Railroad Rhythms/Rhythms Of The Freight Yard

Director Paul BurnfordDirector Paul Burnford utilized contemporary experimental music with composer Ruth White in a 10 minutes. 16mm, sound, color or black and white, movie from 1954.

Combining the actual sounds of the freight yard with a synchronized musical score, the film follows a freight train from the time it comes into the freight yard of a big city through the various service operations until, as a newly assembled train, it leaves the station on its way to the next big city.

The musical score and sound effects are also given on the record.

Inviting the audience to ride on the freight train as it lumbers along its way, the narrator points out that each freight car may be on its way to a different place.

When the freight train comes into the big city, it goes to the freight yard. The freight cars that are to stay in this city are taken to the terminal for  unloading. The other cars are sorted and made into new trains. The locomotive moves onto the round turntable in front of the circle of  roundhouse stalls.

The turntable swings around until the locomotive meets a set of tracks leading into an empty stall. In this stall, the locomotive is serviced and repaired.

The film leaves the steam locomotive to permit the audience an opportunity to examine a diesel locomotive which is on the wash-rack. The  narrator points out that the diesel has no smoke stack or outside rods on its wheels. When the diesel moves down the track of the mechanical wash-rack, soap squirts out of two iron pipes and giant scrub brushes spin against its sides. Finally, water is sprayed from an archway to rinse it.

The next sequence shows how switch engines are used to push freight cars to the top of the hump. Here, as they roll down a gentle slope, a  switch-man uncouples each so that it can be directed to the proper track according to its destination. The film then ends, as it began, with a full  freight train going on its way to a big city.


The film, emphasizing sound as an integral part of young children’s experiences with and understanding of freight trains, appeals especially to
their interests in creative rhythmic expression. If the responses of the group of youngsters who were invited to the film showing at the preview session at Indiana University can be expected from all groups, teachers should have no hesitancy in using the film with early elementary groups to present some big ideas connected with freight train operation and to provide the basis for group rhythmic activities.  The coordinated record was used effectively to provide the musical accompaniment for the children’s activities.

The handbook which accompanies the film is designed to help teachers in suggesting techniques for teaching rhythms, and with stick-figure drawings it shows floor patterns and movements developed by the children at U.C.L.A. Elementary School. , U.C.L.A.

From Educational screen & audio-visual guide (Volume 33-35)

 Railroad Rhythms

Label:  Rhythms Productions/BFA Educational Media/Film Associates of California, Los Angeles
Catalog#: AF 101
Format: 10″ (78RPM) /Video (Eastman Color-10 minutes color or b/w) [Unbreakable]
Country: US
Released: 1954
Original Price:  Color $100,  B&W &50 / Rental $3.00

Track List:
AF 101 A
1 The Train Ride
2 The Turntable
3 Yards Engines
AF 101 B
4 Washing The Diesel
5 The Hump

Produced by Paul Burnford with Ruth White
Directed by Paul Burnford
Handbook on Creative Rhythms and Railroad Rhythms



Rhythms Of The Freight Yard Handbook

A handbook on creative rhythms , railroad rhythms, rhythms of the freight yard
Label:  Rhythms Productions
Format:  Handbook
Country: US
Released: 1954

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: