National Geographic: Love Those Trains (1991) Movie Script

Sometimes is has seemed
that railroads were doomed.
The Durango-Silverton railroad
is one of the most spectacular rides
in the world.
In 1960, it was nearly shut down.
In 1883, the Orient Express ran
from Paris to Istanbul
created the ultimate in luxury travel.
It was abandoned in 1977.
In 1887, rotary snow plows first fought
the snow drifts in the High Sierras.
Looking like relics
they seem improbable holdovers
from the past.
Once this streamlined locomotive
hauled passenger trains
at 100 miles an hour.
But for 20 years,
it sat outside a museum,
its machinery rusting.
Yet today
these trains still run the rails.
Now they evoke a more remote past
when trains first
bridged the continent,
Ferried recruits to war
provided celebrities with an opportunity
to be seen and a chic way to travel,
gave a mobile campaign platform
to politicians,
and offered a refuge for hoboes.
Train tracks disfigure
the countryside
Trains assault the senses with
brutal noise and begrime the air.
How then account for the multitude
of people who love trains?
When you're actually running a train,
you just can't get enough.
I don't know.
Maybe I'm just a junkie for trains.
But that's about it.
I bought a caboose back in the '50s
because I was busy riding trains
in the '50s.
And suddenly I read in the paper one day
where trains were going to go out.
All passenger trains
would be taken off.
And I knew unless I got a piece of ride
on the train again.
So that's when I bought my caboose
and put it in my yard.
There are grown men who ride toy
steam trains at a mountain retreat.
There are train buffs
who choose to ride
through South America's Andes
on a baggage rack.
There's town in Iowa
that honors hoboes,
and there are thousands
of young people competing
for the chance to engineer a train.
There are people who harken
to the lonesome whistle blowing
and the clickety-clack
of wheels on rails.
Theirs is a worldwide fraternity
with no membership requirements
beyond sharing in the love of trains.
You've got a sheet like this
and it tells you
who's sitting in every seat,
and every seat is assigned, and...
There are many people so enamored
of trains that they take trains,
not to go anywhere,
but just for the pleasure of riding.
Each year the North Alabama
Railroad Club sponsors
an all-day excursion on a
Norfolk Southern steam train.
Seats are always sold out
and there's even competition
for a chance to work on the engine.
Bill Hayslip is a deputy sheriff,
and he loves trains so much that
he volunteers on his day off
for the dirtiest job
in railroading-apprentice fireman.
I've studied steam engines just
about all my life.
I guess I was born about
There's something about a steam
locomotive and railroad
that's just romantic.
A steam engine kind of has
its own personality.
It's like a lady.
You have to treat it just right.
Steam engines evoke
a special affection.
Though inanimate objects
of iron and steel,
they seem to breathe
with the fire of life.
This day the train will run to
Chattanooga, Tennessee,
evoking cherished memories
of a popular song.
I've often wondered
if I was maybe one of those people
that had trains
in my bolld or something.
Some people have alcohol,
I have trains.
I have spent the whole day
in Birmingham
just to see the two trains
go through town.
My wife thins that's crazy,
but, you know, it's a thrill for me.
Part way through the trip,
the train comes to a stop
in an open field.
Now begins the prized ritual
of the steam train excursion.
The train backs up,
cameras are readied,
and then a sweet symphony
for every train-buff's ear.
The train station in Chattanooga
has been transformed
into an entertainment center.
When the train returns to Huntsville,
Dr. and Mrs. Lonie Lindsey
stay on in Chattanooga for dinner
in a refurbished diner.
They remember
another train trip long ago.
We got on the train in Tuscumbia,
Alabama and we went to Chattanooga.
Went up to the courthouse
and we got married.
That was 55 years ago,
and we've had a
very lovely marriage so far.
And here 55 years later,
we do the same start-over again.
The most popular rooms at the Choo-Choo
Hilton Hotel are old train cars,
Nostalgic setting
for recapturing fond memories.
