A & R Productions
Length: 34 minutes
Time Period: 1950’s.
Locations: Chicago area, Waterloo, Bloomington
Sources: Blackhawk Collection
Old trolley films often give us an up close look into the past. The midwest had some well-known and obscure lines. This collection has both. Contains approximately half color film. A variety of interurbans are visited. However, most have cameo appearances.
Illinois Terminal is up first. Filmed in 1952 around Bloomington, Ill.. Nearly all of it was shot through the arched front window, of a streetcar. Looks and feels rather odd. Imagery is dark overall. A mixture of: narration, on screen graphics and total silence are in this unusual segment. The feature feels way too long, for what is viewed. At nearly a third of the program length, this segment is more for hardcore fans, then general railfan interest.
Waterloo, Cedar Falls & Northern. This line is located in Iowa. Closed in 1958. Audio here has live sound. Film is underexposed. You will see some of Waterloo and ride into rural farmland. Motorman and dog are friendly. Above is the Chicago Great Western overpass. Not much going on in this place.
We are at the mid-point of this show. So far, it is an unremarkable pair of presentations.
Move to the Chicago area for the remainder of the show.
North Shore Line. A few brief scenes with a Silverliner in one. Alas, in black and white.
Chicago, South Shore & South Bend. One color scene.
Chicago, Aurora & Elgin. Another brief glimpse. Had no idea that Des Plaines had this much accommodation for the CA&E. If this is correct info. By the way, this would be the easternmost point. Obviously, Aurora is westbound from here.
Chicago Transit Authority. This look at the CTA is the best part of the show. Where the previous snippets promised interesting sights, here it is delivered. Old turn of the century and newest 1948 built cars are seen. Assorted paint schemes.
Midwest Interurbans is a mixed bag. The Chicago area material has the goods. At 34 minutes, too much time is spent on the lower quality first half of the program. Does this drop the ratings? Yes it does. There are better, quality releases available on the market.
Still, the Chicago area films are fine. There simply isn’t enough to carry the whole show.
Rating: 2 Stars