By the 1930s, the railway system had been hit hard by both the Great Depression and the increasing number of automobiles. The response was one of modernization. New streamlined trains, showcased at the 1933-34 World's Fair, 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.
RHAPSODY OF THE RAILS (1933): "The Magic Carpet of Movietone" invites you to take a ride on the New York Central Railroad line in this short shown before Fox features.
FLIGHT OF THE CENTURY (1935): The 20th Century Limited was billed in advertisements of the era as "The Most Famous Train In The World." Discover the luxury passengers experienced in this promotional film.
THE PASSENGER TRAIN (1940): The fabulous streamlined trains of the B & O Railroad are spotlighted in this short film made for classroom use.
A GREAT RAILROAD AT WORK (1942): How does a railroad run? Find out in this Jam Handy short focusing on the New York, New Haven and Hartford lines. Narrated by broadcaster Lowell Thomas, the man who made T.E. Lawrence famous by documenting his adventures as "Lawrence of Arabia."
THE VANISHING EL (1950): One of the last elevated passenger trains in Manhattan, the Third Avenue El, takes a nostalgic journey from the Bronx to Brooklyn. The Third Avenue El was dismantled a short five years later in 1955.
AT THIS MOMENT (1954): A documentary filmmaker visits a diner where all the railroad workers go to eat. What he learns makes him realize that the welfare of the nation depends on the railway system. Starring Bill Kennedy (the announcer of TV's Adventures of Superman) and James Gregory (The Lawless Years).