For those who love
to ride steam trains,
each trip is a journey into the past.
In the beginning, steam engines were at
the center of the Industrial Revolution
which could not even begin until
mankind learned one crucial trick
how to transform heat energy
into motion.
In the first century A.D.,
the Greek scholar, Hero of Alexandria,
invented steam-jet propulsion.
Hero's ingenious device remained
a toy until 1712
when Thomas Newcomen developed the
first successful steam engine
Newcomen's engine was used to
pump water out of coal mines.
One hundred years passed before
the first British-built steam
locomotives took to the rails.
Soon the public everywhere crossed
the threshold of a new age
as horses were replaced by the
latest locomotive invention.
Today, these early engines can
usually be seen only at museums,
where they seem
as distant as dinosaurs.
The John Bull is the oldest
operable steam engine in the world.
To mark the 150th anniversary of
its first American trial,
the Smithsonian Institution
brought it out
for a run along
the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
People who love trains dressed up
for the occasion and gathered
from miles around.
Many had never heard the hoot of a
steam whistle
or the screech of brakes.
Nostalgia for those seemingly
innocent days of American history
is very much alive today.
For some, no doubt,
steam engines are the attraction.
For others, perhaps,
it is the appeal of travel.
Or could it be that so many share
the romantic notion of growing up
to be an engineer?
These trains are called live steamers.
Seymour Johnson loves trains so much
that he donated land and equipment
for a miniature railroad at his home
in Montecito, California.
I think in my case and in the case of
a lot of people,
you kind of grew up with them as toys
and these are pretty big toys.
I started building
this particular engine in 1947
and I completed it in 1951.
And that's why I have the numbers on
the side-4751-to remind me of the time.
Johnson and the local members
of the Goleta Valley Railroad Club
spent 17 years building their line.
Today they test their engines
on more than a mile of track.
There is something nostalgic
about steam engines now,
of course, but the thing is,
a steam locomotive is live.
The engine talks to you
when you're running it.
You can feel what it's doing.
It tells you I'm working too hard
or I'm taking it easy.
You can hear it in the stack,
you can hear it in the sound of the
blower, the sound of the fire.
They've got steam engines that
are over a hundred years old
that continue to run.
Once a year, Johnson and the club
host a three-day meet
that attracts model owners
from all over the country.
Each engine is custom-built,
representing thousands of hours
of meticulous machining.
And as in real life,
the engineers discover
that steam engines can be cantankerous
beasts capable of fighting back.
Well, this is a 21/2-inch scale,
narrow gauge locomotive built
to run on 71/2-inch track.
We're trying to duplicate exactly
the kind of engine
that the Colorado & Southern used
back in the years
of 1890 through 1936.
Hey, John, you want to push
the daylight car into the siding?
The most popular daily event is
the grand tour of the line
for families and friends.
Three engines are coupled.
Together they are pulling six tons
of engines, cars, and passengers.
We now have 14 cars.
Mostly they're freight-car type
because people are way out of scale.
This train is one-eighth full size,
but people aren't.
So if you put them in a passenger car,
you can't put a roof on.
But if you put them in a freight car,
the sky is the limit.
Many of those who build and enjoy
riding live steamers
can still
recall the old days
when steam engines ruled the rails.
The halcyon days of steam and
rail began after World War 1.
The Big Boy of the 1940s was driven
by four pistons
that powered 16 drive wheels.
It was the largest steam engine
ever built,
and could pull a train five miles long
And during World War II, steam engines
transporting the freight,
weapons, and troops to the seacoasts,
made possible the fast buildup
of America's war machine.
In the 1950s, steam gave way to
diesel and rail companies,
competing for passengers
promoted streamliners
as the chic way to travel.
But late in the decade,
passengers shifted to automobiles
and airplanes for long-distance travel
and trucks took over much
of the freight.
The low point came in the 1970s.
congress rescued six bankrupt
railroad by creating Conrail.
