In the 1940s, due to gasoline and tire rationing, railroad travel was at its peak. Steam locomotives had been replaced by streamlined trains that hit record-breaking speeds. The wealthy were encouraged to take cross-country trips on the new diesel-powered passenger trains, while enjoying dining cars as elegant as any hotel. Relive the days when train travel was not just a method of transportation, but an escape from the pressures of the workaday world in these six vintage short subjects.
THIS IS MY RAILROAD (1947): The Southern Pacific produced this amazing film to demonstrate the sheer manpower it takes to transport passengers and freight across the country. The hardships faced by railroad workers are illustrated in this portrait of an occupation "that's different than any other calling known to manů"
NEW HORIZONS (1948): In this promotional film from the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, learn how the rail system acts as a bridge between the Old South of yesteryear and the modern heartland of today. Billed as "The Route of Courteous Service", Seaboard's luxurious passenger cars allowed commuters to catch a leisurely game of chess or dine like a king.
THE BIG TRAIN (1950): Alfred E. Perlman, president of the New York Central Railroad, explains how the railroad has been integral to the economy of the United States since its inception. The film ends with Mr. Perlman warning of the dangers of large corporations taking over the transport industry. Unfortunately, his pleas fell on deaf ears, as the NYCR went bankrupt in 1970.
WHEELS OF PROGRESS (1950): Brought to you by the Rock Island Lines Railroad, this short showcases the new high-speed "Rocket" freight trains that are revolutionizing the railway system. The Rock Island Line was immortalized in a hit song of the same name popularized by Lonnie Donegan.
BIG TRAINS ROLLING (1955): Little Carol and Jimmy take a cross-country trip on the Santa Fe Super Chief. Along the way, they learn how America and its railroad grew up together. Narrated by Art Gilmore, the voice behind countless movie trailers.
MAINLINE U.S.A. (1957): Dedicated to the railway workers of America, this film documents the indispensable role of the railroad in World War II and how it has contributed to the nation's economic growth ever since. Produced by the Association of American Railroads.