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This film features comprehensive coverage of the Fall Colors Excursion from Minneapolis St. Paul to Winona and La Crescent along the Mississippi Valley in October 2006. The 4-8-4 #261 featured was one of the last steam locomotives built for the Milwaukee Road and is today amongst the finest examples of mainline steam restoration and operation in North America. We were given full access to the locomotive's Tool Car at the front of the train, as well as to the #261's cab during the trip. A brief historical background including archive still photographs of Milwaukee Road steam power at the Milwaukee Yards in 1952, is followed by lineside, on-train and detailed cab views showing all aspects of the locomotive operation with fixed and mobile cameras. Special thanks are due to Steve Sandberg and the Friends of the 261, without whose co-operation this film could not have been made.
The main #261 film running time is 64 minutes.
Now includes '261 Supplement' which starts with a 13 minute interview with a 261 crew member discussing the origins of the 261 preservation, firing the 261 and the use of diesel assistance. This is followed by 6 minutes of trackside scenes of the 1998 261 excursion from Kansas City to the Twin Cities, then 14 minutes of on-train and trackside action from the 2000 'Nebraska Safety Express' round trip between Lincoln and Omaha. 15 minutes previewing other SVS Film DVDs rounds off the DVD, giving a total running time of 1 hour 52 minutes.
The US 'Trains Magazine' June 2008 edition - page 70 - gave this DVD a kind review: "... With a camera in the cab of Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261, this DVD shows the flurry of activity on the "footplate" as it makes a round trip over the old Milwaukee Road from Minneapolis to La Crescent, Minn. Engineers Steve Sandberg and Robert Franzen are seen at the throttle of 261, as veteran fireman Ed Selinsky keeps the huge boiler of 261 hot.
This DVD also offers lineside shots of 261 at full gait and views from the door of the tool car behind the locomotive. An added bonus: It explains what all the gauges and levers in 261's cab do and shows close-up views of engine lubrication at service stops. Maps provide information on the route as the train moves along the Canadian Pacific main line."
This DVD features comprehensive coverage of the Fall Colours excursion from Minneapolis St Paul to Winona and La Crescent along the Mississippi Valley in October 2006. The 4-8-4 #261 featured was one of the last steam locomotives built for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific Railroad - The Milwaukee Road - and is today amongst the finest examples of mainline steam restoration and operation in North America.
We were given full access to the locomotive's Tool Car at the front of the train, as well as to the #261's cab during the trip. A brief historical background includes some rare black & white still photographs of Milwaukee Road steam in the Milwaukee yards back in 1952, followed by lineside, on-train and detailed cab views showing all aspects of the locomotive operation with fixed and mobile cameras on board #261. Some fine hand-held footage by Steve Sandberg adds to the cab action scenes during the trip between Red Wing and Winona, views from the Tool Car en route, and wonderful hand-held footage in the locomotive cab from Red Wing to Minneapolis, including the final climb through St Paul away from the Mississippi.
Special thanks are due to Steve Sandberg and the Friends of the 261, without whose co-operation this film could not have been made.
The '261' film running time is 64 minutes, followed by an 18 minute selection of other SVS Film DVDs.
It is filmed in full screen 4:3 format colour digital video and stereo sound.
F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!!! By far, one of the most in-depth, detailed productions and BEST CAB RIDE E-V-E-R!!! I was quite literally on the edge of my seat and EXHAUSTED just watching 261's Crew run her! Felt as if I was right in cab with them...especially enjoyed the stoker screw inspection access hatch!
"Here's a bit of background on the video. For that portion of the trip, John McIvor(the videographer who produced the video) clamped a video camera mount on the outside edge of a storage rack which is mounted on the back of the cab. Thus any little vibration in the cab was amplified by the camera and the mounts which were holding it up high enough to be out of the way. So the ride is a lot smoother than it looked.
I had just put Jim Cameron in the seat as fireman on this portion of the trip. The reference to the broken stoker was a joke between us because two weeks prior to this trip we had hand fired the Chinese QJ's down in the Quad cities (Both stokers on these engines were not working), and Jim in particular got quite a physical workout the first three days until we got a handle on how to set the the fire properly to handbomb those machines.) The stoker on 261 was working fine.
In the 2006 season of running we had noticed that 261's stoker was getting more and more a tendency to fill up the right side of the firebox with a lot thicker fire over the course of a run. To counteract that we fired lighter with the stoker and then hand fired the left side more often to keep the fire level and breathing equally on both sides. Part of the issue also is the"pea coal" referenced by Fitz. The coal we use now is standard stoker screened with 1.5" and smaller pieces. 261 was originally desiged to use a bigger screened coal so that larger pieces would fall closer to to the stoker pot. Now that standard stoker coal is smaller (and a whole lot cheaper than a special order of the larger screened coal) we simply counteract that by filling in the areas that are thinnest around the pot by hand firing a bit more often. This past winter we were able to alleviate a lot of the problem after we found some vacuum leaks around the throttle header assembly which were causing the draft to be weaker on the right side, causing it to burn at a slower rate and hence the buildup of coal on that side.
