Midwest Electric Rails

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Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1950 – 1962

Locations: Chicago, Milwaukee, South Bend..

Length: 1 hour 38 minutes

Sources: R. Gabriel, D. Kydd, B. Warrick, J. Swenson, J. Illman, G. Barnes, W. Whittaker

Visit the streets of Chicago, in the Streetcar era! See the Milwaukee vicinity. Ride an Electroliner, from Milwaukee to Chicago! See the South Shore operation. All of this and much more. Note  the lack of suburban sprawl, in both major cities.. Vintage vehicles, period businesses, and the people.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h34m04s975Consistent with other trolley, streetcar or electric line programs. A time machine like trip into a bygone era. This show has high quality color movie film. Appears to be 16mm for the majority. All restored films. Stunning appearance!

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h37m49s544Audio has many scenes with: trolley sounds and often, automobile traffic. Musical backgrounds that vary. Charles Smiley with the narrative. Very informative. Plenty of history. Still photos augment the discussions. A PBS style program.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h58m05s590A single factory pressed DVD. Detailed Chapter Menu. On-screen graphics. The CSP exclusive, custom made maps. All the extras!

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h20m39s755Chicago Surface Lines. A humongous system of over 1,000 miles. Intriguing period footage that contains vintage Chicago.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h26m58s535Charles goes into the various Trolley cars, but look at those street scenes! Check the Divco milk truck at left.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h38m56s179The CSL has beautiful footage of Chicago.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h31m40s233Locals know that Chicagoans love their beer! Often visible on: buildings, signs and delivery trucks. It’s fun to find some old brands.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h43m38s973Chicago, Aurora and Elgin in full color. This line seen in 1950. Ran west and is now a recreational Illinois prarie path for biking and hiking. The Forest Park station is seen. The line was closed in 1959.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h39m47s729CA&E quickly escapes the city, back in those days.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h46m48s684Milwaukee Electric, original went as far north to Green Bay, until 1948. Check that Schlitz tavern. That is interesting history, as well. Schlitz Beer having once built beautiful taverns. A quality brew, to boot! At least until the 1960s.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h51m08s029Ride through Milwaukee.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h48m43s648West Junction, this is open country.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-11h56m35s271East Troy with a box motor. Survives at Illinois Railway Museum, in Union, Illinois.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-12h00m40s464Chicago, South Shore and South Bend.  They had 80 seat coaches. 803 is a Little Joe and exists today at Illinois Railway Museum. Other freight motors were on the roster.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-12h11m33s786The South Shore is visited from: South Bend to Chicago. The Illinois Central yards are viewed. This ICRR equipment is included.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-12h14m12s722Rock Island commuter trains serving LaSalle Street Station make for a surprise Chapter. Action in the 1960s and ’70s.

Even more Union Station and a little Amtrak film, from the 1970s. Burlington Northern mainly. Gulf,Mobile and Ohio with The Plug!

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-12h27m40s985lIlinois Terminal had Interurban service.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-13h10m17s957North Shore. The last electric line featured. This one ran North to Milwaukee. Here are the well known, Electroliners. Footage from 1962 in Milwaukee. One year prior to abandon.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-12h49m09s866The highlight of this show. Ride the North Shore Electroliner to Chicago! The sights are pointed out by Charles.

vlcsnap-2019-12-22-12h01m12s862Electric Rails is right at the top of the Charles Smiley Presents shows, on Streetcars. The plethora of clear movie film, gives this one an advantage. Riding the Electroliner, gives a viewer a more complete experience. While, one can’t go wrong with his Los Angeles or Bay Area shows. This Electric Rails of mainly Chicago… rules.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Canadian Electric Rails

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Producer: Charles Smiley

Timeframe: 1950s

Locations: Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, more

Length: 1 hour 11 minutes

Sources: William Warrick, William Whittaker, Bentley Salkeld, Lloyd Salkeld, Richard Pratt

Charles Smiley takes us back in time. The decade of the 1950s. Five Electric lines in Canada. Always said that Charles would have made a great History Instructor. Here is an opportunity to see and learn!