Railroad lines were abandoned,
and hundreds of
stations closed for good.
Although Americans seemed to lose
interest in passenger train travel,
some countries maintained their
trains as national treasures.
The narrow-gauge Guayaquil and
Quito Railway in Ecuador
plays a vital part in national life,
and people here use the railroad
like a party line.
It even serves as a food market
on wheels.
Train buff and writer Carla Hunt
has traveled
throughout South America on trains.
The Guayaquil-to-Quito run draws
her back as the
most exciting in South America.
A train buff's dream
an American-built Baldwin engine-
a relic from 1900-begins a two-day
climb from sea level
to over 11,000 feet in the Andes.
Passengers have a choice
of three classes.
Second class costs a dollar sixty.
First-class cars sport padded seats
for two dollars ten cents,
and local vendors offer lunch
on brown paper.
The affluent, who ride deluxe,
get reserved seats and meal service.
But some prefer the roof where
conductors seldom collect tickets.
American engineers
laid out the route in 1898.
It took ten years to cut the line
from the sugar cane fields
of the lowlands up over the Andes.
When the train going up fails to meet
the train coming down
at the appointed siding,
there's an unscheduled stop
for a phone call to find out
what happened to the other train.
These trains, not only do they
carry the people up and down,
but they carry the mail.
Every once in a while you see them
with a medical prescription,
a telex that might have come
into Guayaquil
but can't make it up
between the two points.
There is a telex facility at Tiobamba.
But between here and Riobamba
there is absolutely nothing.
The train that's coming from Riobama
has a problem in Huigra.
One of the wheels of the machine
was falling down off the track.
And now we are going with this
train to help the other train.
So, back to Huigra.
Ah, fantastico.
Derailments are common,
but the speeds are slow
and the accidents usually minor.
As a bonus, amateur supervisors
get a chance to see how,
with a minimum of equipment,
a derailed car can be coaxed back
onto its track.
After a change of engines, the train
climbs into the mountains once again.
In the early days of the American west
railroad builders often resorted
to zigzagging switchbacks
to gain altitude.
On this line, a famous switchback
is still in use.
The train has proceeded
as far as it can up the valley.
Now it switches to another track,
and backs up the side of Devil's Nose,
giving passengers on the rear
platform a front-end view.
The train backs around the mountain,
then switches again to climb higher.
Going forward again,
the train has climbed
of the mountain.
At the end of the first day,
the train stops at Riobamba.
For Carla Hunt, a visit to the
market is a fascinating
feature of the trip.
People come from miles around
to sell and buy.
You see things in this market
you won't see anywhere else
in Latin America.
But more than anything else,
I like to wander around and look
at all those beautiful faces.
From Riobamba to Quito,
the train is really a bus on rails.
There are seats inside,
but for hardy train buffs
like Carla Hunt,
there is a much more
exciting vantage point.
The place I like to ride is up
on the luggage rack on top.
That's the best sightseeing seat
in South America.
To go through the mountains and to
climb over the two ranges of the Andes
to go through the beautiful
upland villages
with all the wild changes of
weather on route,
there's nothing in the world like it.
Clouds shroud the peaks of the Andes
as the line climbs high through cuts
in the mountains and then descends
to Ecuador's capital,
the Spanish colonial city of Quito,
to bring to an end one of the world's
most extraordinary train ride
In the United States,
another spectacular train ride
inspired one train buff
to take dramatic action.
The line from Durango to
Silverton, Colorado
was threatened
with abandonment in 1960.
Charles Bradshaw Jr.,
Florida citrus grower,
rescued it in 1981.
Like many a town in the old West,
Durango was created by a railroad.
The Denver & Rio Grande chose the
site laid out the streets,
and sold lots around the depot.
Young people, who share Bradshaw's
enthusiasm for trains, keep it running
I love it. I really love it.
I go home and tell my husband,
I learned all kinds
of new things today.
I would like to be
an engineer very much.
