Film: 5617

War + Military | 1940 | Sound | Colour


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Military propaganda film produced by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway company showcasing the railroad's part in the war effort for World War 2. Colour footage showing the different jobs taken on by the railways and production and refurbishment of cars and engines 1940's

The Santa Fe logo, a blue cross inside a white circle with “Santa Fe” in the centre is seen on the screen, with “presents” below the text in the logo. Graphic showing four field guns facing to the left of the screen at the bottom and the text “LOADED for WAR” in white above it. Screen of text overlaid on a Santa Fe logo thanking the US Government for cooperation to allow the film to be made. A camera is in the middle of train tracks on the ground, telegraph lines are seen on the left and a mesh fence is seen on the right as a large steam locomotive with freight cars approaches and passes over the camera. The train approaches the camera out of a tunnel cut out of a rocky hillside and passes over a metal rail bridge, the train is pulling about six box cars, the narrator begins to talk about World War Two. The camera follows an orange diesel train as it moves to the right along a track pulling box cars. Close up of various newspapers being piled up, the headlines all relate to the Pearl Harbour bombing. Three steam engines are coupled to each other are pulling a line of loaded flatbed cars to the left of the camera on an embankment by some fields, the narrator tells us “overnight engines of peace and progress were transformed into engines of war”, the camera follows the train as it moves to the left of the shot and over a small bridge. The same train comes out of a tunnel and moves towards and to the left of the camera. High view looking down on a busy train yard, two trains, one on each side of the yard, are moving in to stop, the narrator starts to rhetorically ask if “this nation had adequate transport facilities” and “would Santa Fe meet the strain of wartime traffic”.

A black steam locomotive is reversing away from the camera on the left side of the shot, on the right side a red diesel locomotive with the Santa Fe logo on the front is being painted over white by a group of workers with long brushes in front of it. A steam train pulling about 30 box cars moves along a trace towards and to the right of the camera with rocky plains either side. A signal on a white metal pole turns from facing right to up. Scores of railroad workers in overalls are walking towards and past the camera next to rows of train wheel pairs and other fittings in a depot. The men are walking past the camera to the left in front of a large brick building; the narrator explains Santa Fe has “a well trained army of more than a million workers”. A group of women wearing white caps and various clothes walk towards and past the camera followed by other workers, some workers are stood by a parked silver passenger train in the back of the shot. Three workers are stood at the front of a cream and brown train, they are all wearing hats and shirts and one is holding a piece of paper, the narrator says “the order that came … was short but to the point”. Close up of a telegram on white paper, it reads “MOVE ALL AVAILIABLE EQUIPMENT TO MILITARY BASES WITHOUT DELAY” the narrator also reads this out. Four trains, the cream one from the last shot and three black steam locomotives, are on parallel tracks facing the camera, they start to move towards the camera, and the cream train is second from the left. Shot looking along a number of tracks that pass the camera with houses in the background, two steam locomotives pass the camera from right-to-left; the narrator explains how the efficiency of Santa Fe’s war effort will stand as a “record which future generations of railroad employees will ever regard with respect and awe”.

A steam locomotive pulling box cars is moving along a track to the left of a road that is in the centre of the shot, there is a large white church? In the background and a station in the back right. A man with black hair and wearing a white shirt is writing on a blackboard which has a grid of train details on it, the title of the table is “THIRD DISTRICT”, the man writes a name in the “Engineer” section. Four workers, all in shirts and various hats, are reading paper that is on a table in the middle of the shot, they then all walk out of shot to the left. One of the workers climbs up a ladder onto a steam locomotive on the right side of the screen. Another worker climbs onto the other side of the train. Camera follows the driver as the train moves away to the right of the screen. Three flatbed rail cars are parked in parallel with their ends up to a raised embankment, where a large mass of military vehicles are parked, the narrator explains military units were already being prepared even before war was declared. Close up of one of the rail cars, three soldiers, two on the car and one to its right wave for the vehicles to be loaded. Side view showing some of the vehicles moving towards the rail cars which have troops guiding them on, the narrator explains this is the largest movement of troops and equipment in history.

