C. Vision Productions
Length: 66 minutes + previews
Time Period: 1950’s
Locations: Des Moines, LaCrosse, Oelwein and many more..
Source: George Niles
A collection of midwestern action that includes some rare scenes. Steam and diesel, as well as an interurban gas car. Filmed by George Niles. Wisconsin and Iowa locations. Passenger and freight. All color film. Narration and music soundtrack.
C Vision has this interesting variety of late steam and early diesel action in Corn Belt. The Rock Island stars for nearly half of the show. Milwaukee Road has plenty of screentime. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy is present. A little Chicago Great Western. An industrial train at Redfield Brick and Tile. Some definite rare trains and equipment are on hand in this program.
The color 8mm films were shot by George Niles. He has various viewpoints that work well overall. At times he was too close to the trains. Fortunately, the majority of scenes have good composition. All of the films are pretty clean looking. There are some damaged frames too. Quality is good to very good. The colors are bright and vibrant. Perhaps these reels were well preserved somewhere.
Don Grant performs the narrative. The script has some detail and good information. More narration would have been welcome. On / off switchable musical background. They have expanded from some earlier efforts in the music department. Relaxed pace and sometimes too laidback. Many locations and no maps are included.
Locations are by on screen graphics and descriptive narration. Chapter menu and organization is nicely done. Editing is sharp and smooth. The only concern, is some apparent film skipping or camera jumping. Not much can be done there. The rarity means that viewers live with the flaws. Otherwise, it is mostly good, clean footage.
Opening with coverage of Rock Island, near Des Moines, Iowa. What an awesome record of transitional era action. An overview of all types of activity. It has mostly slower speeds, that are conducive to trainwatching.
Original red and black paint schemes were a reflection of the 1950’s. Deluxe and attractive passenger equipment too. The Rock Island never looked as prosperous. It is a sight to see the different early diesels operating in new condition.
Check that super rare EMC TA as the trailing unit on a football game special! These were built in 1937 as a lightweight locomotive for smaller Rock Island streamliners. Rated at 1200 horsepower, they were the forerunner of the F unit series. Here, it just passes by quietly.
The Milwaukee Road is also impressive. Some big steam operates along with the newer EMD diesels here. Between Des Moines and Spirit Lake, Iowa is a visit to a gas electric interurban on Milwaukee Road.
The Gas Electric train is ridden on a branchline to Spirit Lake. The exterior shows a typical ’50’s era scene. A steam era watertank and period automobile set the scene. This gas car action is very rare.
Chicago Great Western gets a few scenes. This is the Corn Belt scheme.
Redfield Brick and Tile is an industrial narrow gauge that is another scarce find.
If you want to add to your vintage collection, this is a good choice. Railfans and model railroaders should enjoy this program.
Rating: 4 Stars