house still stands which is now a general store. Thankfully, the railroad had since expanded its tracks to reach Goodspeed for only the dinner train as well as special steam charters. Black & white stills in this little town are included. Meanwhile, 40 must push the coaches backwards in order to run around them at deep river. Once there, the engine uncouples & ran around them to couple up for the trip back to Essex. Meanwhile, passengers who booked a combo trip, get to go for a ride on the Connecticut river for the hour long cruise on the Becky Thatcher. This replica was built in 1961 & carries almost 300 people. Another boat called the Aunt Polly carried 145 passengers & was built in 1949. Like the train ride, the boat trip was also a narrative journey. These 2 boats also have a snack bar. More black & white films of the Connecticut river boats are shown as well as some more still images. Back to the present day, there are some boats on the water as well as a visit to the Gillette castle which is located in the East bank of the river. The castle was built in 1919. MR. Gillette also built a small railroad of its own. Until his death in 1937. The opera house was built in 1877 by Bill Goodspeed. The swing bridge near the opera house was built in 1913. Prior to the bridge, people had to take a ferry to get to the other side. Back in the present, the 2 river boats head back to deep river. The Chester ferry move was formed in 1769 & it's still running today. Once back at deep river, the passengers are back on iron rails for the trip back to Essex. Here an extreme close up look at 40 pulling the tender first is included. A ride on top of the tender is shown. As number 40 arrives back at the main depot, the passengers have an outstanding time by visiting this incredible steam powered railroad in New England. Passengers thanked the crew for a splendid day on the rails & on the water for an unforgettable journey. Meanwhile, 40 ran around the coaches for another trip on the same day. The final 5 minutes of this program features the countdown to Christmas special with Santa Claus, the late June Hot music festival, & the North cove express diesel powered dinner train from April to November with 44 toner 900 leading as well as an observation car from the Baltimore & Ohio on the rear. The town that the railroad was created was settled in 1645. Jim also mentioned sesame street & MTV as 40 rolls through the meadows. The credits roll as a cab ride on 40 is included. In the closing credits, Kent Cochrane who was the photographer for the new haven railroad in the 1950s by Greg Scholl in 1990 was shown in the archival photographs list.

The valley railroad is one of new England's most popular tourist attractions, & if you ever want a pinch of steam in your life, this is one of those steam powered trains in New England that you might want to visit again & again.

Overall, the late railfan magazine editor Jim Boyd does an amazing job narrating this program.

Additional remarks by Steamboy:
Narration: Just enough.
Would kids enjoy this? Definitely!
Image quality: Good.
DVD Value: Good Value
Recommend to others? Definitely.

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