An M10 Tank Destroyer painted in drab with white US Stars is driven onto one of the rail cars, being guided by a troop in front of it. An open truck followed by two jeeps are loaded onto a rail car, all are painted drab with white stars. Two more M10s are loaded onto a truck being guided by a soldier; three more tanks can be seen lining up in the background. Close up of a tank’s tracks as it moves. Close up of the front of a tank as it moves towards the camera, another tank can be seen following it. Two soldiers in full kit and helmet are nailing chocks in front of a parked jeep to secure it on the rail car. Side view of a rail car, six more troops are fitting supports onto the side of parked tanks. A long column of troops are running alongside a parked train, one group of troops runs past the camera while the group behind them breaks off and starts climbing aboard two passenger cars on the train, there is a rail worker in a white coat stood by the carriage as they climb in. Close up of the troops getting onto the train, when they all get in the rail worker picks up a wooden step and gets onto the train, the narrator explains the troops are loaded into “comfortable” rail cars.

View of the caboose, a rail worker waves a flag while looking to the front of the train. An engineer at the front of the train waves back down the train before climbing aboard as the train pulls away. Wide view showing the rails cars with tanks on them pulling away from the loading dock, with the other rail cars stationary. Close up of troops peering out of the windows and waving as the train moves away. View showing the train moving away from the camera, the passenger cars go past followed by the cars with tanks on them. Wide view showing the whole train moving past the camera between wide plains. Close up of the train, showing the vehicles along with some soldiers on the flatbed cars. Another wide view of a train full of flatbed cars moving along, the narrator explains that “in the first months of this globe-encircling conflict” railways moved more equipment than during “the entire span of World War One”. Side view of a metal rail bridge as the train moves over it, the narrator says there is “no longer any question” of the determination of the American railroad system. The train moves away from the camera past a platform at night, the screen fades to black. View looking down along a large rail depot, there are lots of box car trains parked next to platforms ready to be loaded with supplies from the platforms, workers can also be seen on the platform. Various rail workers are transporting goods around multiple platforms, some using dollies. A rail worker rolls a large wooden crate onto a box car, another workers walks towards and off screen with a barrel. A line of workers with wooden crates on dollies load the crates onto a box car.

Close up of two workers closing the door on the box car, the narrator tells us how essential the rail network is, it is the “lifeline of America”. A red and cream diesel locomotive pulls away from a station next to a steam locomotive and moves towards the camera, parts of a city can be seen in the background. A passenger steam train pulls away from a platform which has a few people on it, the narrator explains the capacity of Santa Fe’s civilian trains and explains the number of trains they have is equal to one train leaving every 48 seconds. A brown and cream diesel locomotive moves along a track to the left of the camera, the narrator tells us that the Santa Fe railway can support the war effort and the civilian demand on the home front. A steam locomotive passes under a bridge and towards and past the camera to the right, pulling a long line of brown box cars, the narrator begins to explain situations where the railways provide vital input, he tells us it is up to the railway if “an aircraft factory needs vital parts”. Another train pulling box cars and flatbed cars is moving away from the camera, the narrator tells us it’s up to the railroad if “a shipyard is running short on steel plates”. Two trains pulling a variety of cars move past each other going in opposite directions on parallel tracks, the narrator explains the railroads can help if there is a “food shortage in an overcrowded defence area”. A large flatbed truck with steel plates on it is driving into a shipyard, there are workers in the docks and three workers on top of the truck, and there is a large construction hangar and a large crane seen in the shipyard. Face-on view of two large warships side by side in the docks. Angled view of three warships under construction in parallel docks, there are lots of workers walking about the piers by them, the narrator explains they are being built by “thousands of free American skilled workers”. Four workers are lifting up a large steel plate from the parked flatbed truck, three workers are on the far side away from the camera and the other one is on the close side. View looking down on a large group of workers welding steel plates to make a ship’s hull, the narrator begins to reel off a list of different ship classes being built. Close up of the workers crouched side by side wearing welding masks welding a section of the frame. Another welder is welding the edge of a steel frame while another worker is crouched behind him observing him.