You have to go through
all the training,
which is pretty physical for a girl
and then you have to also a fireman,
which shovel six ton of coal a day.
I wouldn't want to get out of my
limit I don't think that's right.
My father and my grandfather
and my great-grandfather
were all railroaders before me.
They worked for the Rio Grand.
Not this particular branch.
I'm the first one in the family to
work for this branch of the railroad.
None of them were conductors.
They were all in different parts
of the railroad,
so I'm the first conductor
in the family.
They have to be pretty
responsible people.
They can't be irresponsible at all.
Aren't you pretty young
to be an engineer?
I hear that about 30 times a day.
If I couldn't handle the job,
I wouldn't be here.
Silverton is only 45 miles
from Durango,
but to get there, the train must climb
almost 3,000 feet
In the 1870s,
huge discoveries of ore were made
in the mountains surrounding Silverton
but there was no economical way
to get the ore out.
The railroad made the mines profitable
The ore is now removed by truck.
The traffic has changed,
but the town still prospers-mining
tourist dollars.
All aboard.
As soon as the route was completed,
the drama of the train's traverse
of the Animas River Canyon
was recognized as one of the great
sights of American railroading.
In the early 1880s,
photographer William Henry Jackson
lowered himself into the canyon
to take this picture,
published in Harper's Weekly magazine.
Today's passengers can still enjoy
the same spectacle.
The ride is potentially just as
dangerous now as it was then.
A derailment could topple
the cars 200 feet into the gorge.
An extraordinary train run has been
preserved because of the dedication
of one man and the delight that
more than 100,000 people a year
take in supporting the line.
Boston has its marathon;
New Orleans its Mardi Gras.
Britt, Iowa honors hoboes.
Once a year, this small town invites
hoboes from all over the country
to drop by for a visit.
The get-together largely attracts those
who have retired from
actively riding the rails
and can now look back on their former
rag-tag wanderings with nostalgia.
Hoboes were not always so honored.
Hoboing began during hard times
after the Civil War.
And in the Great Depression,
the desperate once again took
to the rails.
Sometimes railroad police
threw them off moving trains.
Others jumped rather than face
the reception they received
when caught crossing state lines.
If we are to protect the public
of Southern California
from the indigent transient class.
They are coming here at this time,
not for the purpose of securing work,
but for the purpose of living
on relief,
stealing, or begging.
Where is your home?
You ride a freight all the way
from Chicago?
Yes, sir.
Well, you can ride, 'em back too,
or any way you can to get back.
We're going to see you
over the state line.
Don't come back to California
until you can come in like a man.
Hobo camps are called jungles,
and life in them has always been hard.
But in Britt, Iowa
the jungle is a place to
renew friendships and swap stories. '78
Yes, yes.
Yeah, I remember you.
My memory that bad?
Now wait a minute!
Every year you get older,
you have a special privilege.
Every year you will get a little
bit better at forgetting.
Yes. I am there already.
Hoboes are known most often
by their nicknames.
"Steamtrain" was first elected
hobo king in 1973.
Now we got a young goat here,
and it's going to be
some pretty tender eating
when we get him all browned up here.
Yes, sir.
We'll have some of the
best music and some of the best food
you'll ever sit down to.
Time has reversed these hoboes' roles
once they were outcasts.
Now Britt youngsters look up to them as
knights of the open road
who seem to have lived
in a mythological age.
That's my name, see.
That's your name? Well, this is mine.
Mountain Dew. I was talking
to the hoboqueen and she says,
Would you like to be a hobo?
and I said, "Sure."
And I go, How do you be a hobo?
and she said-well, she pulled out
this kind of perfume stuff,
whatever it is-and she goes,
I acquire you prince, a hobo price.
And she put some on my forehead.
So I'm a hobo prince.
And my name is "Beer-Belly Bob."
I started out when I was about 16,
and had 12 years on and off,
different places.