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-14h40m23s686A single, factory pressed DVD. Detailed Chapter Menu. A 20 minute bonus section of previews. All the usual CSP extras. On-screen graphics. Custom made reference maps.

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-14h14m40s101Let’s look at the five individually.

Predominantly, a color film program. Small segments, of black and white footage. All restored to best appearance. PBS style program. Period photographs. Meticulous attention; to a recreation of trolley/ streetcar sounds and environment. Background music that is appropriate. Everything is first class. Full narration by Charles Smiley.

London & Port Stanley

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-14h22m13s190This electrified line ran from Port Stanley to London. Recreational passenger service, and local service.

vlcsnap-2019-11-21-13h54m29s869Station @St. Thomas, Ontario.

vlcsnap-2019-11-21-13h58m34s858BX Tower. The Interurban lines had facilities similar to regular railroads. Yards, Towers, Stations and some a turntable. Specialized equipment too.

 

Niagara, St. Catherine’s & Toronto

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-14h34m08s821The largest Company. Controlled by Canadian National. Served Niagara Falls, amoung other areas. Commonly known as the NS&T.

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-14h40m11s959One of many custom made maps.

vlcsnap-2019-11-21-13h41m24s600Charles will use still photographs to augment discussions. NS&T freight motors here. Maintenance of way and various passenger cars, are some additional subjects. Valuable information.

Toronto Transit

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-14h43m05s550Original, 1938 built streetcar. You will learn much about the history of the Toronto system. Excellent city scenes!

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-14h55m15s9461954 Stop with PCC car. What is PCC? Inquire within…

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Before the Internet… Newspapers were vital. Big cities offered Morning and Evening editions. A Newspaper truck!

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-15h04m14s746This was the first Toronto Subway. Some sections ran above ground. Many scenes are long gone.

Montreal & Southern Counties

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-15h13m03s736Scenes from the early 1950s to about 1958.

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-15h12m04s650A more involved map. Green line is M&SC. This line ran 47 miles, to Granby.

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-15h14m46s096Connecting the city to countryside. Before, the advent of common automobile travel, with good roads.

vlcsnap-2019-11-21-13h40m08s787Montreal street scene, with a classic 1950s work vehicle. A panel truck. Makes my day!

Quebec Railway Light & Power

 

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-15h32m29s509The most interesting streetcar line, to myself. This turntable was used at Quebec City.

vlcsnap-2019-11-21-13h33m06s892Served a huge textile mill. Scenic Montmorency Falls, as well. Also, the substantial Cathedral at St. Anne’s.

vlcsnap-2019-11-21-13h28m25s204Another Canadian National line. Yes, there are several CN Steam locomotives. Brief appearances, in this show. 

vlcsnap-2019-11-20-15h50m41s761This is an intriguing journey into the past Interurban history of Eastern Canada. Never considered that they had trolley service. Charles Smiley has a class on this subject. Learned quite a bit. Viewed another world, that has long since passed. 

Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

Rails New York Metro

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1996- 99

Locations: Hudson River, Long Island, Southern Tier, Susquehanna, NJ, more.

Length: 57 minutes

Source: Rich Kugel

An overview of the New York area, before the Conrail split. Extra coverage of additional railroads that provide variety. Locations extend outward. Hudson River and Long Island. Southern Tier, and more.

DVD-R. Standard Frog Chapter Search. Professional production throughout. No maps. This release has not been remastered. Hence, images appear slightly soft on a larger HDTV screen. Colors and balance are fine. Do not expect current viewing standards. Show is very watchable.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h25m37s106The trains appear in chronological order. Begins in the year 1996. Fast paced show!

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h58m01s916Rich Kugel, is the Green Frog Videographer. He has a fantastic eye for composition!

