Steel Rails

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Steel Rails

Unread postby MrDockTrack » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:59 pm

Many moons ago, on a local public access channel broadcasting to the greater Jenison-metropolitan area, some might know the channel as WCET, there was a show called 'Steel Rails'. Somebody with a camcorder filmed trains around the area. This would've been in the early to mid 1990's. Anyone recall this show, or have any idea how to get any of that material placed on youtube? I called the office and they seemed oblivious to what I was even talking about. How disappointing.
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Raildudes dad » Thu Mar 29, 2018 7:51 am

Contact Steamlogger on this board. He was one of the videographers :D
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Eric Berger » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:01 am

You might try finding out when the next Cable Commission meeting is, and asking them. They might know of someone who'd know about it, or perhaps even know who the production crew was.

That may be your only bet; I used to work in public access as a video tech student in high school (Volunteer -- but it counted toward my grade in the course.) Most of the staff there were volunteers -- high school video tech students. So no one at the office knowing about it really doesn't surprise me, as they probably weren't even born yet when it was on. I think we had one or two paid directors, but those usually didn't stay for longer than two years tops; I remember they literally changed with the wind.

Having said the above, though, I doubt they'd even have copies of the show now. I remember that we'd routinely wipe tapes after so many years, so unless someone recorded it when it was aired, I'd say your chances of finding a copy would be between slim and none.
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Steamlogger » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:45 pm

RDD is correct with the help of my brother we produced Steel Rails. We made 48 episodes, if my memory is correct, in the early 90's. They were 30 minutes (28 actually) long.
They covered a variety of railroad subjects model and prototype most were local to Grand Rapids, Michigan but some in surrounding states.
We brought tapes to three cable access stations in the Grand Rapids area, Grandville Jenison (WCET), Wyoming Kentwood (WKTV), and Grand Rapids (GRTV). We did all the production ourselves. I have the master tapes here but have not looked at them in some time.
I would like to upload them to You Tube someday. Just need to get the equipment setup and the time.
Have you watched the videos by mygirl22ward https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtWleSydELUL4W3cYVrYlkQ ? He was shooting video around the same time we were.

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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Raildudes dad » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:39 pm

Crazy time warp :) My kids, daughter 7-8 and son 2-3 at the time would sit fixated watching the videos. LOL
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby tsinoms » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:16 pm

Was that the same show that featured stuff from on the CSX Holly Sub and also a view out the back of the PM? Trying to remember those as we used to have them taped. All gone now. :(
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Raildudes dad » Wed Apr 04, 2018 5:14 pm

Mostly Wyoming Yard. They grew up on the first street south of the yard between Judd and Burlingame.
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby MrDockTrack » Fri Apr 06, 2018 8:42 am

Great news! Here I was thinking the footage was lost to the ages, or changing technology. Growing up, this show and Rescue 911 were appointment television for me. I hope that this culturally important material can be placed on YouTube for all to enjoy sometime soon. Thanks for the replies.
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Steamlogger » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:56 pm

Steel Rails Vol 1 No 1 Logging Locomotives is now available on YouTube
Featuring Skip Luyk's model RR and Cass Scenic RR as well as a couple notable trains in west Michigan at the time.
https://youtu.be/HV5qc11IuXE

These were produced starting in the summer of 1992.

The video quality is not the best being 27 year old videos.

I plan on uploading all the videos in the series in the future.
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Steamlogger » Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:08 pm

Vol 1 No 2 is now on YouTube
https://youtu.be/5Uh8Cz4YojA

Featuring:
Motor Cars on the Coopersville and Marne RR
EMD SD70M Demonstrators 7000 and 7001
Pandrol Jackson Rail Grinder passing the Market St. Amtrak station
CSXT GE MATE slug at Wyoming Engine house
Weed Spray train at Plaster Creek

This series of videos was made to promote the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Club in Grand Rapids Michigan starting in 1992
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby EWRice » Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:36 pm

Holy crap. The C&M sure looks different. Marne yard is almost unrecognizable and downtown Coopersville is sure different.
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby MrDockTrack » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:20 pm

I recall the C&M episode quite clearly. This is great stuff. Good memories!
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Tue Mar 05, 2019 12:22 pm

Great videos. Thank you for posting.
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Steamlogger » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:55 am

Another "exciting" Steel Rails has been uploaded LOL
https://youtu.be/bFFS0RHRQ-0

Steel Rails Vol 1 No 3 Build an Ntrak module

Featuring:
Building a four foot Ntrak module
A train with a D&H GP38 arriving at Plaster creek tower
Railfanning Grand Rapids MI

This series of videos was made to promote the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Club in Grand Rapids Michigan starting in 1992
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby Steamlogger » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:33 am

This episode features more prototype railroading

https://youtu.be/Pp9fBQ_D0-Y

Steel Rails Vol 1 No 4 Locomotive Rebuilding
Featuring:
Grand Trunk Battle Creek locomotive shop tour
Views outside CSX's Huntington WV shops
Trackside at Thurmond WV
Railfanning at Trowbridge
CSX track clearance high rail at night


This series of videos was made to promote the Grand Rapids Model Railroad Club in Grand Rapids Michigan starting in 1992
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Re: Steel Rails

Unread postby GreatLakesRailfan » Mon Mar 11, 2019 12:34 am

Wow. I can certainly see why these were so popular. Even if I did just watch someone build an N-trak module with primative hand tools :P :twisted:

I'm pretty sure some of the modules in our club are at least that old- is that particular module still around?

This is the kind of thing I would've eaten up in the early '90's, if anyone in my area had produced something similar (to my knowledge they did not). Even if these were just intended as a promotion for your club, from the other comments in this thread, you accomplished more than that. Thank you for sharing them so those of us who didn't get to see them when they were on TV can see then today.

For the visual learners in my local N-trak group, I think I'm going to start referring them to your how-to video (Vol 1, #3) for getting started building their first module- that's the best description of the basics of building a 4' module that I've come across so far.
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