Working irrigation ditches up
in Washington,
or cutting pulp wood in New York,
dong lifeguard work down
in Miami Beach,
working in a gypsum plant in Yuma,
washing dishes in California
You know, different stuff like that.
Working in the coal mines,
but they gave me a day shift.
When I went in, it was dark
and when I come out, it was dark,
and I worked there two weeks.
I told them
when they put windows in there,
I'd come back to work.
How long did you hobo?
From when to when?
About, let's see, 1931 to '38.
Something like that.
What's the satisfaction?
Of being free.
Being free.
In other words, not having to
account to anybody for your actions.
As the sun sets,
the hoboes gather around a fire,
and balladeers recall the hard days
of depression times. wandering.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
If the railroad doesn't get you,
then the bread lines must,
And it looks like I'm never going
to cease my wandering.
When most railroad buffs
think of trains,
they think of passenger trains.
But many of those most devoted
to trains have found their life work
with the railroads.
Whether they maintain the racks
or work on the trains themselves,
the big business for them is freight,
moving everything from coal to lettuce.
And although much of the public thinks
railroads are a dying industry,
in fact they are thriving.
Deregulation has permitted them
to abandon money-losing lines,
and new techniques, like piggyback
hauling of truck trailers
and containers, attract new customers.
The mass-market shipping of fresh
produce by rail
enables farmers in California
to sell lettuce to buyers
Lettuce harvesting has become
an assembly-line operation-
cutter, packer, sprayer, box-closer.
Today's lettuce that
we've got is probably the best
we've had in about a week and a half.
It's 54 to 55 pounds absolutely clean.
Derek Derdivanis is Sales Manager of
the Admiral Packing Company in Salinas.
He sells lettuce by the carload
to buyers all over the country.
Just call us back with that order,
will you?
You know.
The one you got in your back pocket.
A refrigerator car
holds 30,000 heads of lettuce.
This one is bound east
for New York City.
The morning after the lettuce
is picked, the Admiral lettuce car
has been joined to a 50-car train
called the "Salad Bowl Express."
Five Southern Pacific engines
are needed to pull the train
over a 7,000-foot-high pass
in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
The route climbs toward Donner Pass.
On average,
and avalanches have obstructed travelers
as long as the pass has been used.
In November 1846, blizzards trapped
the emigrant Donner party here.
Thirty-five died
of starvation and exposure.
Some survivors resorted to cannibalism.
In the spring of 1982,
ten feet of snow fell in 12 days
in the High Sierras.
Southern Pacific stopped all trains
across Donner Pass.
Diverting traffic cost $100,000 a day.
Snow fighters tried to keep
the lines open
with spreaders-snow plows that push
the huge drifts to the side.
But when the snow drifts too deep,
spreaders stall
and the pushing wings collapse.
The nerve center of the railroad's
fight is a community of houses
and offices connected by tunnels
so buried in snow that
it is call "Mole Town."
Here a hundred men and women
work day and night.
Norden operator.
Everything's in the clear
on the Number Two?
How about the rotary?
Rotary's in the clear
on the Number Two...
Management calls for its ultimate
snow-fighting machines-rotary plows
that can dig through almost
any accumulation of snow.
...that engine's being held right now.
The rotary is going on down
to the other end of the siding.
Throwing five tons of snow a minute,
the rotary can literally dig
a trench deeper than itself.
As one rotary chews toward the top of
the pass from the west,
another struggles up from the east.
The first train comes through.
Beyond the Sierras,
the "Salad Bowl Express"
drops into the desert,
and a new crew takes over.
On the long, straight runs,
there's time for shared stories and
for trainmen to enjoy the camaraderie
which is part of the attraction
they feel for their work.
I don't think it's dawned on me
yet that I've had a kid.
I'm still in shock from it.
Went in Sunday night.
Had it Monday morning.
Last couple of days
have been pretty busy for me.
I was lucky.
Generally the railroad doesn't
allow you to be in town.
They keep you away
from home quite often.
So I was pretty lucky to be home
when it happened.
