True-Life Adventures of Real Tank Engines

Real Tank Engines_cover

For any child that loves Thomas and Friends (the way mine did), this is the perfect holiday gift:

The True-Life Adventures of Real Tank Engines

Real Tank Engines is both fun and educational (whether for kids or adults).

Your DVD contains two versions.

One version is in a story-book style for children…and the other is in a documentary-style for grown-ups.

(And I can’t tell you how many adults say they love the kids version best.)

Kids will discover the connection between storybook trains and real trains by having a real tank engine tell them things from “his point of view.” (This truly is the “Little Engine That Could”).


I just wanted to let you know that both grandsons enjoyed Rock Trains. They especially liked it when the rocks get dumped…out of the side of the car. Aidan absolutely loves his Real Tank Engines. Usually the train videos stay at my house, but he packs that one around with him. It’s fast moving… and the engines are numbered….he has a thing with numbers ?

Rhonda Kinser

Hotchkiss, CO

Parents Summary:

“Thomas” has a real friend. His name is “Dinky”

For the kid’s version the story begins…..

…in a rain storm outside a shopping mall.

Sitting quietly on display is a lonely little steam engine named Dinky.

Dinky tries to talk to people as they hurry by…but no one seems to notice.

Dinky soon attracts the attention of some passers-by (you).

Soon, he is telling you all about his life as a Real Tank Engine. Because, even though tank engines were small, they were very important. They were found on every railroad in the world.

He introduces you to some of his tank engine buddies. (…all real operational tank engines from around the country.)

He shows us how he makes steam inside his boiler and how that gives him lots of energy.

He invites us to follow his friend Quincy as he switches some cars from a siding and brings them back to the yard.

Then he shows us (with more action footage) what his life was like before he came to be put on display at the mall.

He reminds us whenever you see a little tank engine sitting somewhere in a park, that little engine was once very important…and lived an exciting life.

Dinky invites you to come back and say hello whenever you can.


I had my 21 month Grandson over today (who is potty about steam trains) and he would not move from the TV all morning. A little young perhaps for the story and information. …the train noises and the motion and steam etc. Loved it. Thanks for a great product (REAL TANK ENGINES).

Robyn Gabriel

Auckland, New Zealand

Just managed to watch your newest one, Real Tank Engines. AWESOME! I thought I was watching something produced by Walt Disney or National Geographic. The quality is superb. Editing is excellent. Narration is right where it should be. The music background was well chosen and used in the right places. And, I love the on screen graphics you used, such as in pointing out the wheel arrangements by drawing “O’s or using arrows. Neat! I liked it so well, I then decided to watch the children’s version. I loved it just as much. It made (it) easy to understand the operation of a tank steam locomotive. Yessiree, I reckon Golden Rail Video has got a real winner and deserves an award,…… a Telly Award? Thanks again.

Farol Hankle

Flushing, MI

We’ve gotten even more feedback from aunts, uncles, mom’s and dad’s saying their little engineer loves their REAL TANK ENGINES. (And the kids aren’t even aware that they are learning some pretty advanced science about steam expansion and other things…because they’re captivated by the pictures and story.)

So, for any kid from two on up (and I mean, all the way up), we’re sure you’ll have a hit with True-Life Adventures of Real Tank Engines.

And that is what makes us happy.

Here’s info about the film for railfans.

This show is a little different from our others…for a couple reasons.

1st…the subject matter.
We chose the most common and yet most over-looked type of steam engine in the world…the tank engine.

This is the diminutive little iron horse that was part of every railroad, no matter how big or how small.

Although I really like steam locomotives, I kind of dismissed tank engines as not being all that interesting.
But, since producing this video, all that has changed.

I guess owe a debt of gratitude to my kids. When they were little we spent a lot of time with Thomas the Tank Engine.

And that got me to thinking….and thinking…and thinking.

The result is this video. And I think it is so much fun to watch, you may well be showing it to everyone… even the non-railfans you may know.

The True-Life Adventures of Real Tank Engines features 12 different steam locomotives to tell its story. It gives you rare action scenes and the rich historic details you’ve come to expect from Golden Rail.

Tank Engines were adaptable….and so is this DVD.