A middle-aged woman in a blue coat and pink boater hat is speaking into a large microphone a man in a suit on her right is holding, the man takes the microphone away and she hits a red white and blue bottle of champagne she is holding in her right hand onto the front of the ship’s hull. Front-on view of the ship rolling away from the dignitaries being launched from the dock, there is a photographer in a grey jumper in front of the camera, the narrator talks about these boats being ready to fight German U-Boats (Submarines) and Japanese warships. Brown and white cows exit an open rail car on the right of the screen and walk down a fenced ramp on the left of the screen, the narrator exclaims “look at those big, juicy steaks”. Different angle showing more cows mowing down a wooden ramp. Pigs are now moving down another ramp, the narrator is explaining how all of this food can feed “hungry citizens, at home or abroad”. A farmer in white overalls walks to the right of a large grain store in a field. Wide view of a large complex of metal grain silos in rows, there are some factories with chimneys behind it and a large building in the background. Inside a grain store, a worker in overalls props up a chute with a large plank, the narrator tells us “tons and tons of ripe golden grain is being delivered and stored”. Side view of the chute, the camera pans to the left showing the grain pouring out of it. Wide view of a large potato field, an orange harvest drives past the camera, it has a conveyor at the back which deposits the dug up potatoes onto the ground, as the harvester moves past the camera, and the camera zooms in showing the potatoes moving along the conveyor and onto the ground, the narrator tells us potatoes are “an important freight”. A worker in blue overalls and wearing a hat is stood up a ladder picking oranges from a tree. Close up of a worker pouring oranges from a sack into a stack of open crates full of oranges in front of more orange trees, narrator talks about “vitamin rich citrus”.

A single-engine fighter plane is stationary facing in front of the camera, its propeller is spinning, open plains and a barrage balloon is seen in the background. A B-25 Mitchell Bomber painted in dark grey is flying to the left of the camera, the narrator lists off types of aircraft that will be used to “blast and clear the way for conquering allied armies”. View from under and to the left of the aircraft, looking slightly up at the plane. View from behind and to the right of the bomber, you can see a white star painted on the fuselage, the camera follows the aircraft as it rolls to the left. Red-hot metal is moving along a rail truck? In the dark. Inside a factory, a set of linked circular saws cut into a bar of hot metal, sending a flurry of sparks flying. Metal being extruded towards the camera in a large furnace. A worker in overalls is loading shells from a pile on his right into a rack on his left. View looking down a row of M5 Stuart Tanks inside a large warehouse, above the tanks is a row of American flags hanging from the ceiling. Five jeeps drive out of a warehouse door, down a ramp and past the camera, a parked red car is seen on the left of the shot, the narrator explains how production and transportation are both vital to the war effort, he tells us production without transportation is “a ship without a sail”.

Two M5 Tanks drive out of a warehouse and past the camera. Camera focuses and follows an M5 Tank on a rail car with other tanks, the cars are part of a train which is moving to the right of the shot, and behind the train some stationary box cars with the Santa Fe logo on can be seen. A steam locomotive pulling a long line of box cars is moving towards the camera in front of a large rocky hill, the train has moved around a corner so the box cars can be seen to the side as the train moves close to the camera, the narrator explains the railroads have to move both finished products and raw materials for the war effort. A large group of miners in mining helmets and overalls are sat in three linked carts which are moving towards the camera, the carts move into a dark tunnel as the narrator tells us this is where war production begins, the mining of raw materials. A miner in full gear hits at rock to his left with a pickaxe. The worker is shovelling mined coal with a spade, the camera pans down to show the coal. Close up of a worker observing a conveyor belt carrying the coal up and out to the left of the shot, the narrator exaggerates about the coal saying the coal veins which “for centuries have been preparing for this day”. An electric train exits a mine tunnel, pulling a line of five full coal trucks, the train moves off the camera to the left. Top down view looking at the trucks of coal as they move past the camera, the narrator tells us the coal will be “keeping blast furnaces blasting until the freedoms of the land above are secured”. A worker tips up a truck of coal, pouring the contents of the truck down a hatch in the floor in front of the camera. Wide shot showing a multitude of large black oil derricks across the hilly landscape and some metal tanks in the foreground.