In 1950,
I was on a
high-speed perishables train,
and a passenger train come out
of a side track in front of us.
We hit him head
on about 52 mile an hour.
The engineer on the other train
was killed.
I'm very lucky to be here.
Now that scared me.
By evening,
the train is in eastern Nevada.
The next morning,
now with a Union Pacific
engine and crew,
the "Salad Bowl Express" climbs toward
the Continental Divide.
Around a curve, Castle Rock,
a well-known American landmark,
comes into view.
The famous photographer A.J. Russell
captured this same scene
when the transcontinental railroad
was nearing completion.
In 1867, it took three months to cross
by wagon from the railheads
on the Missouri River
to the Pacific Coast.
The new rail line cut that time
to less than a week.
Irish immigrants living
in railroad car dormitories built west.
Chinese coolies built east.
It was the most dramatic engineering
accomplishment of the century.
Gorges were spanned, mountains cut
through or tunneled under.
An army of workers fought summer heart
and winter snow
at a cost of uncounted lives.
There were no movie cameras to record
the great undertaking,
but once movies were invented,
filmmakers recreated the drama
in classic films;
John Ford's the Iron Horse
and Cecil B. DeMille's Union Pacific.
Crossing the mountains,
the deserts, and plains,
Fighting the heat,
the cold, and the rain,
Summer to autumn, winter to spring,
Bring 'em up, lay 'em down,
make the hammers ring,
Building a new road under the wheel,
Bind up the earth in iron and steel,
Working east, working west,
we're building our way,
On bad food, hard liquor,
and a dollar a day.
It was a day of national celebration
when the two lines met
at Promontory, Utah.
A.J. Russell recorded the scene
in what is perhaps
the most famous photograph
in American history.
And in 1924,
when John Ford recreated the scene
for his film,
he based the action
on the photographer to pose the crowd.
The joining of America's East and West
by rail is even more important today.
The "Salad Bowl Express" is only one
of 60 to 70 trains a day
moving across the nation
on this one line.
Now, near the end of its second day,
the "Salad Bowl Express" comes under
the traffic control
of dispatchers
at North Platte, Nebraska.
Here three men per shift control
every train
on the 245 miles of track diagrammed
on the walls.
They decide which trains get priority
on the lines.
The "Salad Bowl Express"
is rushed along.
Midnight. The "Salad Bowl Express"
arrives at North Platte.
Some cars will be sent south
and eastward on other lines.
Other cars will be added.
The freight cars are pushed up a hump
and separated.
Gravity powers them down the slope.
The tracks divide again and again.
Automatic sensors weigh the cars
and retarders brake them.
There are 221 miles of track
in the yard.
And as many as 5,000 freight cars
at a time.
By 4 a.m.,
a new train has been made up,
a new crew comes aboard,
and the train moves on.
In the afternoon,
the train crosses the Missouri River.
Operated now by Chicago
and North Western railroad,
it traverses the rich farmlands
of Iowa.
The next morning,
the train is in Chicago.
Marshaling yards like this one
are dangerous places.
You have to watch for cars
coming from both directions.
There could be debris sticking
out of the car.
Try not go get caught in a situation
where you have trains moving
at high speed in both directions
on each side of you.
If you do have a tendency
to feel dizzy, lay down on the ground.
You could reel under the car.
Despite railroad emphasis on safety,
there is an average of 15 deaths
and 6,700 injuries
to American rail-yard workers
each year.
Danger for railroaders comes not only
from the trains themselves.
In the early days,
desperadoes like Jesse James,
Butch Cassidy,
and the Sundance kid held up trains
in the lonely plains and mountains
of the West.
Today, trains are most often attacked
as they pass through depressed areas
We had one conductor-they got him with
a gun and robbed him at Park Manor.
It's just a few things that we go
through out here.
Everybody thinks
we've got such a swell job.
We have our ups and downs, too.
This is our most dangerous spot
of the trip.
