In two different trips between Cheyenne and Portland, Oregon, UP 844 (renumbered as 8444 when this footage was shot in 1974 and 1979) steams along – with no diesel support – pulling a long Armour Yellow consist over the steepest grades on the Union Pacific system. The train sets out from Colorado, climbs Sherman Hill, and blazes down Weber and Echo canyons into Utah. We pace her across Idaho. The DVD tracks the engine on four runs over the Blue Mountains between La Grande and Pendleton crowned with snow. Dynamic pacing shots follow 8444 mile after mile at 70 MPH along the azure rim of the great Columbia River Gorge, through tunnels, over bridges, and across long fills reflected in the deep blue of the river itself.
Bonus footage depicts a Great Northern passenger train climbing the arid canyon of the Deschutes River, a tributary of the Columbia River, accessible only by train. Watch from a Dutch door while a moonscape scenery unfolds between Wishram and Madras.