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Railroads on Parade

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

Work Details


70 minutes, 45 minutes music

First Performance

30 April 1939, New York, World's Fair, Charles Alan, dir., Isaac van Grove, cond.


Although Railroads on Parade a whole is unavailable, see Associated Works below for a concert adaptation of excerpts.

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.

  • 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
  • 17a) Our Lincoln Comes
  • 17b) This Train is Bound for Glory
  • 18a) Pullman Scene
  • 18b) Wheels Through the Night
  • 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

  • Cast

    • Singing Roles

      • Female narrator (soprano)
      • Male narrator (tenor)
      • Numerous soloists from chorus
    • Non-Singing Roles

      • Historic locomotives
      • Historical figures
      • Financiers, businessmen, workers, travelers
  • Instrumentation

    • Flute
    • Oboe
    • 3 Clarinets (3 Sax)
    • 3 Trumpets
    • 2 Trombones
    • Tuba
    • Percussion
    • Guitar
    • Piano
    • Novachord
    • Hammond organ
    • Strings

  • Trains Bound for Glory

    Concert suite from Railroads on Parade arranged by David Drew for tenor (baritone), SATB chorus, and orchestra.

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