The Union Pacific Big Boy Story – a 2 DVD Set

(5 customer reviews)

$59.90 $34.95

Weighing in at one and a quarter million pounds, measuring 132 feet long, Union Pacific Big Boys were the giants of the rails. Just 25 Big Boys were built. Two DVDs, one case.

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Weighing in at one and a quarter million pounds, measuring 132 feet long, Union Pacific Big Boys were the giants of the rails. Just 25 Big Boys were built. They remained in service for only 18 years, but are as popular today as in their own day. The Big Boy Combo series from Pentrex brings you four vintage programs on two DVDs (in one case!):

Last of the Giants (23 Minutes)
Union Pacific paid tribute to its Big Boys in a publicity film that has become a sought-out collector’s item for rail enthusiasts worldwide. You’ll see the evolution of UP steam power from 4-6-0s to the development of the articulated locomotive. Then you’ll meet the Big Boys and watch as they are serviced, rebuilt, and run. Trackside and cab shots feature these mighty 4-8-8-4s pulling long freights over Wyoming’s Sherman Hill during their last years in service. This classic film is one you’ll enjoy watching again and again.

Last of the Giants Volume 2: The Cheyenne Shops (1 Hour)
Cheyenne was a bustling hub for UP steam in the 1950s. It’s where the Big Boys were based during their last years of operation powering freights over Sherman Hill to Laramie. In Volume 2, you’ll go on a tour of the coal chute and servicing areas, take a spin on the turntable that served the 48-stall roundhouse, and visit the backshop where the Big Boys were rebuilt. You’ll hear the stories of the men who once worked on these famous locomotives and will learn about the operational layout and design of the Cheyenne yards as they were in the late 1950s. The footage used in this production was shot by UP cameramen over a 3 year period, with updated material added by Pentrex in 1993. It’s an unforgettable visit!

Last of the Giants Volume 3: Sherman Hill (70 Minutes)
Allan Krieg, writer and director of Last of the Giants, shares the challenges his camera crews faced while capturing the Big Boys on film. Scenes of the running gear in motion, shot from a camera car on a parallel track, and pacing sequences of the Big Boys on the road are thrilling to see. You’ll ride in the cabs and watch the firemen and engineers at work. Interviews with surviving crew members give you a sense of what it was like to run these giant engines over Sherman Hill. All the scenes shown in this production are compiled from 16mm color film shot between 1955 and 1958.

Big Boys on TV (70 Minutes)
Ed Begley stars in this 1950s NBC Lucky Strike Theater drama about a Big Boy engineer who is struggling with fears about his future. The live broadcast takes you right into the heart of this railroader’s life at home and in the cab of his Big Boy. Pentrex incorporated some of the original footage shot on location showing Big Boys on Sherman Hill and in the Cheyenne yards. (It’s all new material, not used in other Pentrex videos.) We also included the old commercials that aired with the broadcast. They will make you smile.

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5 reviews for The Union Pacific Big Boy Story – a 2 DVD Set

  1. collinvarney24

    The complete story about the Union Pacific’s Big Boys is an awesome addiction to my collection it even show a 1950’s era tv show.

  2. rickyfreni

    This 2004 2 DVD set chronicles the final years of every railfan’s favorite steam giants. We all know that the 1960 film itself was overproduced on almost each and every compilation of other railroad films from the 1890s to the 1970s. But in Volume 2 the Cheyenne shops made in 1993, there is lots of unused film footage during production of the 25 minute film. Some future famous surviving big boys are shown as well as slope back tender engine 4466 shunting one of the 17 scrapped big boys (4007) at the washdown while Jim Ehrenburger makes some small commentaries. Also included in the second Volume is a short February 1993 visit (Can’t believe its already 25 years later) at Cheyenne for the present exams. Sometimes the giants will have to squeeze at the turntable. Also, long retired engineer Steve Lee points out the photographs at the yard.

    In last of the giants 3 made in 1993, there is a visit to fairplex in Pomona California where big boy 4014 used to be on display, but it is still under restoration at Cheyenne. For kids who are familiar with this opening footage, Railplex was shown in the 1994 preschool video: Kidsongs Boppin with the Biggles for the Locomotion and Little Red Caboose segments. Allan Krieg who worked in the 1960 film, met with the pentrex team and told them about his hard work on the film. Plus a look at 4014’s cab as Allan explains the situation with the film crew and the steam crew while the big boy is operating down the line. Then the main 16mm films of the giants are eventually shown as the mighty monsters battle over Sherman hill as Allan explains the biggest challenges he facrdd in the story of the percentages he faced. More interviews with Jim Ehrenburger, Stan Kisler, and Steve Lee are included as well as some more footages of other engines which some survived but 93% of these shown in that program had since been scrapped. Some highlights include a head on shot of 4020, 1958 footage of 6537 and 2295 In Denver to demonstrate the word doubleheading, 5511 hauling freight at green river and now on display in the Cheyenne roundhouse, plus November 1958 footage of 1243 hauling freight and also on display in Cheyenne. There is a semi-awkward moment at the turntabe where 4013 had to be turned, as some pieces of toilet paper was used to smooth the wheels of the handcar. Plus witness 844 still wearing its 2-tone grey paint scheme despite the expired boiler, and 3985 without the tender. This was shot in 100% color. In Big boys on TV made in 1997, there are lots of black and white footages of the giants and early diesels as the whole family enjoys a 60 minute TV show called Lucky Strike Theater which was one of NBC’s first TV shows. Some commercial breaks don’t have anything to do with the union pacific, but I think that vintage film collectors would enjoy this rare piece of early television history compare to today’s unacceptable nonsense.

    Overall, its an absolute must have for railfans of all ages to enjoy again and again.

  3. Dale

    I particularly love this set of DVDs, as not only it illustrates the up and coming of bigger and more powerful steam power, but the in depth narration of the Big Boys, and the crews that worked them!
    Great camera angles and in cab footage, is like your hand is on the throttle and can feel the power pulling thousands of tons of freight through the tunnel. And seeing the shops in action, is definitely a learning experience!

  4. Dale

    I find myself watching all of these over and over!
    It will take you back in time when railroading was manual labor, and the crews that got the job done, day after day.

  5. Ben

    This program really goes in depth covering the latter stage of the careers of the Union Pacific Big Boys although there is some information about other UP steam classes. First there is the UP PR film “Last of the Giants”. Followed by a part about the UP shops during the steam era, a discussion with director Allan Krieg about the making of the film with scenes that didn’t make into the original film, and a theatrical drama from the early 1950’s starring Ed Begley on the Lucky Strike Theatre program. All the while there are extensive views of the Big Boys in action.

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