ALCO’S on the Island

ALCO’S on the Islandcover

A & R Productions

Length: 70 minutes

Time Period: Late 1960’s

Locations: Long Island City, Jamaica- Union Hall, Port Jefferson, and many more…

Sources: Rolf H. Schneider, Seldom B. Adams

MSRP: 29.95

The Long Island Railroad is shown in the late 1960’s. This one falls under the hard to find category. Realize, the LIRR has a huge passenger- commuter business. The carrier also ran freight trains. In this show, there are barely any freights. Alco powered trains are approximately half the screentime, and split with multiple unit commuter equipment. As this was filmed over at least a few years time, there should have been more freight inclusion.

Ted Dalaku with his usual competent narration. Train sounds are adequate. Attention to detail is apparent by the producer. Many map references are to standard style road maps. Location awareness is well done. A well organized presentation.

advance cannonbal rs3 kew gardensThe Cannonball hustles through Kew Gardens behind a pair of Alco RS3 locomotives. This move is heading to Montauk. Long Island had been acquiring used passenger cars from many various railroads that were exiting the streamliner business. A cornucopia containing former Pennsylvania, Kansas City Southern, Seaboard Coast Line, Florida East Coast and New York Central cars are some of what can be found.

rs3 seacliff                                             RS3 at Seacliff Station in the winter weather.

cannonbal c420 mp54

Long Island Cannonball ( Wabash did not have the only Cannonball). Speeds by an mu.

li c420Long Island C420 passes by in Jamaica. Odd, no scenes of massive Sunnyside Yard.

Seems to have been filmed in 8mm format. Camera is sometimes too close to trackside. Excellent coverage from a geographic standpoint.  As the camera is on a station platform so much, it would be nice to have viewed more of the stations. Further out on the island, the composition improves. On the whole, fair to good cinematography.

alco c420 smokeClassic smoky Alco exhaust. The consist is all ex: New York Central.

mp54 island park drawbridgeLong Beach branch crosses Reynolds Channel. This MP54 set is on the drawbridge on a return move, and is entering Island Park.

m1 nassau towerModern and boring, the 1968 built, M1 trainsets are seen way too much, for an Alco program. Feels like time filler. One scene has Nassau Tower. A landmark for local fans. This structure is more interesting than the interpolating runbys of M1 trains.

union hall mp54

At Union Hall, near Jamaica, an M54 set displays a common 1960’s commuter train. Uncommon, is the single M54 car with a center orange stripe.

lirr 228 c420 fantripAlco C420 in a blue and yellow livery.LIRR 228 is leading a fantrip.

rs3 turntableThe turntable view gives a good side shot of a 1960’s RS3 paint scheme.

dashing danThe Route of the Dashing Commuter was a common logo on the equipment. Dashing Dan was the name for the rushing commuter.

fantripThere was no caboose shot to close the review. This observation car will suffice.

ALCO’s on the Island does showcase the Long Island Railroad in the 1960’s. A steam excursion chase behind a Black River & Western adds variety and demonstrates some of the shortcomings. Cameos by Fairbanks Morse C-Liners and Baby Trainmasters are short and sweet.

Expectations created by the title were only partially met. A single RS1 scene. Zero for Alco switchers. A few FA control units. Only a few freight moves. Abundance of mu trains, while they are good to have, takes away from overall balance.

At the end of the day, this railroad is a scarce one to have vintage films.

Rating: 3 Stars

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