Bob Carrera, with a classic narrative. Good script. No maps, or on-screen graphics. Also available in the set, Trains around New York and New Jersey- collection.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h26m37s725Conrail is the star of this show. Fort Montgomery, New York. Many fine scenes in this program. Let’s have a sample…

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h55m58s401Susquehanna,also has a strong presence. Hawthorne, New Jersey.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h29m27s807New York Metro North. FL9 and Genesis locomotives operate, along the Hudson River. Garrison, NY. That Metro North never could create an attractive paint scheme.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h28m31s254However, New Haven surely did have some classic livery! They did revive this paint job.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h32m12s290Chesapeake and Ohio #614. This makes several appearances. A choice scene at Otisville Tunnel.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h50m38s830 An ice storm creates memorable scenes.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h48m54s012This is the Millrift River bridge. Constructed in 1868, by the Erie Railroad. Connects New York state to Pennsylvania.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h22m34s351 In 1999, the Long Island Railroad was going to soon replace aging equipment. Alco FA is used as a power pack. Not a locomotive.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h01m31s171Let’s pickup more Long Island Railroad at Nassau Tower. This is located at Mineola. Good showing of some LIRR equipment.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h45m22s623Moodna Viaduct is a definite scenic highlight. This NJ Transit is but one, of some trains crossing here.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h42m42s679Brand new BNSF General Electrics. They pause for a crew change. NJ Transit going to New York. Hint… These BNSF units get chased!

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-15h44m15s436Norfolk Southern makes random appearances.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h26m47s995Amtrak is also shown, by the Hudson. Also, several Electric motors, in New Jersey.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h18m00s978Susquehanna GP18, acts as a helper on a Sparta Hill move.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h12m49s869Conrail train that is 2 miles long! This view from a Mountain, along the Hudson River.

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h37m38s562After that whirlwind. What happened to Conrail? Why, they are now CSX!

vlcsnap-2019-11-13-16h38m33s984Give it up. All in now. Where’s those dress blues???

Rails New York Metro. Green Frog has a show that hits the advertised, very nicely. Action oriented and loaded with variety. The near one hour show passes quickly. That is the hallmark of an enjoyable program.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

 

Twilight of the New Haven RR Electrics

TwilightOfNewHaven_Pt7_DVD

Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: mid 1960s

Locations: Stamford, New Rochelle, Bronx, Van Nest,Valhalla, Montauk, more

Length: 47 minutes

Source: Frank Schlegel

The final years of an independent New Haven Railroad. Electrified operations are the main feature, on this 2019 new release. Small percentage of diesels. Several New York Central scenes. Brief Long Island Railroad, visit in 1962. This at Montauk.

The film appears to be of the 8mm type. All color. Good color balance. Clean picture overall. Handheld camera, with shakiness throughout. Pretty steady where it counts. Naturally, the train rides bump along.

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Green Frog DVD-R.  Has a detailed Chapter Menu included. Narration selection menu:on /off fx. No maps or graphics. Narration by John Osgood.

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Soundtrack is a combination. The movie projector background. You may have heard this before, on prior Frog shows. Musical background.

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Several diesels appear. As does this Fairbanks Morse unit.

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A nice facet of this film collection, is attention to freight train consists. Model Railroaders, will appreciate the many freight cars that are on parade. Forty foot boxcar car delight!

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The identification of Electric locomotives is good for viewers. Learn easily, if one doesn’t know.

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The big, ex: Virginian EF4 types are awesome, in the bright orange paint!

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EP5, aka Jets are workhorses. See one on a freight train.

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Familiar, as some still operate in New Haven McGinnis paint. The EMD, dual service FL-9 engines.

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MU trains, while less exciting, are a part of the operation.

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A fantrip had our Cinematographer, taking a grand tour via Grand Central Station. Proceeding on and out to New Haven. Also, a return.

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Later, some quick snippets at Valhalla, on the New York Central. Both New Haven and New York Central were powering the NYC passenger trains there.

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A visit to the Long Island Railroad in 1962. Montauk Point is way out there. These RS3 locomotives were switching. Amoung some other LIRR activities.

