Tag Archives: Railroad Motor Car

Challenge for Tomorrow 1954

Santa Fe Railway Safety Department

This one was a lot of fun to research and review. An old Santa Fe safety film in glorious Technicolor from the days of yore. Its formal name was the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway (ATSF) which stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles, The Bay Area (Richmond, California), and down from Kansas City into Texas.

Somehow all the prints I discovered online have the opening credits/title page lopped off. Thus, we’ll use the above safety images instead. The gent in the natty suit and bow tie, (wide lapels must be “IN” this year), has his pointer on San Bernardino’s injury count. He really needs to take a look at Albuquerque.

Just a smattering of steam locomotives are shown segueing into Santa Fe’s colorful, first-generation diesel fleet. And there’s no topping that classic red, silver and gold “Warbonnet” scheme on the passenger engines.

Let’s check it out. Santa Fe, All The Waaaaay!!

Motorcar operator “Skippy” is trundling down the San Joaquin Valley, blissfully unaware of the approaching San Francisco Chief. Should we warn him? “Look around, Skip, look around!” bellows the narrator. This great bit of melodrama will be fleshed out in the upcoming story. Read on.

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Station Master 1954

National Film Board of Canada

This film was recommended to me by Pete! It’s the third National Film Board of Canada movie I have reviewed on my blogs and the first to mainly feature Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). This is the story of CP station master Dalton Henry and his crew in little Finch, Ontario. The Canadian Pacific had a crossing here with a New York Central (NYC) branch line to Ottawa.

Steam was still active in Eastern Canada at the time and there is a nice mix of trains on both railroads. The CP rails still exist through Finch, but the NYC branch was abandoned shortly thereafter in February 1957.

This black & white short packs a lot of railroad action into its 15 minutes and is a poignant look at the way things used to be on the railway. Highball!

Out in front of the depot, a section gang is busily shoveling snow from switches and the crossing diamond. Up in the interlocking tower, Charlie lights up a Player’s and checks his pocket watch. Note the nearby telegraph key and dispatcher’s phone on a scissors arm.

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