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Customer Feedback:

(vol. 1 & 2)

"Thunder From The Wild West is great all-family entertainment. Captures life on the high desert and the impact of a railroad with a destiny."

Model Railroad News
July 2007

"The two DVD's are terrific. The railroad parts are fantastic AND you really captured the majestic scenery beautifully. Your shots of the Grand Canyon are about the best I've ever seen!"

Jay Carsman


My grandson (Sebastian, age 3) and I have been busy watching THE ROCK TRAINS. I think we have watched the DVD about 20-30 times.

No.10 is "Percy" and No.5 is Thomas. He is beginning to anticipate occurrences in the "tale."

He particularly likes the "dumping scenes" and anticipates "cows on the track."

The shot of No.10 chuffing over the Big Michel River bridge is one of the high points for him each time.

We both enjoy ROCK TRAINS very much. And I certainly enjoy sharing the time with Sebastian. Thank you !

Rush Bailey


"What a journey...from tree to final product! I had to go back a couple of times to get a double take of various segments! Great stuff!

I think I have watched Steam Power Sawmill at least 15 times!

The sound on the DVD is as if I was standing right there next to the machinery, that blew me away!

I look forward to future releases!

Once again, thank you for producing a fine movie!

Joel Ashcroft
(Joel has put together a website filled with fascinating logging photos at

"Thanks for producing superior videos. It is most appreciated."

"Thanks for great and outstanding videos!"

"Thanks very much for a brilliant video." (STEAM-POWER SAWMILL)


Like so many of our fans, Stephan loves to build models of railroad operations. Although from Europe he chose to model operations as seen in Western Oregon. You can see pictures of his creativity at his personal website:

We have friends all over the world. We truly appreciate hearing from you. Thanks to all for sharing your feedback and your kind words of encouragement.

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Thunder from the Wild West.

The history of the Grand Canyon National Park explored from a railroad perspective.

Like the wild wild west of the 1880's, the human story unfolds with the beautiful Arizona high desert setting the stage.
Here is just a taste of what you'll get to see.

NOTE: All the following photos are scenes taken directly from the films.
(Copyright Golden Rail Video. All rights reserved.)

Imagine in one short year how a lonely cattle ranch on the Colorado Plateau explodes into a wild west-style Las Vegas?  Suddenly there are saloons, ...gambling, for the trail, ...and fortunes won and lost on a draw of a card. That's what happened to Williams, Arizona in 1881-'82.

Williams, Arizona

Cowboys, prospectors, loggers, ranchers, workers, and fortune-seekers suddenly ride in from all over the high desert and beyond to forge a town where the rules are being made up as they go along.

What was the thunder-clap that started this "stampede"?

It was the Santa Fe Pacific Railway.

In 1881, the Santa Fe carved the first mainline across the state of Arizona...and nothing would ever be the same.

New arrivals to Williams, Arizona Williams, Arizona railroad yard
More scenes from the films. Settlers arrive in Williams, Arizona. Many stayed there to work for the railroad.

Can you believe it?
Back then, the Grand Canyon was considered nothing more than a "big hole" inside a forest preserve. Good for mining...and maybe "spittin' into". Prospectors were about the only ones really interested in it.

Yet in just a few years, the Santa Fe Railway would jubilantly proclaim itself to be "The Grand Canyon Line"?

Well, that's just part of the little-known history of the world's most famous National Park. ...the history that comes alive for you in Thunder From the Wild West.

The Grand Canyon

Thunder From the Wild West brings to life the often-ignored railroad history of the Park  and the historic spur-track heading north off the Santa Fe main known as The Grand Canyon Railway. it got it grew...and how it changed the lives of the people of the high desert Canyonlands.

High desert ranching became easier thanks to the arrival of the railroad. Old ranch bunk house beside the railroad loading pens.

Visiting the site of historic cattle ranches along the line gives you a glimpse of life in the high desert before and after the arrival of the Santa Fe Railway.

And then half a century later, you'll see why the Grand Canyon Railroad operation whithered and was abandoned by the Santa Fe.  You learn how it was all nearly torn up ...and yet how it miraculously came back to life.

Massive comeback effort
In the last decade of the 20th Century, a new Grand Canyon Railway sprang to life with a race against time to bring their first steamer (#18) back to life from a 35-year slumber...while the whole world watched!

Grand Canyon Railway shop Grand Canyon Railway shop scene

The new railroad was privately owned.  And the owner wanted it to be an all-steam operation. Their steam fleet grew along with their reputation.  We'll tour the locomotive shop where legendary steam locomotive #4960 was carefully restored...costing over one and a half million dollars!

First generation diesels from the 1950's are now almost as rare as steam locomotives. The new Grand Canyon Railway acquired some of those, too.It was an elegant fleet of ALCO passenger diesels. (Have you ever seen the engine-room of these old beasts?  In Thunder from the Wild West you will.)

Steam locomotive 4960 and 1st generation ALCO diesels. ALCO passenger diesels - rare set of ABB units.

See moments frozen in time... with snowy winter railroading with steam, first generation diesel equipment, and vintage Pullman passenger cars.. Exclusive, historic footage enriches Thunder From the Wild West into a film of mythic proportions.

Engine #29 in a blizzard
Engine #29 challenges a winter blizzard
(extremely rare footage from the railway's early years is featured in both  Thunder From the Wild West and Thunder in the Canyons).

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The Rock Trains dvd and box
91 min.
5.1 Dolby Surround Sound

Thunder From the Wild West
Only $24.95

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(Copyright Golden Rail Video. All rights reserved.)

