The Association of American Railroads’ 1957 film, Mainline USA, produced and directed by Carl Dudley, is an overview of the industry and its role in the U.S. The film provides a good general overview while featuring a number of shots of train engines and lines, including a Santa Fe FT (04:28), B&O E units, PRR Baldwin Sharknoses, an Alco FA-1 (11:25), and a Rio Grande F. The film opens with shots of iconic American scenes, including the Statue of Liberty (00:52), Mt. Rushmore, the Capitol Building, Yosemite Falls (01:22), and bustling city streets. A Northern Pacific train cruises along its tracks (01:40) as the narrator discusses the importance of America’s railways, including the early days of trains. The film presents a number of industrial shots, including mills, manufacturing complexes (05:13), and automobile assembly lines (02:11), all of which rely on the railroad industry one way or another. The train industry is responsible for initially connecting the vast, rural country. The film continues with various scenes of trains traveling throughout cities and rural areas. One of the major roles the railroads play is to transport goods, including food, clothes, and cars. Trains transport grains and fruits from farmlands to the cities. Other commodities the film shows being transported by rail are coal (05:54) from Pennsylvania and West Virginia, copper from the large copper mine in Butte, Montana (06:06), lumber, cattle, and cotton. Railroads also play a crucial role in transporting Americans; and bustling train stations (07:15) were often the hub of major American cities prior to the 1950s. Modern trains with luxury day cars (07:46), lounge and club cars, and sleeping cars accommodate travelers of every kind. Trains transport people to America’s beautiful destinations, including holiday trips where vacationers ride horses (08:16), fly fish mountain rivers (08:20), enjoy the sun upon sandy beaches (08:22), and marvel at natural splendors like Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park (08:31). The film provides an overview of the railroad industry (09:19) and how it impacts the U.S. economy, as railroads spend millions every year on trains, tracks and more, buying nearly 1/5 of all coal, oil, and lumber in the U.S. The film also discusses the various roles Americans play in the railroad industry and how railroads are funded. Railroads are unique in that they provide their own facilities, build their own rail lines (11:46), and maintain those lines—such as plowing snow off of them (11:54). The film concludes with scenes of American sporting events and places of education as it informs viewers of where railroad tax dollars go.
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MAINLINE USA ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN RAILROADS 1940s HISTORY OF TRAIN TRAVEL 70884a