Saturday, March 24, 2018

Ride the Georgetown Loop in 1903 (or 1901)

I know a number of folks have seen this footage before (I seem to recall having it on a C&S DVD somewhere), but, if you haven't, here is rare film of a C&S train traveling the Georgetown Loop.  It was copyrighted as 1903, though, some references say that the footage is from 1901.

Many will notice just how fast the train seems to be going.  An online discussion about this led to many pointing out that film cameras were cranked by hand at this time and this gives the impression of moving fast.

One person from this online discuss made this note:
According to a 1904 Clear District timetable of the Colorado & Southern Railroad the speed over the bridge was 4 mph.
According to the special instructions No train or engine will exceed a speed of four (4) miles per hour in crossing the iron bridge between Georgetown and Silver Plume
Other special instructions lists speeds. Passenger trains were allowed 24 mph south of Golden, 15 mph from Golden to Forks Creek, 20 mph Forks Creek to Georgetown and 15 mph Georgetown to Silver Plume.
My timetable is a Colorado Railroad Museum reprint.

This film is listed on IMDB as well with the following description: Georgetown is a silver-mining town at 8,500 feet near the crest of the Rockies. Hooked somehow to the rear of a four-car passenger train is a camera that pans the scenery and, when the train goes around curves, looks ahead to see the engine and passenger cars: the passengers wave hundreds of white handkerchiefs out of the train's left-side windows for the benefit of the camera. The town comes into view; the tracks are above the town, so the camera looks down on dozens of modest rooftops as it pans the area.

A user review on IMDB said the following:
This film was in fact shot in 1901 a part of a whole series of films taken on the Union Pacific Railroad in July of that year by Billy Bitzer. Just a couple of years after William Henry Jackson's famous 1899 photograph of the loop ("The Far-Famed Georgetown Loop"). 

[This following paragraph is obviously wrong] The train is, I assume, the Overland Limited, which featurs by name in several of the other films. The rote was a particularly dramatic one and it would be good to also have the films taken as it traversed "The Fish Cut" in Wyoming, crossed the Dale Creek Fill and went through the Sherman Hill tunnel through the Rockies. 

Mutoscope was more careless about copyrighting its material than its rival Edison and 1903 is in fact the copyright date. It does also appear correctly in IMDb under the 1901 date.

I assumed this video was the same as the one I have on DVD, but that one is credited to Edison, so if the above user is correct, this film is different.

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