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Due to gasoline and tire rationing, railroad travel was at its peak in the 1940s. Steam locomotives began to be replaced by streamliners that could hit record-breaking speeds, allowing most of the work force to get to work by train. But steam locomotives were still indispensable workhorses when it came to transporting goods and services important to America's economy. This collection of seven short subjects traces the history of train travel, while looking forward to the modernized future.
THE STEAM LOCOMOTIVE (1940): The steam locomotive is one of man's most valuable tools, and you'll find out why in this exciting film shot on the Santa Fe Railway!
CLEAR TRACK AHEAD! (1946): The history of trains from their inception to World War II is dramatized in this promotional film from the Pennsylvania Railroad. The "Pennsy" was the largest railroad in the United States at the time.
ROLLING THE FREIGHT (1947): This educational short shows how the Chicago and North Western Transportation Company handles freight as diverse as toy sleds and potatoes.
PROGRESS ON THE RAILS (1952): The latest advances in railroad technology are on display in this publicity film made by the Pennsylvania Railroad. These include cab signaling, locomotive event recorders, and the "Train Phone" radio system.
THE FREIGHT TRAIN (1954): Find out how freight trains are assembled, inspected, and scheduled in this Encyclopedia Britannica short.
WHEELS OF STEEL (1955): From the perspective of the train, we take a journey from New York to Washington, DC in this beautifully photographed classroom film.
END OF AN ERA (1962): Logging industry giant Rayonier used steam locomotives to transport their timber for decades. They made this film to say goodbye to the last of those steam locomotives, and to usher in their new diesel-electric trains.