Product Review: Norfolk Southern’s Pittsburgh Line Volume 1 DVD


One of my favorite lines to railfan is Norfolk Southern’s Pittsburgh Line. When I saw this DVD available from J&O Railroad Productions recently at a train show, I jumped at the chance to watch it. This DVD did not disappoint!

One of the great benefits of today’s technology is it enables small-time operations to compete with the “big boys,” as the cost of equipment needed to produce high-quality products can be obtained much easier and at a much lower cost. This is also true for video production, as High-Def videos that at one time would have only been produced by larger companies such as Pentrex, can now be created with readily available video cameras, and video production can be performed from a desktop computer.

Volume 1 of Norfolk Southern’s Pittsburgh Line covers the line from Harrisburg to Lewistown, PA. The show is broken into 18 chapters, and covers the line from east to west. Special attention is also paid to “hot spot” locations such as Rockville Bridge. It appears all footage in the DVD was shot between late 2011 and early 2012, and covers NS operations on the Pittsburgh Line in great detail. Each train that passes includes a ribbon displayed at the bottom of the screen which includes the NS train number, where it originated, where it will terminate, and each engine number and class of locomotive in the consist. This is a wealth of information to be included for each train, more than you usually see on screen.

In addition to the on-screen information in the ribbon, a gold mine of knowledge is obtained from the narration. Where some videos can be “overly narrated,” there is just enough information here to give you background information on operations. The video is also designed as sort of a “railfan guide,” including maps and directions how to get to where the video was shot if you would ever like to go there to see the action first-hand.  All footage in the video is shot from public property, and much of the areas are very easily accessible by vehicle.

The entire video runs about 1 hour 20 minutes, and ends by briefly covering Lewistown, including the final remaining passenger train to travel on the Pittsburgh Line, Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian, making a station stop. It is just a tease, however, as Lewistown will be covered in-depth in Volume 2.

If you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Line, this DVD is a must-have for your collection. Check out their website and some of the other fine titles available from them at They are currently working on editing for Volume 2 of the Pittsburgh Line, which will cover Lewistown to Altoona. I will be looking forward to viewing it.

The video above is a “teaser video” showing what you will find on the video. Note that the footage on the actual DVD does not have music playing.

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