Trolleys, Interurbans, Electrics
Fantastic traction that served the nation's urban centers, suburbs, and intercity travel.
Chicago Interurban 3-Set
Chicago Interurban 3-Set
3 DVDs capture Chicago area transit in the 1950s
Chicago, Aurora and Elgin The DVD covers the entire line from both Aurora and Elgin branches to Chicago in the mid-fifties.
The North Shore: Brought to Life Part trolley and part streamlined railroad, this line competed with two other major railroads in intercity traffic for over half a century.
The South Shore Line Orange and maroon "battleships" race across the prairie. Bright orange “Little Joe’s” methodically work the freight and sidings.
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“No where else on earth could you step off the curb, hold up your hand, and bring a high-speed, articulated, streamlined passenger train to a squealing halt, climb aboard and a few minutes later be rocketing down the main at more than 90 miles an hour.” Enjoy the a trip back in time in these portraits of Chicago area rail, all three lines owned at one time by the wealthy Samuel Insull.
Young rail enthusiast, Frank Pfuhler, spent four summers beginning when he was only seventeen filming the Interurban lines of Chicago at work in the late 1950s. His enterprise—combining love of traction rail and skill as a filmmaker—left us with one-of-a-kind records of the final era of these dynamic hybrids.
Chicago, Aurora and Elgin. Affectionately known as the “Roarin’ Elgin” the Chicago, Aurora and Elgin interurban line started service in 1902 and ended, as with many interurban lines, as ridership declined in competition with the automobile. Because of a court order the money-losing line could not end service. When permission was finally received service ended abruptly on July 3rd 1957 at noon leaving morning commuters stranded that evening in Chicago. C, A & E was owned by Samuel Insull from 1926 until he lost it in the depression. 45 minutes
The North Shore: Brought to Life. Welcome aboard the world’s most famous interurban line, running all the way from Chicago to Milwaukee. Passengers in the streamlined, articulated “Electroliners” enjoyed meals while zipping along at 90 mph, but had the convenience of stepping off at street corners. All the major towns along the route—along with street running in Milwaukee and the elevated tracks in Chicago—are covered from both trackside and the motorman’s seat. Three distinctive whistles are heard. Freight service is mingled with “Silverliners,” local service, a special section on the Milwaukee trolleys, and the famous "Electroliners" that, after the demise of the North Shore, ran as “Libertyliners” on the Red Arrow Line between Norristown and Philadelphia. Experience a taste of life in a time before freeways, computers, and road rage. 46 minutes
The South Shore Line
1965 - Producer Myron Weber traces the South Shore Line in summer and winter through rain, shine and snow. Hear the banshee moan as the passenger trains rocket at record-breaking speeds through dunes, past grain elevators and steel mills.
1981 - Donald Kaplan captures South Bend-bound passenger trains screeching through the streets and racing across the countryside. High-speed traffic on the parallel Indiana Tollway is left in the dust.
1956-58 - Frank Pfuhler films the orange and maroon Pullman-built “battleships” from the terminus in downtown South Bend to Randolph St. in Chicago. The trains barrel across the Indiana prairie in the height of interurban efficiency and style. The DVD features plenty of 6000 horsepower "Little Joe's" and ex-New York Central R-2's.
1992 - Silver South Shore cars make the trip on the new airport connection. 54 minutes