Close up of a rotating part of a reciprocating pumpjack, the machinery is surrounded by mesh fencing and a road can be seen in the background. Wide view showing the pumpjack working and the derrick frame, the narrator tells us that oil is “the black gold of mobility and striking power”. Wide shot of a refinery, large sets of steel pipes are seen all over the shot, large fractional distillation columns are seen on the right of the shot surrounded by pipes and metal structure. Close up of some of the pipes and structure. Close up of two metal gas flares in front of the camera with the rest of the refinery silhouetted behind them. A worker in overalls is stood on top of one of the tanker cars of a large train, he is guiding a large pipe into the top of the tanker, the hose is pumping oil into the tanker, and the narrator tells us the railroads proposed they could move “200,000 barrels of oil a day”. Two workers place another pipe into a different tanker car; the narrator tells us that people regarded the railroad’s proposal “merely a daydream”. The train pulling around 10 tanker cars moves away from the camera, there is a worker in overalls holding onto the back of the train. The camera follows the steam locomotive as it moves to the right before zooming out to show the tanks it is pulling, the narrator explains how the railroads actually managed to transport “1 million barrels a day” of oil at a crucial point.

Wide shot the pans across an open pit copper mine, an electric train moving trucks of copper can be seen in the foreground. A large metal mechanical shovel sweeps up the side of the mine and rotates to the left and above an open top rail truck which is part of an empty train of cars, behind this train another one with trucks full of rock can be seen, the narrator tells us the mechanical shovel can carry “8 cubic yards [of copper] with each ravenous bite”. A steam train pulling a long line of at least 30 trucks filled with copper rock is moving to the right across the mid-ground of the screen with rocky plains either side of the track. The camera pans down the screen showing three large drilling rigs with three workers at the bottom of the closest one, the narrator explains this is sulphur mining. A pool of sulphur is being filled up by a small pipe in the middle of the shot. Wide view of the liquid sulphur being piped onto a large flat where a worker is raking the dried sulphur in the background. A massive pile of sulphur fills the shot, there is some mining equipment to the left of the sulphur, and a part of the sulphur pile falls away in an “avalanche”. A rail crane picks up a load of sulphur from a large mountain to the left and turns the load towards a truck. Wide shot showing two rail cranes depositing sulphur in a large line of open rail cars, the narrator explains that the sulphur used to be taken by boat, but due to submarines the railroads had to supply “an additional 20,000” rail cars to move the sulphur. A steam locomotive pulling a long line of cars filled with sulphur drives towards and past the camera, the sulphur plant can be seen in the background. Wide shot of a train depot outside mining buildings, the narrator tells us this is a potash factory. A worker in black overalls operates a large drilling machine mining the raw ore from a vein in front of him. Close up of the rock being picked up by a conveyor belt on the digging machine. Two workers are sat on the front of a small engine pulling a few open trucks of the ore behind it. A large box car is seen next to the factory. A chute is moved into the box car and positioned over a wooden box. The potash pours out of the chute into the wooden box; the narrator explains the railroad will transport the potash “to the corners of the nation”. A tall pine tree falls down in a forest with a few other pine trees nearby. A small transporter filled with stacks of wooden planks is being driven by a worker to the left in front of a sawmill.

A group of workers are moving bales of cotton onto a rail truck, assisted by a tractor crane. Close up of the cotton bales being moved. Close up of a magnet on a crane picking up a rusty train wheel from a large scrap pile. Wide shot showing the crane putting the rusty wheel inside an open hopper rail truck, the narrator explains that all of the services shown depend on the railways. A steam locomotive pulling a long line of trucks moves past the camera, the train is pulling three open top truck filled with what looks like sulphur, followed by a long line of closed box trucks. A large brick factory is seen in the middle of the screen with the sign “Santa Fe all the way” adorned at the top of the building along with a Santa Fe logo, the building has two rail tracks coming out of the front of it. Close up of a wheel base being moved under the main body of a red and white diesel locomotive with a yellow Santa Fe logo on, workers are seen either side of the train. Side view of a steam locomotive being worked on by an engineer in overalls up a stepladder, other engineers are walking past as the narrator explains that new trains need to be built due to the extra work the railroads have had to take on.