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A New Haven caboose in classic McGinnis paint. Uncommon on old film. As is this show. Not much available on New Haven.

A slight bump up, for new source in 2019.

Very good show, for fans of New Haven. Mid sixties timeframe is hard to find. A fast paced program, with a surprising amount of freight trains. Modern Green Frog processing, has realistic and vibrant colors. Handheld camera, but nearly all under the wires. Well worth it, if this is your interest.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Classic Steam of the ’20s to the ’40s

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Producer: Green Frog

Timeframe: 1920s-1940s

Locations: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Kansas City, more.

Length: 1 hour

Sources: Frank W. Schlegel, Vince Ryan, Jack Alexander

A smorgasbord of films. Spanning 4 decades. Some rare and not so rare, steam locomotives. A Collection of: black and white, plus a little color film. Eastern Railroads mainly. Everything is worthwhile.

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See: Delaware and Hudson, New York Central, Lackawanna, Central of New Jersey and Frisco (above). Also, Pennsylvania  Erie, Wabash, Rahway Valley, B&O, and much more. Steam, Electric and several early diesels.

vlcsnap-2019-11-04-07h41m51s404

Frog DVD-R. Nothing extra. Plays straight through. The Milwaukee Road Hiawatha. Nice runby…in Milwaukee!

The show is narrated by Dan Chandler.  Script is good. Fine work on the dubbed trains.

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Camerawork varies by source. As does the visual quality. Majority is fine. About what an experienced Railfan would expect, from a wide ranging assortment. Good on the big screen.

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There is way too much to cover the whole show. Highlights of this fine program. New York Central, Empire Star Express. Two steam pushers on the rear. The show’s gem!

vlcsnap-2019-11-04-08h03m07s418

Reading Crusader at Dunellen, New Jersey.

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Camelback is a strange looking steam engine. It hauls a fantrip out on to the Long Branch.

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Turns around, the yard in Bay Head Jct. A joint CNJ and PRR. So, Pennsylvania power is there with K4s. Compare the access the people had, in those days. More PRR is seen, in their home state.

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A 1936 fantrip over the former, Ulster and Delaware. This one required a double header with a pusher, and ran two sections!  The New York Central ten wheelers were added to the head end. Former U&D power. Depart Kingston.

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Oneonta roundhouse on D&H was destination.

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Check the size of the people against this Lackawanna locomotive.

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Steam and Electric. New York Central. Harmon, NY.

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The big surprise is at Pennsylvania’s Enola Yard. Before retarders were used, brakeman manually controlled the cars, from the hump. Dangerous work in the winter. Unbelievable by today’s safety!

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The Alton. Street running! How rare is this?

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Middletown and Union, has a face, only a mother could love. Come closer..

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Venerable, Boston and Maine Mogul type.

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Rock Island at St. Louis.

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Erie passes with it’s train.

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Indiana Railroad was a large, Electric Interurban. Ran streetcars and freight.

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Delaware and Hudson Northern type. Plenty of D&H is within.

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Springfield Terminal in it’s original incarnation. Take a trolley. Quite a difference, from later SD45s in grey paint!

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A Lackawanna Milk Train, really harkens back to an earlier era.

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A Chicago, Burlington and Quincy sits in a huge yard. Burlington Route, was a road that ran steam late, on the Colorado and Southern.

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This is a cornucopia of steam era scenes. Here, the ice bunker reefers are loaded at the Chicago Stockyards. South Shore Electric cars to the right.

There are even bonus shots. City pan views (Philadelphia), street scenes, humoungous Chicago stockyards. A well thought-out production. Packs a bunch, into a fast moving one hour program.

Also available on the, Trains around New York and New Jersey – collection.

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Closing caboose is a Wabash.

Green Frog has a must see show, for any fans of steam era Railroading. The black and white film, adds to the vintage feel. Fascinating and varied visit to the past.

Rating: 5 Stars