Railroad travel was at its peak in the 1940s and 50s. People were encouraged to take cross-country trips on the new diesel-powered passenger trains, while steam locomotives were still indispensable when it came to transporting goods and services vital to America's economy. The job of railroad man was a respected calling that came with its own dangers. Take a train ride back in time with these six vintage short subjects.
WHISTLES IN THE NIGHT (1945): This short was made by the American Association of Railroads to promote passenger service during WWII. Includes views of the Pennsy, Norfolk & Western and B&O railroads, as well as Grand Central Station. See four mighty steam locomotives thundering down the tracks side by side in the night!
HOOSIER LINE (1948): A history of Indiana's Monon Railroad, also known as the 'Hoosier' train route, produced for the Chicago Railroad Fair (1948-1949). The Monon faithfully served Hoosiers for decades until it was bought out by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad in 1971. Featuring songs from the Purdue Varsity Glee Club (all of which are about Indiana.)
THE SONG OF THE PIONEER (1948): This documentary, complete with historical reenactments, was made by the Chicago and North Western Railway to celebrate their 100th anniversary. In addition to learning how the railroad was founded and constructed, we see the lavish sleeping and dining Pullman cars that were in use by the CNW in 1948.
THE DAYS OF OUR YEARS (1955): A harrowing safety film made by the Union Pacific Railroad, in which employees are warned that if they are not 100% dedicated to their work, horrible accidents can occur. Tragedy befalls a Union railroad man when he has a heart attack on the job, and his co-workers must act quickly before disaster strikes.
WHAT IN BLAZES (1955): A precautionary film made by the Pennsylvania Railroad on what to do if your train catches fire. With amazing shots of the Pennsy's locomotives actually going up in flames! Fortunately, railroad men are just as heroic and they are hard working.
CHICAGO AND NORTHWESTERN'S IMPROVED SERVICE TO SHIPPING (1956): The story of how the brand-new communications and data processing system, Car-Fax, has improved the Chicago and North Western's ability to serve shippers across the country. But more importantly, we get to see the CNW's beautiful diesel engines in action!