Within The Oval is a short 1950s film from the New York Central System that provides an overview of the company and its place in the railroad industry. The film reviews the people, places, and operations that make up the New York Central System, and features a number of shots of the company’s fleet of engines (02:39), including the Empire (00:35), a streamlined locomotive (00:46), the Commodore Vanderbilt (02:41), a Mohawk (15:56), and an ALCO Pacemaker (02:28; 16:15). The film discusses the various U.S. states and Canadian provinces where the company operates, and shows footage of related places, which includes the Ralston Purina Chows factory (01:25), New York City (01:33), agriculture lands, and more. A map of the New York Central System’s lines shows the reach the company has (02:00). Freight trains (03:34), without the widely recognized engine names, feature steam, electric, and diesel electric locomotives. At a rail yard (04:12), cars are moved. Coaches, diners, sleepers, and other cars are designed for the company’s passenger trains, while the freight trains (04:36) feature boxcars, stock cars, and other cars specific to transporting freight. The company owns and maintains a number of buildings, including the Boston & Albany building (04:57), stations and shops, towers and office buildings. The film covers some of the people or jobs within the company, including the President (05:54), a sea-going railroader, maintenance crews (06:44), and a ticket salesman. Many industries depend on the railroads, industries like the Tecumseh Coal Corporation (08:36), tractor manufacturing companies that ship tractors on freight cars (21:24), and the companies in charge of running America’s shipping harbors (08:41). Trains not only haul goods but also the machines that make those goods. The modern coal and ore facility in Toledo (16:25)—built in partnership with the New York Central System—allows the company to haul a tremendous amount of coal and ore each year. Another industry served by the trains of the New York Central System is the postal industry: U.S. mail is transported in mass quantities via the New York Central System’s rail lines (09:18). The construction industry (13:44) relies on railroads for the transportation of materials, making residential and commercial construction affordable and logistically possible in more places than ever. The film discusses where taxes paid by the company go, contributing to the funding of education, fire departments, and road maintenance. Customers enjoy riding the New York Central System (11:26; 12:48), as it takes them through cities (12:29) and rural areas. New cars are built to attract new business (15:00) based on responses from thousands of passenger surveys. Engineering staff design and test new equipment (17:15), and crews continue expanding the rail lines by building tracks near Little Falls, NY (17:58). An employee training program is being developed further, so employees can better understand their respective jobs when they join the company. Instruction cars, motion pictures, and slide films make the rounds teaching potential employees about the company and the business.

At the time this film was made, the NYC ran over 26,000 miles of track, and was a major force among America’s railroads. In broad geographic terms, the New York Central proper was everything east of Buffalo plus a line from Buffalo through Cleveland and Toledo to Chicago (the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway). NYC included the Ohio Central Lines (Toledo through Columbus to and beyond Charleston, West Virginia) and the Boston & Albany Railroad (neatly defined by its name). The Michigan Central Railroad was a Buffalo-Detroit-Chicago line and everything in Michigan north of that. NYC’s Grand Central Terminal in New York City is one of its best known extant landmarks. In 1968 the NYC merged with former rival Pennsylvania Railroad to form the Penn Central, which went bankrupt by 1970.

This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2K. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com

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