Charles Smiley Presents Milwaukee Road West
Charles Smiley Presents
Format: DVD (factory pressed disc)
Length: 67 minutes + previews
Time Period: 1955-1978
Locations: Chicago to Seattle, Avery, Milwaukee, Missoula, Three Forks, Deer Lodge…
Sources: George Barnes, Bob Finan, John Pertos, Bo Golson, Gino Pagliaro
The Long Road to Extinction is the aptly named subtitle. Milwaukee Road’s last quarter century is examined, as only Charles Smiley Presents can do. An extremely high level of detail provides viewers a knowledge base of Milwaukee Road. Friends and rivals, are an important element to put the railroad in perspective. Plenty of color film from the additional lines will assist the narrative.
We begin in 1955. Steam and early diesels are the power. An intriguing look at different styles of tailcars around the passenger yard at Milwaukee.
Sourced from 8mm and Super 8 color films. Quality is good to excellent. While not always pristine images, they are interesting scenes. All the cameramen have good composition. Digital enhancements have those vintage scenes appearing as best as possible.
A number of scenes are from circa 1955. Chicago is a colorful showcase of railroads!
Check the dual pantographs raised near Butte, Montana. See Milwaukee Scrapbook by Charles Smiley for much more coverage, of the electrified territory.
Outstanding and accurate! Live audio is custom matched, to the various locomotive models. Multiple sources were listed for the sounds. Painstaking attention to detail.
Unparalleled, custom made maps, are one of the nice extras that are contained in all CSP shows. These are labor intensive, handcrafted illustrations. Referenced at key points throughout the presentation. Also, there is an extended preview section containing more titles of: mainline, electrics and trolley/ interurbans.
This 1917 built substation, at Avery is about to receive visitors. They will see the interior and hear the turbines startup. Who are the visitors going to be ????…….. all of us !
A PBS style of production, many facets of the railroad are revealed. Judicious use of: still photographs, memorabilia and fitting music, are combined to augment the program. Natural train sounds and the electric power substation are memorable.
Narration by Charles Smiley is engaging and very informative. He is just as interested in the subjects as the viewers. This area is critical and sometimes overlooked by others. Poor narratives can detract from a good show. Charles always has amazing discussions.
Milwaukee’s famed electrified portions of the Pacific Extension are a major subject. Little Joes are a centerpiece. Fascinating segment of operation at an old roundhouse.
Eastbound Hiawatha engaged in a stub end station move. Note the beavertail observation.
This show has a large share of the other railroads, that operated in the same territories. Some of this footage overlaps with his releases. Each individual story does get elevated by inclusion of the films. If Great Northern or Burlington Route is discussed, let’s see it!
Cabooses are seen on many of the freights. A large supply in assorted roads. Fantastic. Wooden, Steel, Composite, Cupola, Bay Window, Wide Vision, Transfer. Collect them all!
Rock Island is notable with a chapter of this movie. A sweet assortment of early to mid 1970’s footage. Some decrepit diesels and trackwork are familiar reminders of 70’s era Rock Island. Alco, GE and EMD locomotives, are all here.
Monon Alcos are one of the rare inclusions. Butte, Anaconda & Pacific is another. All of the Hill Lines are included. Burlington Northern, Chicago Northwestern, and Union Pacific too. Indiana Harbor Belt even gets into the act! Louisville and Nashville. Montana Rail Link makes an appearance. Even more lines, in a plethora of paint schemes.
Milwaukee Road West has a wide ranging collection of vintage films. Easily could be subtitled, Railroads to The Pacific Northwest and more. The comprehensive show is a cornucopia of; some legendary and little known railroads. A ‘must have’ for Milwaukee Road fans. Rock Island and Electric aficionados take note, you are missing out.
Railfans and Model Railroaders will find this show to be enjoyable. It also serves as a fine reference resource. A definite, deluxe presentation that people can revisit with satisfaction.
Rating: 5 Stars