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Railroads on Parade (1938-39)

Pageant on rail transport written for the 1939 World's Fair.
Book by Edward Hungerford; lyrics by various authors.

List of Numbers
Performance Information

Scene from Railroads on Parade

Cheering accompanies the completion of the Union Pacific Railroad, in Utah; from the original production.


A chronological narrative of the effect of railroads on American life, told through recreations of historical events (the first appearances of the Stourbridge Lion and Tom Thumb, the driving of the golden spike) and fictional scenes. The show was remarkable for the use of actual locomotives and Pullman cars, and for the complexity of the staging--actors lip-synched voices piped in from a special sound room below the stage, where the orchestra was also located. Because of its historical appeal and the novelty of seeing actual railroad cars on stage, Railroads on Parade was one of the most popular attractions at the Fair in 1939 and 1940.

List of Numbers

1) Once Was the Time
2) Here's a Brave Beginning
3) Allegro moderato
4a) Alla marcia
4b) The British Grenadiers
5) Sostenuto -- allegro grazioso
6) Low Bridge
7a) Allegro assai
7b) Allegro assai
8a) Heave Away
8b) Allegretto moderato
9a) Allegro assai
9b) This Train Is Bound for Glory
10a) Westward Ho!
10b) Allegro giocoso
10c) Andante non troppo
11) I've Been Working on the Railroad
12) What the Engine Said
13a) Riding on the Railroad
13b) Alla marcia
14) Riding on the Cars
15a) Oh Mister, Where's the Train
15b) We're City Men of Sober Mien
15c) We're Travellers Through and Through
16) We Man the Trains
Additional material (1939 version, texts by Charles Alan):
17a) Our Lincoln Comes
17b) This Train is Bound for Glory
18a) Pullman Scene
18b) Wheels Through the Night
Additional material (1940 version):
19) The Sailor's Wife
20) Tell Ol' Bill
21) Snagtooth Sal/Sacramento
22) New Lincoln Scene
23) Two Little Girls in Blue
24) Pullman Blues
25) Orange Farm

Performance Information

Cast: Singing roles -- female narrator (soprano), male narrator (tenor), numerous soloists from chorus.
Speaking roles -- historic locomotives, historical figures, financiers, businessmen, workers, travelers.
Orchestra: 1.1.3.(3 Sax).0;; Perc, Gtr, Pno, novachord, Hammond organ; strings.
Duration: 70 minutes, 45 minutes music
Performance Rights and Rentals: All territories: EAMC
First Production: April 30, 1939, New York, World's Fair, Charles Alan, dir., Isaac van Grove, cond.


Transcription Recordings Radio broadcast of original cast, 1940 (contains over half of the show)

See also the concert suite, Trains Bound for Glory.