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The History of American Railroads: The Years of Steam

41 customer reviews

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The History of American Railroads: The Years of Steam + Railroads: Tracks Across America + The History of American Railroads: The Era of Diesel
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Editorial Reviews

The Years of Steam explores the rise and fall of America's steam trains from the glory days of the 1920s through their final twilight in the 1970s.

The Golden Age

In this chapter, we look at classic American steam trains from the 1920s through the 1940s. Journey on such historic railroads as the Central Railroad, the Reading Railroad, the Delaware and Hudson, and the Ontario and Western, exploring the legacy of the golden age of steam.

The Years of Transition, Part 1

We look at steam in the transitional years of the 1950s as we journey on some fourteen different railroads throughout North America, including the Canadian Pacific, Pennsylvania Railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio, and the New York Central.

The Years of Transition, Part 2

This section further examines the great steam trains of America during their years of transition in the 1950s. Included are some of the historic lumber trains of the far west, the iron ore trains of the Messabi Range in Minnesota, Canadian steam in western Canada, and many others.

Twilight of Steam

During the 1960s, steam trains began to disappear from the American landscape, and by the early 1970s they were virtually extinct. In this chapter, we look at the twilight of steam as the history of American steam trains comes to a close.

Color/B&W. Approx run time: 4 hours 5 minutes.


Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Columbia River Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: June 12, 2007
  • Run Time: 245 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000QGDY1K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,634 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 48 people found the following review helpful By L. W. Shell on July 7, 2008
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"The History of American Railroads: The Years of Steam" is quite a bargain, considering that it is over four hours of content on one modestly-priced dual-layer DVD.

The first chapter is mostly black-and white, which is acceptable for the time period covered. The other three chapters, from later periods in railroad history, are generally in color. Much of the sound has been dubbed in, not recorded at the same time as the video. That's acceptable for footage taken with silent equipment in the 20s-30s-40s and even into the 50s. But some of the latest footage could have been done with live sound. The result of that is that one often hears a different kind of locomotive than what one sees, and the rhythmic sounds do not sync with the motion of the driving wheels.

Much of the content on this DVD has been previously published. Chapter 3: "Years of Transition II" can also be seen on the previously released "American Steam in the Fifties and Sixties." I recognized virtually all of the footage contained in "Years of Transition I" but have not identified the video that contained that footage in an earlier release.

It's good footage, and very nostalgic and enjoyable. And there's certainly lots of it! But be prepared to get some duplicate footage if you already have a modest railfan library.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Kenley C. Vogt on September 27, 2007
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I am a New York Central fan - this DVD has excellent vintage footage! I highly recommend it!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Neon on April 30, 2012
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I've purchased this product several times, under different packages. In my quest for a specific DVD on steam trains, I've purchased numerous DVD's, they change the titles and give it a different cover, or it comes in a package on trains. So I'm dissappointed in being tricked into buying the same product over and over...While the DVD witnessed years ago on the history channel that focused on the New York Central & Penn Central railroads and the blazing speeds between the two stations seems to have disappeared...This specific product is a good one, but I need only one!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tim Pagel on March 8, 2009
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This hour long CD has many quality shots and has a wide appeal not only to the train buffs, but those who even have a passing intrest.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By College Dean on April 4, 2011
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I purchased this DVD based on a number of favorable reviews it received. It's a little slow getting started at the first. As a matter of fact, most viewers can probably skip the first segment entirely to get to the meat of the history of steam. The DVD shows scores of engines and briefly mentions the origins of many, which makes for a more interesting view of the subject matter. Much more of the footage than I would have expected is in color and I really enjoyed that facet of the presentation. Being several hours in length, some viewers may want to break up their viewing into segments. I watched the DVD all the way through and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Highly recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Nagle on May 11, 2009
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This is on of the most informative videos (DVD) I have ever seen
on the history of railroads especially The American steam locomotive.
If your going to buy any video on railroads or locomotives from the
1940's to the 1970's then this is the one.
Mike
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marvin R. Doering on September 18, 2011
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I recommend "When Giants Roamed the Earth" over this piece. You do get to watch some trains but I prefer the historical development of steam trains.
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I am very pleased, product arrived on time and was packed properly. This is a very nice arrangement of American
railroads and steam power. The DVD contains four segments of history and is approximately four hours of viewing
past generations of steam power from various railroads in action in the United States. The cover color photograph
is of ex - Savannah and Atlanta 750 4-6-2 which I have observed many times in Georgia in special excursion
service. I watched part yesterday and will try to complete today. The segment of Norfolk and Western Steam in
actual service was very good and I remember my Dad taking me on vacation to Roanoke, Virginia and he had arranged
a tour through the Norfolk & Western shops where the N&W designed and built their own locomotives. Also, we saw
these great locomotives in coal service in action in the region around Roanoke.
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