Streamliners : America’s Lost Trains This has to be one of the best ever documentaries about the great streamlined passenger trains of yore. From their great beginning in the 30s until their demise and the start of Amtrak, one will shiver with delight at these beautiful icons of the golden era of passenger rail. A must see. Check out classic streamliners.com, too.
If you want a brief history of the development of the Burlington’s Zephyr and Union Pacific’s M-10,000 (the first two streamliners) and how the railroads tried to make money with shroud-covered steamers, flash diesels and after the Second World War, Vista-Dome cars this DVD would interest you. I found it disappointing because I was expecting to see a program actually devoted to streamliners rather than the extensive economic and social history of the times.
There were about a hundred streamliners over the years and there must be plenty of corporate and amateur movie stock to produce an hour program of these trains (though it is only fifty-four minutes long). There are some interesting train clips on the DVD but they really only add up to a few minutes. The first twenty-five are devoted to the Zephyr and M-10,000, the war gets seven minutes then the remainder is the Vista-Dome story and the causes of the decline of railroad passenger traffic until the last streamliner in the sixties.
As an overview of the streamliner in American life an interesting program but as a visual showcase for these wonderful trains you’ll have to look elsewhere.