Trains of Tomorrow, After the War

Matt Novak:

American advertisers made a great number of promises for the future during World War II. The American people were told that if they could just be patient with wartime rationing, or the number of resources being devoted to the war effort, we would all be assured better lives after the war.

The Association of American Railroads was no different, and in the March 18, 1944 issue of Collier’s magazine they ran an ad which promised great things in train travel after World War II was through. It’s interesting for those of us perched from the vantage point of the future to remember that other methods of transportation, such as commercial air travel and even automobiles, weren’t the established forms that they would later become.

Reminiscent of Boeing’s and Airbus’s mockups of their latest planes, which often show their wares outfitted with some extravagance that most of us will never experience. Usually, such fantasies are quickly sacrificed at the altar of expense—the transportation industry is about moving things, and hauling empty space doesn’t pay as well. Still, they make for great ad copy.

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