I have recently acquired a very interesting DVD: "Steam in Roumania August 1969". It contains 57 minutes of footage filmed in Romania in 1969, the last year when the steam locomotives handled the largest share of rail traffic in this country. The video was filmed by none other than Ton Pruissen, the famous producer of historical railway films who has dedicated his life to filming steam locomotives. His passion began when he was only 16 years old and as the years passed, he created unparalleled quality films about steam locomotives. In 1969 he took a "steam trip" to Romania, where he found friendly people and cooperative railway men, and, in spite of the odds of being arrested, he succeeded in producing high-quality footage about the magnificent CFR steam locomotives, with their unique polished brass embellishment.
The film starts off by presenting some interesting facts about the Romanian steamers, such as they used a system of dual firing (coal and oil), because Romania had plenty of oil but no coal, or such as the fact that Romanian steam locomotive series were numbered according to the French system, where the wheel arrangement (according to Whyte notation) was divided by two, the leading zeros omitted and so the class number was obtained (for example a 4-6-2 was included in the 231.000 series and a 2-8-4 was in the 142.000 series). Also at the beginning of the film some main classes of the CFR steam locomotives are enumerated and presented: the Prussian P8, Prussian G10, Prussian G81, 2-6-0 and 2-6-2 steam locos, 2-8-2 rack locos, the 2-10-0 locos based on the German class 50, the magnificent 2-8-4s based on Austrian design and the elegant Pacifics.
The trip begins at Timisoara. It continues with images of the Subcetate-Boutari rack line. After that comes the station of Cluj, where a considerable amount of the footage was filmed. Next is Sibiu and the narrow gauge line to Agnita. Finally, it ends with Bucuresti (Bucharest), home of the Romanian Pacifics.
The film is tightly packed with important historical shots, it contains rare images of important types of Romanian steam locomotives, many of which are the few such steamers that have escaped scrapping and can be seen exhibited today. It is a pleasant, enjoyable film, with well organized content. Most of it (about 90%) is in black and white and it is obvious that the used filming equipment is what was available over 40 years ago, but that does not spoil the fun at all. The commentary is in English and is very good (but I've heard that versions with German commentary are also available).
Here is a short teaser of the DVD:
The short clip was made available by Camden Miniature Steam Services, which is where I ordered the DVD from: Steam in Roumania August 1969 at Camden Miniature Steam Services.