"Produced in the late 1920s, this amateur film documents the construction of the Santa Fe Railway extension connecting San Angelo and Sonora. In 1928, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company (Santa Fe) purchased the Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway Company of Texas (Orient of Texas). In so doing, they also acquired the company’s system of track lines, 465 miles of which were in Texas. As a subsidiary of Santa Fe, Orient of Texas then began construction on a pair of extension lines: one spanning the 72 miles from Paisano to Presidio and another the 65 miles from San Angelo to Sonora. This amateur film captures early construction on the second, with a small crew using work horses to clear the route and build bridges. The San Angelo-Sonora line was completed on July 1, 1930. Santa Fe abandoned the line in 1976" Texas Archive of the Moving Image.
"Jack Pashkovsky must love the iron horse to muster the patience to gather the many scenes of the rails. A young girl (perhaps his daughter), bag in hand, boards the train for a distant trip to lend continuity. We see the train(s) at the station, in the hills, fields, valleys, desert, tunnels, bridges-just about every place where a train can be seen. The audience is permitted to view the panorama from high and low places, atop the train, and from the cab. A study of trains in motion which holds interest throughout" PSA Journal, Nov. 1958, 48.
"Paul L. Kubitschek takes us to the Denver, Rio Grande & Western Railway for a journey to Silverton, Colorado. With all the thrill that comes to those who love the sway of cars and the resounding clatter of the rails amidst the grandeur of lakes and villages in high country flavored with ghost towns and mining arenas. The skeletons of yesterday where wind and rain have beat time and mute evidence of activity long ceased. Where silent memories of the past may be read from the weathered timbers and scraps of metal. A lone rocking chair left to enjoy the warm sun and the beauty of the hills" PSA Journal, Nov. 1958, 47.
""The Derelict" by Robert Board is a smooth scenario depicting one chapter in the life of a derelict. As the title might imply, the setting is near the railroad and the low economic area. As one may expect, the derelict is hungry and alone. We are made to realize the emotional impact of this situation and the kindheartedness of others who cross his path. there are girls to whet his interest and others who are more considerate and helpful. His one effort to seek work fails and he returns to the rails." PSA Journal, Nov. 1957, 32.
"In Narrow Gauge Kingdom Roger H. Klatt presents an ambitious and highly successful documentary study of the rapidly vanishing narrow gauge railroads of the Far West—and of Colorado in particular. Excellently photographed and edited, Narrow Gauge Kingdom gives rewarding evidence of high-caliber research carried out by a genuine railroad enthusiast. Both picture-wise and in well-delivered narrative, Mr. Klatt has delved deep into the flavor of his subject, producing a film which, despite is length, is interesting throughout and of lasting historical significance. A newcomer to the Ten Best competitions Mr. Klatt has used the medium of the motion picture with rare competence. Not only has he effectively pinned down the dramatic possibilities inherent in his subject, but he has utilized the mountain background of Colorado to fine advantage. Apparently neutral between the proponents of magnetic stripe or tape recording, Mr. Klatt has used both, skillfully putting the narration and railroading sound effects on magnetic stripe and and effectively indigenous guitar accompaniment on a separate tape!" PSA Journal, Jan. 1955, 48.
"The Southwestern and Centerville Railroad boasts a roadbed of less than two miles and runs only on Saturdays — and then to "nowhere." But it undoubtedly provides the favorite ride of all the kids (as well as their equally enthusiastic parents) from the surrounding countryside. In The Fresh Milk Line, Roy Fulmer, jr., records the operation of this narrow gauge railroad on a dairy farm in New Jersey, run as a hobby by the owner of the farm. Closeups of the working of the Diesel engine, the switches and signals add technical interest ; while the sequence of laying a new piece of track by presumably adult employees on the farm makes it apparent that the men enjoy "working on the railroad" as much as would any youngster. Here is one film whose interest would have been heightened by a musical accompaniment with sound effects." Movie Makers, Dec. 1951, 412.
"The Steam Locomotive, second release in the Know Your Railroad series, sponsored and produced by the Motion Picture Bureau of the New York Central System, is a worthy successor in this intelligent line of educational films. In it, Frederick G. Beach, supervisor of the bureau, has set forth in clean cut cinematography the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the famous Hudson type locomotive. An animated model of a steam cylinder explains the otherwise hidden functions of this key piece of machinery, while a soundly conceived narrative points up the film's visual teaching throughout. A stirring sequence showing these great coal eating giants at their daily tasks brings the picture to a dramatic close." Movie Makers, Dec. 1944, 495.
"Railroads Speed the Freights, filmed by T. W. Willard, is a compact industrial picture that presents its story with the maximum of effectiveness. The technique of operating our country's vast railway freight system is clearly summarized; the audience learns the methods employed in sorting, loading and routing freight cars and, in the process, sees some especially handsome movies of railroading. Particularly impressive are the dissolves from the shot of one moving freight train to another. Mr. Willard carefully studied the relationship of motion in the successive scenes and produced a sequence of dissolves, unmatched in cinematic effect. The series is climaxed by a scene of one train passing through the picture, which dissolves to a shot of another train racing almost head on toward the audience. The outstanding quality of this picture is its completeness and suavity, achieved with a minimum of footage and the smallest practical unit print charge." Movie Makers, Dec. 1942, 507.
"Western Holiday offered one of those thrills in the sequence of sunrise on Mount Robson. Here Kodachrome caught, with what seemed magic, the first rosy glow on the cold, blue snow, which the continuity of photographic motion permitted to increase, to blossom and, finally, to blaze into a chromatic crown of jewels. To see this on the screen is to enjoy a rare experience. Hamilton H. Jones, in the highly intelligent cutting of his train sequences, gave the student of continuity another of these thrills. Those who are charmed by double turntable accompaniment will recognize the perfection with which an almost impossibly difficult feat of lip synchronization with record scoring has been handled. These are some of the higher spots in a film of unusually high general average. Mr. Jones is a Kodachrome movie maker of proved ability, who has made editing a special art. The film chosen for the first Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award will be used by Mr. Jones in his work as a lecturer on the vacation advantages of the Dominion of Canada, although it was made as his own enterprise, entirely at his own expense and not for compensation from a client. It is a part of his professional equipment. Briefly reviewed, Western Holiday carries the audience, via Canadian National Railways, from Victoria, Canada's most westerly metropolis, across the Rocky Mountains back to the Eastern Seaboard. Beginning with city views in Victoria and Vancouver, with strikingly colorful parades of the famous Canadian Mounted Police, we visit tourist centers and make trail trips from them. The camera goes into the interior of a glacier, it finds mountain goats and sheep, it clambers over the Continental Divide on horseback. All through the trip, it studies the progress of trains, weaving in and out of tunnels and over bridges. In his personal presentations of this film, Mr. Jones manipulates effects, such as whistles, bells, train noises and other oddments, with something approaching wizardry. In the face of competition of the highest order, Western Holiday is its own justification of preferment." Movie Makers, Dec. 1937, 602.
"Under the Maple Leaf, a new version of the perennial Canadian travel study by Hamilton H. Jones, ACL, is more beautiful and even more satisfying than its forerunners. Ineligible for current Ten Best, because of the fact that a small part of the present material has been viewed and listed in previous selections, the new release is included in the Honorable Mention category as a tribute to the dexterity with which the material, old and new, has been combined and the high quality of the added color sequences. The same flawless photography and clever sequencing which marked previous versions are again present. The disc sound accompaniment (in revised form) is deftly handled, making a thrilling addition to the film. Color is interspersed successfully with black and white sequences in a way that seems to obviate criticism of the mixture." Movie Makers, Dec. 1935, 553.
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