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Thunder in the Canyons

Explore 24-hours on a real steam railroad!

Rare action from the early years of the Grand Canyon Ry when it was an all-steam operation.
  Captured from the inside with the complete co-operation of railroad crews.

Thunder in the CanyonsThunder in the Canyons

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the steam locomotive was the world's "high-tech".  No one was unaffected. And our lives were changed forever.

The steam engine is in our collective "DNA of consciousness and culture." Every family in America once had brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, parents, or children who worked for the steam railroads. The everyday lives of so many generations were defined by service to this technology.

But, the daily chores that once dominated our recent ancestors' lives have vanished.

Did you wonder if you could get even a small glimpse into their day-to-day work lives ...the lives of so many of our great grand parents? What would you see?

Williams depot in Arizona Railway Express cart Santa Fe Railway maintenance activity
Some folks worked on equipment. Others worked the depots and stations across America.

Thunder in the Canyons will take you there.

For a brief moment the new Grand Canyon Railway was like no where else in North America. A place where steam locomotives traveled 128-miles every day delivering passengers to one of the world's greatest natural wonders.

Grand Cayon Railway train climbs out of the high desert

Thunder in the Canyons is more than "a day in the life" of a steam locomotive. It is an exploration of a world lost in time...and the people who some how managed to live in that lost world.

Many people in your family may have once worked for a railroad and lived a life such as the people you'll meet.

The Living Past
Meet the night hostlers.  They prepared the mighty steam locomotives for their daily 128-mile trip to the Grand Canyon and back. (This is no stroll-in-the-park for a steam locomotive. This is serious railroading!)

Hostler on the Grand Canyon Railway Grand Canyon Railway yard at 4:00 AM
A night hostler reflects on doing a job from the 19th century while outside the locomotive builds up steam for the day.

These fascinating activities are now almost forgotten. The coverage here is so engrossing you can almost feel the steam and smell the grease.

You'll meet the engineer...a position that quickly took on mythological proportions.

You'll meet the fireman...once one of the most important jobs on the railroad.

While the engineer received all the glory, it was the fireman who kept the train rolling...running a fine line between wasting company resources or destroying the locomotive in a very dramatic way. Running a steam locomotive was the ultimate TEAM effort...and your life depended on doing it right.

Grand Canyon Railway fireman Grand Canyon Railway engineer.
Fireman and engineer take a moment to talk about working on a steam railroad.

We'll take an exciting ride in the cab of the Grand Canyon Railway's big Mikado-type steam engine #4960 as she plunges 1000 feet down into the high desert only to climb back up another 1100 feet to get to the forested resorts at the "South Rim" of the Canyon.

Cab ride in the big Mikado steam engine #4960 Engineer's view from the cab of 4960.

Explore historic locations along the line to learn more of the picturesque history of the Canyonlands...and the lasting impact of the railway.

Highballing across the open prairie.

You'll see spectacular photo runbys of the trains. You'll even learn about the fateful bridge washout in the early days of the Santa Fe Railway.


Do you think steam technology was dead?

Not a chance. Hear the inside story from the railway's CMO (chief mechanical officer Sam Lanter) on 21st century developments that were applied to the old steamers. Can they really be made more efficient than a diesel locomotive?

A fun bonus:
Visit behind the scenes with the railway's Cataract Creek Gang, where real cowboys take devilish delight in pretending to be their Hollywood counterparts...cowboys planning to hold up the train...all to total amusement of the passengers.

Catarac Creek Gang attempts to rob the train. Train robber on the Grand Canyon Railway Train robber tries to talk his way out of his mis-deeds.
Cataract Creek Gang stages a train robbery. A "robber" tries to talk his way out of it to the Marshall. (scenes from the film.)

Santa Fe 3751 and 4960
Santa Fe steam engine #3751 makes a surprise appearance double-heading with 4960.

Grand Canyon Railway #18 and #4960 double-head.
Steam engine #18 also appears double-heading with #4960.

So there you have it. A North American railroad adventure unlike any other. (See customer feedback and published reviews below.)

They're both too good to miss.... both feature-length, both entirely original, and each tells their own unique story of historic steam railroading in the Southwest.

And both films are now available on DVD.

This is such an unusual production, does it even surprise you that it took over 15-years to produce it for you? This is a really BIG show that you are guaranteed to thoroughly enjoy.


"Now here is a video you'll want to see because it is so well produced you will be entertained throughout the film."

"The most revealing aspect of the video is the content and editing. What could have been a fairly dull subject has been made into exciting, living history.

"The viewer is treated to a wide range of action shots, interviews, insights, and original orchestral music. This adds up to a different kind of railroad video that informs and entertains at the same time."

"A great video that is well worth the price."

The Heimberger Press

"The Grand Canyon Railway is one of the greatest historic rail operations in the country. Thunder Under Heaven (Vol 1&2) tells the story with a lively mix of contemporary video, historic black-and-white stills, interviews, maps, and original music."

"For a program about the Grand Canyon Railway, look no further than the Thunder From the Wild West and Thunder in the Canyons...(the Thunder Under Heaven series)."
TRAINS Magazine

"Classic steam engines and shop operations make this a video that will fascinate and intrigue everyone, including that die-hard railfan. Not to be missed."
Route 66 Magazine

  The Rock Trains dvd and box
104 min.
5.1 Dolby Surround Sound

Thunder From the Wild West

Only $24.95

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Show me my shipping cart.

I want to PRINT an order form that I can fax or mail in the old-fashioned way.

To order on-line click here.
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