Two workers loosen a large nut from a train and begin to remove it. A steam locomotive is turning clockwise on a turntable in a large depot, the narrator explains due to the wartime needs for engines the railroads have a new slogan “if it’s got wheels, get it rolling”. Camera pans to the right showing old engines parked in sidings, stacks of planks are seen in the foreground, as the camera pans across the narrator explains these old unused engines are being brought back into service due to wartime need. An old steam locomotive, with the number 3723 in white on the side, slowly rolls away from the camera inside a workshop and comes to a stop. Three engineers remove one of the wheel rods from the train using a chain hoist, behind the three workers another three are working at the side of the train. Close up of the rod, one of the workers writes “3723” on the rod in chalk, the narrator explains each part is marked to ensure “proper and speedy repair and replacement”. The workers move the rod out of shot to the left. A worker, wearing overalls and protective goggles, is operating a metal lathe in front of him; a large metal rod is turning in front of him. Close up of the lathe, showing the flat disk at the end of the rod being grinded round, the narrator tells us the old parts from disused trains are being refurbished. A large rusty metal cylinder is being rotated on a lathe as a worker appears to be coating the tube with some sort of metallic substance.

A worker is operating some sort of electric welder which is producing a lot of sparks, the worker is stood behind a shield operating the machine. Close up of a hollow metal cylinder being turned on a lathe, a worker adjusts the device using a small rod in their hand A worker is using a large metal rod to break and remove firebrick cladding on the engine, the narrator explains the firebrick is going to be replaced. A worker is stood inside the boiler of the locomotive facing away from the camera; he is repairing the boiler using a welding torch. A worker is inspecting the drive gears inside the engine. A set of train wheels is lifted from a pile of them using a crane while a worker cleans it with a high pressure hose. Steel tyres are fitted to the set of wheels inside a workshop, a worker sets the wheels on fire, the narrator explains the heat expands the tyre so it fits. The wheel has now cooled and two workers are hitting it with sledgehammers, fitting the tyre on. A worker walks off the right of the screen as the wheels are lifted up by crane and moved off to the left in the workshop. Wide view of outside the workshop, a train moves out of a building in the background and towards the camera. A train pulling flat bed cars with metal locomotive parts moves to the right through a train yard with other locomotives parked behind it. Four workers are stood by the side of a parked steam locomotive; three are painting white details onto the engine while the other man is supervising. A worker paints “3723” in white onto the front of the train. Shot of the front of the engine, the bell is seen ringing and more number “3723” are seen. The train starts rolling away and to the left of the camera. Different angle, the train is moving towards and to the left of the camera. A group of workers are building rail box cars in a long line on a track. A worker wearing a welding mask is welding part of a box car. A worker is repairing a set of rail car wheels as a small forklift-type vehicle moves past, the narrator explains all around the country rail cars are being repaired and rebuilt.

Two workers on scaffolding remove a stencil from the side of a box car, revealing a new Santa Fe logo painted on. A worker welds the door of a metal box car. A hot metal rod is being pulled along as a metal hammer periodically hits down on the metal, shaping it. A worker moves a hot piece of metal around under an automatic hammer, shaping it into a wheel rod, the hammer has “Don’t place hands in line of hammer” painted in yellow next to it. Molten metal is being poured into a large basin filled with molten metal; flames are seen on the surface of the metal. A worker is operating a large steel roller that is curving a sheet of steel into a cylinder. A grinding machine is cutting the grooves in a gear that is fixed in place, the cutter moves to the left to cut the grove. A worker is testing some valves he has on a desk; he turns the valves and observes the readings on the gauges attached to them. An engineer is stood looking at a large panel with gauges and levers, some of the gauges are moving, the narrator tells us “This is a war of movement; let’s keep ‘em rolling”. A large group of railway workers, all wearing straw hats, are laying a new track in the middle of wide plains, which is in line with the camera, the narrator begins to talks about the unsung heroes that work in the sidelines to keep the railways working. Workers are laying the metal tracks onto sleepers in front of a stationary train. Close up of two workers bolting two sections if metal rail together. A worker is using a mechanical device to tighten the bolts on the rail joining piece. A long line of workers are hammering the rail down using sledgehammers, the two rails are connected by temporary metal pieces to keep the track in line. A worker inside a signal box is stood in front of a large set of signal controls; he moves one of the levers. A worker is stood on scaffolding at the side of a bridge across a chasm; the worker is repairing the bridge.

