Our June Zoom program, Ralph Cantos’ 1966 Eastern Traction Odyssey, takes us on a most memorable eastern traction adventure as it existed over 56 years ago. The mid-1960s was a transitional time with several transit operations moving from private to public ownership. A Laner Rail Videos production, Ralph’s historic 16mm film was edited and transferred to video by Harvey Laner and will be narrated by both men.
Native Southern California railfan Ralph Cantos made his first tour of the eastern U.S. and Toronto in September 1966. For three weeks, armed with a vintage 16mm movie camera and lots of film, he rode and filmed rail transit in and around Chicago, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Newark, and Boston.
Properties visited include:
Video producer Harvey Laner grew up in Chicago. Soon after his family moved to Los Angeles in 1953, Harvey joined the Southern California Division of the ERA (SC/ERA). He was also one of 14 founding members of the Orange Empire Traction Company in Perris, Calif., today’s Southern California Railway Museum, and was a speaker at the ERA’s 2022 Annual Convention in San Diego.
Ralph Cantos is a Los Angeles-based transit enthusiast. The Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society is home to the Ralph Cantos Collection of transit photography, and he has also amassed a significant private collection of vintage model buses. Ralph was a longtime friend to the late John Pappas, former ERA first vice president and frequent Headlights contributor.