One should also keep in mind that the video camera ran continuously for that portion of the trip, but a lot of the non hand firing time is edited out, since video looks better when there is some physical action going on. So the time compression makes it looks like we are hand firing a lot more than we actually are.
I agree that it's a great DVD and a wonderful complement to many others that show so much action from outside the cab. My compliments to John McIvor for putting so much work into it, and I certainly recommend it's purchase.
"Wow, what a great video! I love the coverage of all the crew duties...Incredible delivery time. You mailed the DVD Nov. 2, and it arrived on the west coast of USA Nov. 5 ..."
J.F. - Oregon, USA
"Got the video and it is GREAT!! I love the cab scenes, which I'm sure not many people get to see. It also moves along nicely, which is a switch from most videos. Watched it cover to cover with no fast forwarding! ..."
C.T. - Illinois, USA
"Received the DVD today... (6 day delivery time from England.) BEAUTIFUL "MUSIC" on it. Cadence beyond belief! Reverberation of the brass excellent. And ALL of it made by just that one "instrument". BUT, I about fell out of my chair trying to lean "back into the cab" to get away from that freight going the other way!!!!! I assume Mr. Sandberg was the "Stuntman"?? Neat "stunt"! ..."
C.M. - Iowa, USA
"Just got my copy and WOW!!!! One of the best steam DVDs out...."
Z.M - West Virginia, USA
"Service AAA+++ / Response Time AAA+++ / Packaging AAA+++ / Thank You !"
L.G. - Minnesota, USA
"As I have come to expect from SVS, excellent audio and video is provided, along with a couple of nice surprises. The brief, but informative interview with the 261's lubrication team member was a noticable change from the usual engineer/fireman interview. Likewise, the brief tour of the Amtrak P42 was also different.
Not shown, that I would have added, would have been interior shots of the skytop car on the end of the train. But, this was about the MLW 261 after all, and SVS again delivers a winner."
G.J. - North Carolina, USA
"Ok folks. Here it is. The mainline steam dvd you've always wanted but couldn't find. No silly music. Just the music of a steam locomotive running 60 mph on the high iron pulling an excursion train. You actually get to watch the crew in the cab going about their work as it is. Nothing is scripted here. See Ed Selinsky assisting a new fireman. Watch the world flash by at track speed as Steve holds the camera out the cab door. The sound of the exhaust is not edited to background!
Watch as the train pulls out of the river town of Winona with Steve at the helm. See him pull the throttle a little bit open, the train starts to roll. A little more as it picks up some speed. Then nearly all the way out to get up to speed sometime yet this week. Listen to the exhaust note increase in its staccato rythem rapidly as the train reaches track speed in a very short time. See Mark D. in an edited conversation with people in the tool car, and watch the lightning grease crew at work. And see many of the 261 crew hanging out in the tool car while we run down the river and back. (WOW!)
Yes, it's the 261, so it looks like I might be prejudiced on this, but this is one video that is narrated without overriding what you want to hear. It's also informative and instructive, with several instructional views of the cab, explaining what is being done in the case of firiing, and explaining what the main controls in the cab are for. All that, and it is not a series of mindless runby's. There are a few, to be sure. Gotta' have those!
No, I don't get a commission on the sales of these things. Just want to pass along what I think of this video because others have already told me that they also think it's the best steam video they've ever seen."
M.D. - Minnesota, USA
"Certainly impressed with the 'Ride the Milwaukee Road with 261' that I looked at late yesterday evening, brought back some special memories of the occasion.
Nice introduction and I thought the content and continuity was very good throughout. Interesting descriptions of the onboard equipment and informative interviews with the crew really makes it work, well done! ..."
J.L. (steam engineman) - England
" I thoroughly enjoyed it and it brought back a lot of memories from a year ago. Of all the footage that had been put on tape and various other DVDs, there is precious little cab footage, so this DVD will be a good compliment to the others... I think the public and the casual railfan will particularly enjoy the tours of all the valves and gauges in the cab."
E.S. (#261 crew) - Wisconsin, USA
"I really enjoyed your creation. I was blown away by the smoothness during both the cab ride and out the doorway shots. You certainly must have had the cameras anchored down well. Keep up the good work! - S.M. - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
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