Most American steam-powered logging railroads had faded into oblivion by the 1940’s. However, the West Side Lumber Company still had significant stands of timber to harvest from inaccessible tracts in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and their three-foot gauge logging railroad, with its geared engines, steamed along until 1960. The fascination of "back woods" railroading enhanced by the rugged beauty of its locale and the lure of the narrow gauge made the West Side a legend in its own time.
Don Olsen’s collection of vintage films provides an amazing picture of the West Side during its final twenty years, and is augmented by maps, historic still photos, and aerial views of many camps. In the spring, double-headed Shays and a wedge plow clear snow from the line and start the season’s action. Unusual scenes such as link ‘n’ pin work trains, wrecks, and flying switches make this West Side epic the most comprehensive video record ever offered.
Veteran Bert Bergstrom began his West Side engineman’s career in 1916. His reminiscences breath life into these sights and sounds of a now-vanished era. This total picture of the West Side operation, masterfully crafted by filmmaker Warren Haack, will gratify logging aficionados, historians and railfans alike.
90 minutes • DVD
20 minutes of bonus footage with only sound effects -- no music or narration.
Black and White, Color and full sound track.
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