Tag Archives: EMD F units

Western Pacific Agent 1950

Lippert Pictures, Inc.

What better way to showcase Western Pacific Railroad’s spanking new streamliner (the California Zephyr) than shoehorning train footage into a Noir B picture?

The opening credits and first three minutes of this movie feature the CZ both inside and out with location shooting on Altamont Pass, Feather River Canyon and the WP Sacramento station.

This 72 minute potboiler tells the story of WP Special Agent Rod Kendall (played by Kent Taylor) who is tracking down the mad killer Frank Wicken (played by Mickey Knox).

All Aboard!

Is that Jack Benny talking to the statuesque blonde in the Vista Dome? ………WELL! Nah, no idea who he is, but his gal pal is actress Vera Marshe; Led by WP #801, an EMD A-B-B set of 1947 F3 locomotives worth 4500 hp, the California Zephyr glides into Sacramento. Quite a crowd on hand ready to board.

Continue reading

Santa Fe 3759 — 2004

Pentrex – Santa Fe 3759 – Video DVD
Seymour F. Johnson Enterprises – Farewell to Steam! – Audio LP

This is the story of the final run of Santa Fe Railway steam locomotive #3759 in 1955. A 4-8-4 Northern built by Baldwin in 1928, this oil-burning behemoth was saved from the scrapper’s torch and placed on display in Kingman, Arizona where it resides today.

Today’s movie review was inspired by an LP from my father’s record collection — which I literally wore out playing, as a youngster. Loved that record. It wasn’t until later in life that I discovered a great deal of color film footage had been taken of the fan trip and put out on DVD by Pentrex. I had to get a copy.

The harder part was getting a good audio CD to replace the original LP. Apparently, there are two versions out there. The first was the original 1955 sounds put out by Mr. Johnson (see above). The second, more common, was a 1958 remixed album which had the reverb turned up to 11. Awful recording. As someone said, “It sounds like the listener was at the bottom of a steel drum”.

Anyways, Trolley Dodger to the rescue! Offered for sale on his website (see link at the bottom of this review) is an audio CD of the ORIGINAL mono non-reverbed LP. Fantastic sound quality and frequently playing as I drive along in my truck. ;p

For this video review, I created over 200 screen captures, but I’ll try to whittle that down to 65 or less, as #3759 makes it way from Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal (LAUPT) to Barstow and back. Let’s watch big steam in action over Cajon Pass! In color!

Climbing towards Summit, the Farewell to Steam special passes a beautiful set of A-B-B-A F units on a downhill freight. With the San Gabriel mountains in the background, AT&SF #3759 blasts through a cut during a photo runby.

Continue reading

Empire on Parade 1957

Empire Photosound, Inc.

We sing the song of a railroad! Narrator Roger Krupp waxes poetic during this 40 minute film extolling the history and present day operations (circa 1957) of the Great Northern Railway.

Empire on Parade features the westward journey of freight train #401 from Minneapolis to Seattle and the industries and agriculture it serves along the way. We also get many views of the GN’s flagship Empire Builder passenger train.

It’s a festival of first-generation diesel locomotives including representatives from EMD, Alco and Baldwin.  In color.  So let’s take a journey during the hey-day of the post-war Big G.

The Empire Builder is about to drop a semaphore signal somewhere in the Montana Rockies. Note the 3 short Great Dome coaches and 1 large Great Dome lounge car which helps date the film after late 1955.

Continue reading

Bad Day at Black Rock 1954

bad001 bad009

Metro-Goldwyn Mayer

Wow, what an opening! Southern Pacific Railroad hosted one of the most spectacular railroad-themed opening credits ever done for a movie. The star is an SP passenger train in splashy “Daylight” dress led by a pair of equally classic “Black Widow” EMD F units.

Helicopter shots, distant shots, pacing shots were all added by associate producer Herman Hoffman after principal photography had ended. Test audiences had been unimpressed with the rather bland movie opening, so MGM rented a couple trainsets from Espee for filming on SP’s “Jawbone” line near Lone Pine, CA.

Once again, I am grateful to IMDb Trivia and particularly James Tiroch at Cinetrains for details about the railroad operations. The comments from Cinetrains/The Black Widow of Black Rock were extremely helpful in identifying the equipment used.

Let’s take a look at the zenith of Southern Pacific passenger cars led by silver-nosed freight engines as they barrel through the desert.

bad016

In a pacing shot, EMD F3A #6151 and EMD F7B #8149 are towing an articulated chair car (note the single truck between the two cars).

Continue reading