In 1984 this 180 mile line from Bethlehem west to Bloemfontein was 100% steam powered with Class 25NC 4-8-4’s. This rugged line has hard working steam action including a daily passenger train, an overnight passenger train, plus freights throughout the day. Due to the drought there were daily water trains from Bethlehem. We see 4 trains in the first 3 hours including the Overnight Passenger train at first sun, and a parade of 3 trains upgrade from Bethlehem. We visited this line twice during our trip and there are plenty of interesting locations and great scenes. Dawn shots of the overnight train, stalled freight, The Saturday Only passenger train which is chased, daily passenger train is chased, 19D 4-8-2 on the Ladybrand branch at dawn, plus visit the shed in Bethlehem. Informative narration and great live audio from these lovely locomotives. New for 2009, and part of the South Africa Steam series by Greg Scholl Video Productions.
The Bethlehem Line
Louisville and Nashville 4-6-2 #152 is one of the more authentic locomotives that has ever operated in mainline excursion service. 152 now runs for the Kentucky Railway Museum in New Haven, but in the late 80s was running on old home mainline rails! The focus of this video is a series of operations with 152 in 1988 mostly on the TTI (Trans-Kentucky Transportation Inc) – a former Louisville and Nashville line from Paris to Maysville, Kentucky. First is an excursion from Cincinnati to Winchester, where the 152 has the usual diesel assisting on the mainline. Next we see a VIP trip run with 152 and 4 coaches, but no diesel assist, as it operates a round trip from Paris to Maysville and return in May of 1988.
Then Greg Scholl Video Productions sponsored a ‘photographers special’ charter train with 152 and three heavyweight coaches, all lettered Louisville & Nashville. There are some timeless scenes on this former L&N line – like running through the street at Carlisle, Kentucky with a freight depot on one side and a passenger depot on the other. There are two wig-way crossing signals (now history), tunnels, bridges, and various historic buildings. After the photo specials we see regular public excursions on this 50 mile line (with a diesel to assist this longer train) and there is more great action. This was originally released on VHS in 1988, but has now been introduced on DVD. When converting this gem to DVD, GSVP went back to the original footage, and did a total re-edit with new narration, and included all the extra scenes which would not fit in the original 60 minute VHS production. There are 2 or three turntable scenes in Paris for example, as well as preparations, and extra runbys of the photo special, and Maysville excursions that followed. This is a fine locomotive and the locations that 152 operated in make the train seem suspended in a time warp. These 1988 trips were the last mainline trips for 152.
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