The dvd features 2 versions of the film.

One version is in our standard style… mixing information and action. It presents background technical details about tank engines.
After considering designs variations and features, we follow along as an Alco 2-6-2T (Quincy Railroad #2) heads out of the switchyard to a mainline siding to shuffle some freight cars around. Back in the day, this is exactly the kind of thing a tank engine would be called upon to do. It is really fun to see it recreated where you can really take in the action and sounds.

And like all Golden Rail dvd’s, those sounds are presented in 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound.

The other version is the one for the kids.
Especially kids who only know of tank engines from Thomas and Friends.

In this version the narrator is “Dinky” …a spunky little 40-ton tank engine from 1884! (Satsop Railroad #1, a Porter-built 2-4-0T and the first engine we see in the show). “Dinky” is a survivor. He still lives on, but he is stuck on a display traTo order REAL TANK ENGINES, click outside a shopping mall.

And the story unfolds from there.
If you have any little engineers dropping by the house, this is a video they will probably love! (One person wrote in and said her 3 year old grandson carries the dvd around in his backpack in case they go on trips.)
(And kids actually learn a few things about physics and real trains…such as, the “magic of steam expansion!”)

So REAL TANK ENGINES is a show kids and adults can watch together and you’ll both enjoy it!

Both versions share the same full-color action sequences, including rare scenes of a steam triple-header …all with tank engines!

Below are a few preview scenes from

The True-Life Adventures of Real Tank Engines:

Production Notes About the DVD.

Notes from producer Rob Simpson:

This production turned out to be the most challenging show we have ever undertaken. (I had no idea it would when the idea first appeared in my head!)

Kids and Trains
Right from the start of our little company (Golden Rail Video), parents have written to us to say their kids (or grandkids) love our videos.

This was interesting because we have always produced our shows with adults in mind…adults who are pretty serious about trains. That’s why we put so much effort to tell a real railroad story with lots of action …mixed with lots of history …plus a few fascinating techno-facts to boot.

But, we never actually produced a show with kids in mind.

Lovin’ The Kids
I am a parent. When my kids were little they loved Thomas the Tank Engine. We sure watched a lot of Thomas videos together… and we all read the books together, too. (Which is something I highly recommend.)

Even though we loved the G-scale garden railway-type trains they used in the Thomas videos, Thomas and Friends were storybook characters. Behind the story book characters, the videos only implied what real tank engines looked like …or what they did …or how they did it.

The story still needed to be told for children about the world of real tank engines.

Tracking Down our Tank Engines
I had been gathering footage of tank engines for years. But, when I heard that the Niles Canyon Railway (located in Sunol, CA…just southeast of San Francisco) would be hosting a steam triple-header-weekend with all tank engines, I knew this was the final piece of the puzzle I had been waiting for.

I also knew that the footage was going to be just way too cool to be only for children.

So, the solution was two versions on one DVD.

A Big Cast of Characters

Kids get to see lots of different trains, too. It took over a dozen different steam engines to help make the story of Real Tank Engines come alive.

Whether your kids like “Thomas the Train”, or “The Little Engine That Could,” this new video should quickly become a new favorite they’ll want to enjoy again and again.

Each DVD contains two versions. For adults, there’s a real documentary.
By using the same footage as the kids version, but with different narration, the video is transformed into something unique… the world’s first tank engine documentary.

And there’s a good reason no one has done this before. When people talk about steam locomotives, they usually think of the big ones.
Few seem to remember the little TANK ENGINES.

Tank engines were vitally important. As common a sight as trucks are today.

So, REAL TANK ENGINES is about more than just the little iron horse. It’s a picture-window into a real part of our steam railroading heritage.
If you’re anything like me, one viewing of this show and you’ll never over-look a tank engine again.

Steam Engines 101
A lot of people who like trains aren’t always sure about how steam locomotives run. Watching this show, you’ll learn a bit about the inner workings. Steam engines were an amazing innovation in their day. In fact, they still are.

Rare Footage

The video features some footage we shot even before there was an official Golden Rail Video company… footage of some action so rare, I don’t think it could ever happen again.

We were sure lucky to be there when it happened. And I’m really happy to be able to share the footage with you in this production.

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