All Aboard America is a short 1976 film about the bicentennial celebration train, the American Freedom Train, discussing the project’s inception, design and construction, layout and route. The film shows some illustrations of America’s founding fathers, images from the Civil War, and early footage of an automobile, World War I, and Franklin D. Roosevelt addressing a crowd. John Warner, head of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration, shows off the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights at the National Archives (03:50). A steam locomotive pulls a 24-car train (04:55). A man dressed in a colonial-era costume boards the train. Aerial footage shows the train cruising along railroad tracks. The train passes a windmill, drives through towns and over bridges, and cuts through farmland. At an old converted railroad station in New Jersey (07:13), American Freedom Train founder Ross Rowland speaks to the camera about his vision (08:20). In Venice, FL craftsmen modify old baggage cars into the cars that would become part of the American Freedom Trian (09:00). In Richmond, CA, People work on train cars for a west-coast train in Richmond, CA (09:58), cutting steel and welding the cars. Barry Howard of Larchmont, NY works on designs that will turn the old cars temporary display cars featuring the various exhibits (10:53). In 1974, people pull one of the old great “Iron Horse” locomotives, a Southern Pacific Daylight engine, from its pedestal in Oaks Park, located in Portland, OR. The former Reading Company T-1 class 4-8-4 #2101 engine is revamped for the eastern U.S. train (11:50). Designers shape a replica of the box in Ford’s Theatre where Lincoln sat when shot (12:20). Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner record a version of “Freedom Train” in a Nashville studio (12:37). Curator for Documents and Artifacts Ruth Packard speaks to the camera about the ten exhibit cars (13:35). Private Collectors catalog artifacts they are sending to be a part of the American Freedom Train (13:57). Actor and civil rights activist Ossie Davis records audio for the train. Radio City Music Hall producer Leon Leonidoff speaks to the camera from his living room about the potential of the Freedom Train. The display cars are readied for final inspection (15:20). Design fabricators install the equipment, artifacts, and documents. Viewers see a 1904 Oldsmobile Scout and an 1849 fire engine loaded into a car in Alexandria, VA (16:10). President Gerald Ford waves to the crowd at the start of the grand opening of the American Freedom Train. The film takes viewers aboard the finished train. In Car 1 (17:00), viewers see priceless documents from American history; Car 2 features early Native American artifacts and depictions of America’s expansion west. Car 3 is a visual display of various American developments (18:00), while the next car features life-like mannequins who represent immigrants. The fifth car is filled with the works of American inventors, including some original inventions. Car 6 showcases the writings of everyday Americans. The next car is filled with sports heroes as well as different memorabilia such as baseball bats. In the eighth car, viewers see a world of entertainment, with photographs of movie stars, excerpts and video clips of movies, sheet music, and more. Car 9 features painters and sculptors (20:28), while the final car illustrates key moments in history, such as John F. Kennedy’s presidency and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil rights work. A band plays on 1 April 1975 in Wilmington, DL during the grand opening (21:23). People line up to walk through the train. Kids pose in old costumes. Train engineer Doyle McCormack speaks about being a part of the project. There are shots of the train passing through towns and cities, including Sioux Falls and Chicago. The film concludes with people riding on and posing in front of the train.
The American Freedom Train toured the country in 1975–76 to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. The train was powered by three newly restored steam locomotives. The first to pull the train was a former Reading Company T-1 class 4-8-4 #2101. The second was former Southern Pacific 4449, a large 4-8-4 steam locomotive that is still operating in special excursion service today. The third was former Texas & Pacific 2-10-4 #610, which pulled the train in Texas. Due to light rail loadings and track conditions on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, diesels hauled the train from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama. Diesels were also required in Chicago after the steam locomotive derailed attempting to negotiate tracks by the Chicago lakefront.
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, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com