The American railway system was running at peak performance in the 1940s and 50s. Commuters were encouraged to take cross-country trips on the new diesel-powered passenger trains, with those luxurious Pullman dining cars. At the same time, steam locomotives were still indispensable when it came to transporting goods and services vital to America's economy. The trains didn't just run on time...they ran the country. Take a trip back in time with these six vintage short subjects.
ON THE TRACK (1948): An incredible scenic tour of the U.S.A. by train, narrated by famed announcer Art Gilmore.
THE NICKEL PLATE STORY (1953): For over 80 years, the New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad ran through the mid-central United States. Learn how it came to be called "The Nickel Plate Road."
225,000 MILE PROVING GROUND (1953): Leave it to Beaver's Hugh Beaumont explains how 225,000 miles of train tracks have made America's railway system the greatest in the world, with constant improvements made by researchers and engineers.
ICHABOD, THE MAN WITHOUT A HEAD (1954): A headless train -- nicknamed "Ichabod" after "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" -- gets put through all sorts of dangers to show just how durable modern engines are.
LAST CLEAR CHANCE (1959): The Union Pacific Railroad made this safety film to warn reckless drivers of what could happen if they linger on the train tracks too long. Hot rodding teenagers fall victim to the UP's mighty steam locomotives!
THE STORY OF OPERATION READING (1966): For 18 months in 1965 and 1966, Pennsylvania ran "Operation Reading" to improve passenger service to the outlying suburbs of Philadelphia. The story of its success is told here, with plenty of views of those grand old diesel engines.