They put different articles
on the tracks to derail us.
They put old truck tires
so they'll break the air hoses in two.
They'll throw beer bottles,
anything they can get their hands on.
We've been shot at.
They shot at me five times
through the caboose windows.
I've got pictures of the holes.
It was either a.38 or a.45
because it put big holes.
Sometimes they do it to rob the train.
They break us in two to rob us,
so they can take things off of us.
On the cabooses they have...
No, I know all about it.
He's going to throw.
No, he's not either.
Oh, we go through this every day.
It's nothing new to us.
The many dedicated man and women
who are drawn to railroad work
also live with the danger that goes
with the job.
The "Salad Bowl Express" rolls through
the heartland
of the industrial Middle West.
On the fifth morning,
the train parallels the Mohawk River.
Now under Conrail control,
it follows the same route taken
in 1825 by the Erie Canal.
Early on the sixth morning,
the "Salad Bowl Express" arrives at
its destination in the Bronx.
Ten carloads of produce are unloaded
at Hunts Point Terminal each day.
The carload of lettuce from Salinas
has been bought by the Armata family,
wholesalers who in turn
sell to markets and restaurants.
Beautiful box of lettuce.
As my father would say,
It talks to you.
As soon as you open up the box...
It has been seven days
since the lettuce was picked.
It took four railroads
and the involvement of 1,000 men
and women
to move it across the country.
Half a million people work for
the railroads in the United States.
In one sense, theirs is just a job,
but it is an essential job,
moving the grain, steel,
coal, automobiles,
perishables-even the lettuce for
a PTA luncheon in Baldwin, Long Island.
Traditionally, little boys
were given model trains for Christmas
and, captured by a dream, many grew up
wanting to become an engineer.
The reality today is not far different.
For a new class of 23 engineers,
the Long Island Railroad
had 2,000 applicants to choose from.
Now to get the train moving,
you'll need to reverse.
You're in forward.
This position.
This is your throttle.
Now we'll go in eight notch.
Alright, blow the whistle.
Dave Decker, senior instructor,
has been an engineer for 14 years.
Decker loves engineering and teaching,
but the memory of train accidents
in his past brings a special urgency
to his teaching.
Engineering used to be a man's job,
but Federal affirmative action
guidelines give Vita Zamboli,
a former secretary, and extraordinary
opportunity to join
an elite group of railroad employees.
I can teach an engineer how to make
a proper brake application
and accelerate, decelerate.
That's the easy part.
My most difficult responsibility is to
instill into an upcoming engineer
that they have
monumental responsibilities.
The is no margin for error.
Not when you are dealing
with 1,600 people behind you.
Hopefully, I can bring this across
to these upcoming engineers.
Are you relaxed?
A little damp.
Alright. That's good.
That means you've got guts.
If you're not nervous in here,
there is something wrong.
How do you feel?
Are you coming in strong?
As she brings the train into a station
Vita must learn the right timing
how strongly to apply the brakes
so as not to stop too soon
or overrun the station.
Now what you want to do is bear
off the last second.
No, no, not this.
Right, bear if off.
You want that feel of this thing
charging into the station
and making your initial application
and then your final application.
You ever run a train before?
Huh? Never?
You did a heck of a job.
What do you think? What do you feel?
You feel that this...
It was exciting. It was great... this going to be
your occupation or what?
Yes, it is.
I'm sure it's going to take a while.
But I will get the feeling
of bringing a train in.
There are going to be times
in your career
when you are going to run across
a grade crossing accident.
You're traveling along at 65,
and a car comes around a gate
or through the gates.
There's not a thing you can do.
You hope you give pre-warning,
that a warning whistle or warning bell
before you get to
that crossing are ample.
You'll search your soul to know
whether you did it or not.
It's not just the glory of
running over the road and to say,
I always wanted to be an engineer.
Now I have that.
It's that you have to take
that responsibility.
If her engineering career
follows the norm,
Vital will face 500,000 road
crossings in the next 25 years.
