Big Steam & Private Varnish

Big Steam_BLACK-cover

Santa Fe steam locomotive #3751 is captured in a fascinating documentary of its first mainline trip in over 50-years!

Big Steam & Private Varnish

If you are a fan of large steam engines, this one is definitely for you.

In the late 1920’s, The Sante Fe Railway began tests on their new Northern-type steam engine #3751 between Los Angeles, Arizona, and New Mexico.

So successful were the tests, that it wasn’t long before she and her sister engines were seen in daily service all over the Southwest …right up until the end of the steam era.

Then she was put on static display in a city park.

That could have been “end of story” for 3751.

It sure seemed so for a long, long time.

But then in the late 1990’s, a dedicated team took action. The San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society began a major project to restore 3751 to the high-speed, mainline passenger engine she was meant to be. (You’ll learn all about it in the film.)

Once restored, it took another three years of meticulous planning to create a situation where 3751 could really show her stuff. And that occasion was the 62nd annual National Railroad Society convention.

NOTE: All pictures on this page are screen-shots from the DVD’s.


Not only was 3751 returning to the high iron of the Santa Fe, she was on the point of a 14-car private varnish train. (Note to newbies: “Private varnish” is the name given to vintage passenger cars that are privately owned and restored to their original luster.)

Santa Fe Railway's steam locomotive
3751_desert profile_c

Although this journey across the Southwest took place in 2002, it was the first and (as yet) only contemporary trip where 3751 could show off the glory of her days with the historic Santa Fe Railway.

Customer Feedback:

Brilliant DVD’s, mate.

Grahame H

South Australia good, I nearly burned my supper!

William S.

Glendale, Arizona

Tremendous. A superior version of the steam excursion. No comparison at all to (another company)’s video. You covered the highlights of every aspect of the convention and came up with an outstanding video. We can’t wait to show it to our friends.


A great video. Good coverage of all the private varnish…the best I have seen anyone do on the subject


I have looked at (BIG STEAM / STEAM GIANTS) twice already. WOW WOW…that is all I can say about these DVDs. You out did yourself again!


I took my 3751 videos to share with friends at dinner over the holidays and man, we all really enjoyed it. Even the wives, who usually won’t even sit through these things enjoyed it thoroughly.

Harry T


I want to compliment you on the superb product you have created here! My husband usually kids me about falling asleep during train videos. (I like them… I don’t know why I fall asleep.) HOWEVER, this 3751 DVD captured my attention for the entire time—more than 2 hours. Good work!


This video is really neat. My three year-old son watched it about 20 times in the first week.


Huntington Beach, CA

What a fabulous treat your 3751 NRHS video turned out to be. Thank you so much for your contribution to the enjoyment of our hobby!


Film Details

Big Steam and Private Varnish introduces you to this mighty Santa Fe steam engine. 3751 was the first of Santa Fe’s large Northern-type locomotives…big, powerful, technically advanced, and very fast.


To someone seeing a big steam locomotive for the first time, 3751 appears to be some kind of rocket (mounted on very big wheels ?

Featuring scenes from trackside, onboard, pacing, and in the cab, we follow 3751 from departure at Los Angeles Union Station all the way to Williams, Arizona (the gateway to the Grand Canyon National Park).

Along the way you’ll learn about 3751’s development, history, and restoration… while watching her in action.

Private Varnish Tour:
3751 is pulling a consist of 14 historic passenger cars from the Golden Age of passenger rail travel. (These are privately owned cars nicknamed “private varnish” by rail fans.) While touring each one of these vintage cars, the passionate owners share insights about each one.

The Private Varnish cars came from all over the country to be a part of this train.

(Above is the vista dome passenger car The Plaza Santa Fe)
Overland Trail
Royal Gorge

Above are interiors of the exquisitely restored Overland Trail and the Royal Gorge.


WARNING: Once you tour this rolling museum, you may suddenly develop a real longing for a rail journey.

(You don’t need to be a rail fan to enjoy this video. In fact, it may convert some of your friends into railfans.)

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To order the history-rich DVD’s featuring Santa Fe Railway’s #3751 in action, click the button below.
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