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.
SAFE ROADS (1936): Train conductors teach foolhardy automobile drivers a thing or two about safety in this Jam Handy production sponsored by Chevrolet.
LIFE-LINE OF A NATION (1944): The Association of American Railroads explains how the railway system is contributing to the war effort by transporting troops, munitions, and raw materials "with an efficiency that gives dictators nightmares!"
THE MODERN COAL BURNING STEAM LOCOMOTIVE (1944): The Norfolk and Western Railway presents a behind-the-scenes look at the construction of the 4-8-4, a "J" class streamliner passenger locomotive.
DESERT EMPIRE (1948): Take a railroad tour of Utah in this film from the Denver and Rio Grande Western, made to promote train travel in the Beehive State.
CLEAR SIGNAL (1950): All the life-saving precautions that a railroad man must take are highlighted in this film produced by the Southern Pacific.
RETURN OF THE GENERAL (1962): The famous General 4-4-0 steam locomotive that was used in Buster Keaton's classic movie The General (1926) is taken out one last time in this nostalgic short subject.