Oct 18, 2015
Good stuff, Hank. I love seeing the skill and dedication of the machinists and all other employees of the railroads. Don't think we could do that today. I was always kind of interested in why former general, then president Eisenhower undertook the interstate highway program. The railroads did not meet his standards during the war? The war in Europe demonstrated the need for a highway system to move troops?
Nope. We could not. Too much track is gone, and more.
Nice, I saw a 3780 or 2900 class toward the end of the clip. The pantograph stack gave it away.
There is a web page that covers the reasons behind the Interstate Highway system. https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/interstate/interstatemyths.cfm
Ike saw how easy it was to disrupt rail transportation during the bombing of Germany. However, when the Autobahn was bombed, trucks, tanks, etc. merely drove around the damaged areas. That is why Ike insisted on the Interstate system for the defense of America. Furthermore he insisted that there be a 5280 foot straightaway every five miles for aircraft emergency landings. The landing specification was dropped with later Interstates, but is very evident with the initial highways.
Actually the landing strip requisite is also a myth. From the same page Russell linked above:
"One in five miles of the Interstate System is straight so airplanes can land in emergencies.
This myth is widespread on the Internet and in reference sources, but has no basis in law, regulation, design manual-or fact. Airplanes occasionally land on Interstates when no alternative is available in an emergency, not because the Interstates are designed for that purpose."
It would certainly be impossible in many places, especially where there are mountains or waterways meandering around.