The Big Train

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Operations of the New York Central Railroad. Producer and director: Victor Solow. Introduced by NYCRR president Alfred E. Perlman
Made by the New York Central Railroad, this 50s film tells us how railroads are modernizing in standard industrial film style. It goes into a great deal of detail about this in a rather dry fashion. Railroad buffs will probably find it interesting, others less so. The last part of the film is a rather whiny lecture by Alfred Pearlman about how the government subsidizes other forms of transportation, but lets the railroads shift for themselves. After learning about how many government perks the railroads were given back in the 19th century, I cant say his little talk stimulates much sympathy in me. Still, this is a quite historically interesting record of where the railroads were at in the 50s.

This analysis of the railroad industry is amazing in that done 45 years ago, it is still accurate. More amazing is that inspite of the unbalanced national transportation policies the railroad industry has been resilent enough to still survive. Al Perlman was a hard nosed railroader, who was also a visionary of his time. This film clearly shows that railroad industry’s efforts to change and improve. It also shows through Perlaman’s commentary how poor our national policies have been and still are.

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