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I just got a 20 DVD set called "TRAINS" put out by the Topics label. While I have not watched all 20 DVDs, I have watched a few. In general, I have been disappointed by other box sets of train movies. Either production quality is low or the subjects are not interesting. I have not found that to be the case with this set.

Of specific interest to me as a large scaler/ garden railroader was one DVD dedicated to that subject. What i found most interesting was the trains running in the videos. It appears that these videos were made in the mid 1990s, as the motive power is almost exclusively LGB moguls and some Uintah mallets. All of the layouts were really gardens with trains running in them. It reminds me exactly of where I was with the hobby at that time, too. The most striking difference between that time and now is the availability of standard gauge models. I found it entertaining and given the context, it is a good intro for folks buying an otherwise exclusively "railfan" video collection.

Steam in the Winter
I watched this one yesterday. Was shot in 2004 on the Heber Valley in Utah. Must have been right after the Olympics, but it is of a photo freight running in the canyon there. Some beautiful footage of an operating steam train in the winter. Huge steam plumes and I really like 618's whistle. Then they went to the Nevada Northern which had some excellent shots, especially the loco exiting the workshop at sunrise. You get the front view of the loco coming at you with the profile (by way of the shadow). Very artistic. The narration is brief so that you mostly have the sound of the train, but you can turn it off completely. The last one was the Ohio Central operating their GTW 4-8-4 in winter. Again, they used period freight equipment, and it really looked and sounded good.

Steam in the Spring
I watched a little bit of the Cass Scenic's run with a photo freight. There were also some shots from the Ohio Central when they were running regular passenger service. I didn't watch this whole DVD yet.

Steam in the Summer

So far, all I have watched was Eureka and Palisade opering on the D&S. The camera crew followed that loco's run at Railfest one summer, not sure which one. But, if you like the E&P, this made this DVD worth it. Quite a few photo run bys, and the quality is excellent.

Steam in the Fall

I think this one is my favorite so far. Four photo charters of PA railroad; The New Hope and Ivyland, Strasburg's CN 89 and a photo freight, Strasburg's N&W 475 with photo freight, and EBT with its coal photo freight. They also went to WM scenic on this one, but I didn't catch all of that one. In all of this video, there were several very artistic shots. On the Strasburg ones, they were getting some serious O.W. Link inspiration. These appear to have been shot with high quality camera equipment. Both of Strasburg's runs photo freights were done in 2003-2004.

In general, I am very happy with this collection. There is no crossover (using the same videos in two DVDs) that I have seen. Most of the video appears to have been shot within the last 15 years or so, so most of it is good quality. I am hopeful for the rest of these videos, but think this collection of DVD's would make a good addition to anyone's collection. It was a gift (I think it was purchased at Costco), so I have no idea what the price was.
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