If she is never involved
in an accident,
passengers who ride her trains will
have no reason to learn her name.
There are many great train rides
around the world,
but not one can match
the aura of elegance,
mystery, and romance surrounding
the name-Orient Express.
It ran for almost a century until its
demise in 1977.
Now two men have revived
the historic run to Istanbul.
Albert Glatt bought
the 1920s-vintage cars
and lovingly refurbished them.
Sometimes, you know,
you have to do everything on the train
T.C. Swartz chartered the cars for
those who could afford to recapture
the glory of rail travel in its heyday.
...and then how to surpass it.
People's idea of luxury
is a little bit different
than maybe what is actually was.
So we're trying to do now
is to give them more luxury
than they had in the past.
In fact, to make it the ultimate trip.
I can't believe it,
Oh, it's marvelous.
There will be 98 passengers
on this trip,
each paying a modest $5,000 one way.
I think the dogs are great.
...great, but they are...
Yeah, but I can't see them sitting
in the dining car.
Some passengers, like actor Hal Linden
and his wife,
stage an arrival
in the grand tradition,
harking back to the aura
of a princely trip.
Original inlaid wood decorations
and Lalique molded glass reliefs
still decorate the cars.
Names of the countries the
Orient Express passes through
Austria, Hungary, Romania,
Bulgaria-ring with romance.
Memories of mysteries like Murder on
the Orient Express surround
the passengers with an atmosphere
of champagne and dreams.
Well, my name is Otto.
And I'm supposed to play the
piano all the way to Istanbul.
It seems like everything that's
wonderful about
the world is going away,
and the trains are one of those things
Kim Vosper and Kyle Collins advanced
the date of their weeding
so they could make this their first
trip together as a married couple.
For bourgeois travelers,
meals in an aristocratic French style
the ultimate temptation for
those who count calories.
I remember as a child we used to put
people on the train in New Iberia.
And I was never sad because
they were leaving.
I was always sad because
I wasn't leaving too,
but I wasn't standing on the back
platform when I'm waving goodbye.
I think I was six or seven when
I took my first train ride.
From that time on, I think I fell
in love with trains.
And then I heard that you could spend
four-and-a-half days on a train
that sold me on this trip.
The train cruises Europe like
an ocean liner.
Gypsies play as they did on the
first run of the Orient Express.
In the evenings, there are gala
seven-course dinners.
And occasionally the train waits
as passengers are bused
to the entertainment.
A champagne tasting at the
Mumm's winery in France.
And just as on its maiden voyage,
there is a festive reception
in Budapest.
On the first trip, no passengers on
the Orient Express
dined at the hunting lodge
of the sultan.
It is an express journey to the sun,
but the high point for
many comes in Vienna
where the Vienna Boys' Choir is only
a part of the entertainment.
Protocol prevented the Austrian
royal family from
receiving plebian passengers
of the first Orient Express
Now the Pallavicini Palace
is theirs for the evening.
And finally, the end of the
line-Istanbul, Turkey-
where passengers get the
red-carpet treatment, Oriental style.
For the 98 passengers of the
Orient Express,
the trip will remain an extraordinary
adventure into the romance of rails.
But the Orient Express has
no monopoly on beauty.
There are grand adventures for
everyone in a rediscovery
of travel by train.
Amtrak's Crescent,
with newly rebuilt equipment,
races like a speeding ship across
Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana.
The Great Plains offer the same
sweeping vistas that challenged
the pioneers so long age.
There are majestic views of the Rockies
on the Canadian transcontinental route
The San Diegan is a beachcomber
from Los Angeles to San Diego.
In the future, new trains traveling
for the run between
Los Angeles and San Diego,
and that is only the beginning.
Extraordinary experimental trains
may some day revolutionize land travel.
For those who love trains,
whether as engineer,
hobo, or passenger,
there's an appreciation due
for the song-writer's line:
It's got to be the going and
not the getting there that's good.