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