The Friendship Train (1948)

Short14 min.Documentary | Short
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Two years after the end of World War II, many people in France and Italy were still ill-fed. Washington newspaper columnist Drew Pearson decided to launch a program that would help feed those who were those still hungry in these countries and other places in western Europe. It would not be a government program like the Marshall Plan. Rather, it would be a people-to-people effort, with contributions from individuals. Pearson met with the Association of American Railroads; steamship lines; leaders of labor and agricultural groups; radio and the press; and the motion picture industry. He persuaded them to publicize the program and to donate their time and facilities to transport the foodstuffs that would be collected. The result was the Friendship Train. This short film documents the Friendship Train's voyage from Hollywood across the country to New York City, as well as the initial delivery of food in France and Italy. The journey began on 27 October 1947, and ended in New York City on 19 November 1947. When the train pulled out of Hollywood, it had eight freight cars of cargo. At various stops along the route, the train was met by cheering crowds, and cars would be added to the train. When the train left Chicago it was split, with the New York Central Railroad going through northern New York state and the Pennsylvania Railroad going through Pennsylvania directly to New York City. At journey's end, there were 270 cars filled with food supplies for Europe. At the end, we see the cargo loaded onto ships bound for Europe, as well as the arrival of the first ships in France and Italy in late December 1947. Written By David Glagovsky <>  Less

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