Close up, the worker is moving concrete that is being piped into a gap to form a bridge support. Four conductors in black suits and hats are stood at a large desk through an open hatch, two of the conductors are writing on paper before they all turn and leave. A station worker is stood on a platform, holding a pronged net-like device in his hand, as a train speeds past he holds it up and the engineer takes a track token from him. A ticket salesman in a suit and tie is stood inside a booth; two military personnel are talking to him, the one on the left hand over some money and takes a ticket, before turning to move away. A dispatcher is sat at a table in a white shirt, he is writing on a timetable on the desk. Two workers are at the top of a signal on a tall pole, they are adjusting the signal by moving pats of it. Close up of an operator using a Morse code sender for a telegraph. Close up of a telegraph receiver inside a wooden box. Two workers are stood on top of a passenger train carriage, the one on the left hands a large block of ice to the one on the right. A group of workers are cleaning and working on a passenger carriage, the narrator tells us to “give the railroad man his due”. Close up of two workers working on the underside of a rail car. A person is holding a match or torch in the dark. A torch is burning in the night near a parked train. Inside a large room, a lot of women in shirts are sat at rows of desks, with piles of paper on the desks, some of the women are writing. View looking behind women who are sorting sheets of paper into different trays on a desk in front of them. Close up of one woman placing paper in the different trays. A woman is sat at a desk facing the camera, she is typing something on a typewriter, and there are stacks of other paper on her desk. Close up of the typewriter, the paper has “The United States of America” headed at the top of it. Close up showing the woman typing on the keyboard of the typewriter. View looking at five women sat in a row all using phones; they are answering calls and changing switchboards in front of them. Hot metal is being hammered in a workshop, the camera pans to the right to show a female worker in overalls pumping the air for the machine, the narrator tells us “Don’t think that the only jobs women are performing are behind office desks”.

Another woman in overalls is adjusting hot metal rods which are inside a furnace to her left. A woman in a jacket and tartan shirt is stood in front of the camera. View looking at her from behind, she is stood next to a man in a shirt and another male worker, they are all fitting bolts to a locomotive in front of them. Two women in shirts are washing a train using long pressure jet hoses. A red diesel locomotive rolls towards and over the camera which is placed between the tracks, the train has the Santa Fe logo painted in yellow on the front. The camera is looking at a group of parallel tracks. A passenger steam train quickly moves towards and past the camera on a track near the camera, on a track in the background a tanker train is moving towards the camera slowly. A long line of US troops in green uniform are marching towards the camera in the background, they then turn and march across the shot and out of the camera to the left between two troops in white shirts and hats watching them. View looking down the column of troops marching, other troops in blue/white uniform are seen marching in front of them.

A red Santa Fe locomotive with a cream logo is rolling along a track to the left of the camera, pulling a ling of box cars, the narrator begins to talk about how after “victory has been won” the railroads will have “an even more important job”, the narrator begins to list the great things about America etc. A train moves past the camera, on some flatbed cars various construction parts can be seen. Camera is looking from just above a train as it passes towards and to the left of the camera; the train is pulling open cars which are carrying large spools of metal wire. View looking down along a train as it moves away from the camera, it is pulling a long line of flat bed cars with stacks of cut timber on them. A steam locomotive moves to the left of the camera past a signal on the other side of the tracks, it is pulling a tanker cars followed by box cars, the narrator rhetorically asks “Would Santa Fe shoulder her share of the tremendous burden?”, he then answers “Well, if anyone could take justifiable pride in contribution … it is the men and the wheels of the American railroad, it is the wheels and the men of Santa Fe”.

A steam locomotive rolls towards and past the camera, pulling a line of metal passenger carriages. Close up of the end of a passenger carriage, it has a red circular sign with “The Chief” written in white at the tope and the Santa Fe logo in gold beneath it, the train moves away from the camera. Close up of A US Service Star Banner, a white flag with a red border and a blue star along with number 8057 in the middle, this likely represents that the AT&SF railroad company had 8057 employees at the time. Close up of an American flag, there are only 48 stars as there were 48 states at the time. Stylised text “The End” appears in white overlaying a blue and white Santa Fe logo, “TELEFILM Recording” is seen at the bottom of the screen.

To request more details on this film, please contact us quoting Film number 5617.