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Film, Video A romance of the rail

Digital viewing copy

About this Item


  • A romance of the rail


  • "A series of railroad scenes of novel and amusing interest. It opens with a view of an imposing station showing a pretty girl, dressed in white, seated on a trunk awaiting the arrival of her train. A young man approaches, also dressed in white, and the two immediately fall in love. The Lackawanna Limited then rolls into the station and the Pullman porter helps the couple aboard. As the Limited pulls out the pair are seen on the observation platform waving adieu to their friends. The picture later shows the train rushing sixty miles an hour through the famous Delaware Water Gap in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with the young couple enjoying the passing scenery. As Delaware Water Gap station is reached a porter appears with his brush, but the young people protest that the journey has been so free from dust that there is no need for his services. The climax comes when the young man, who has become more and more infatuated, secures a minister and the marriage ceremony takes place on the rear platform. The picture shows them leaving the train on arrival at the Gap, and a little humor is added at the end by the appearance of two tramps from beneath the trucks of the observation car dressed in full evening clothes, who become indignant at the offer of the porter to brush them off, as their trip has been entirely free from soot and dust. The series is full of snappy train scenes and is certain to provoke a laugh. Length 275 feet"--Edison films catalog, no. 185.


  • Porter, Edwin S., camera
  • Murray, Marie, 1882-1967
  • Thomas A. Edison, Inc
  • Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

Created / Published

  • United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1903.


  • -  Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Company--Parodies, imitations, etc
  • -  Railroad travel--United States--Parodies, imitations, etc
  • -  Courtship--United States--Parodies, imitations, etc
  • -  Weddings--United States--Parodies, imitations, etc


  • Parody films
  • Romantic comedy films
  • Silent films
  • Short films
  • Fiction films


  • -  H36500 U.S. Copyright Office
  • -  Copyright: Thomas A. Edison; 3Oct1903; H36500.
  • -  Duration: 4:27 at 16 fps.
  • -  Note in Edison films catalog, no. 185: This subject was taken on the lines of the Lackawanna Railroad, and for its successful accomplishment, we are indebted to the officials of tha road for facilities courteosly furnished while making the picture.
  • -  Paper print shelf number (LC 2174) was changed when the paper prints were re-housed.
  • -  Additional holdings for this title may be available. Contact reference librarian.
  • -  Sources used: Copyright catalog, motion pictures, 1894-1912; Musser, C. Before the nickelodeon, p. 263-264; Niver, K. Early motion pictures, p. 278; Edison films catalog, no. 185, October supplement 1903, p. 7; AFI catalog, film beginnings, 1893-1910, p. 916.
  • -  Camera, Edwin S. Porter.
  • -  Marie Murray.
  • -  Photographed August 30, 1903, along the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad line in Pennsyvania and New Jersey.
  • -  Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as digital files.
  • -  paper pos (copies 1 and 2) Received: 1903-10-03; copyright deposit; Paper Print Collection.
  • -  According to Edison film historian Charles Musser, this film parodies an advertising campaign developed by the Lackawanna Railroad to counter its reputation as the "Road of Anthracite" coal carrier. The campaign featured passenger "Phoebe Snow", dressed in white, who rode the rails and praised the line's cleanliness with such slogans as: "Says Phoebe Snow, about to go upon a trip to Buffalo: 'My gown stays white from morn till night upon the Road of Anthracite.'"
  • -  Early motion pictures : the Paper Print Collection in the Library of Congress / by Kemp R. Niver. Library of Congress. 1985.
  • -  35 mm viewing print renumbered: FLA 5188 to FYA 3773.
  • -  Paper print roll lacking suffix.


  • viewing print 1 film reel of 1 (ca. 275 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm.
  • viewing print (copy 2) 1 film reel of 1 (ca. 275 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm.
  • dupe neg pic 1 film reel of 1 (108 ft.) : si., b&w ; 16 mm.
  • dupe neg pic 1 film reel of 1 (ca. 275 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm.
  • dupe neg pic (copy 2) 1 film reel of 1 (ca. 275 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm.
  • master pos pic 2 film rolls of 2 (ca. 110 ft.) : si., b&w ; 16 mm.
  • paper pos 1 roll of 1 (ca. 275 ft.) : b&w ; 35 mm.
  • paper pos (copy 2) 1 roll of 1 (ca. 275 ft.) : b&w ; 35 mm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • FYA 3773 (viewing print)
  • FEB 9429 (viewing print, copy 2)
  • FRA 2886 (dupe neg pic)
  • FPE 5314 (dupe neg pic)
  • FPE 5315 (dupe neg pic, copy 2)
  • FRB 3095-3096 (master pos pic)
  • Box 0899 (paper pos)
  • Box 5695 (paper pos, copy 2)

Source Collection

  • Niver (Kemp) Collection (Library of Congress)


  • Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C. 20540 USA dcu

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 00694288

Online Format

  • image
  • video

Additional Metadata Formats

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Credit Line: Library of Congress, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Porter, Edwin S., Camera, Marie Murray, Inc Thomas A. Edison, and Paper Print Collection. A Romance of the Rail. United States: Edison Manufacturing Co, 1903. Video.

APA citation style:

Porter, E. S., Murray, M., Thomas A. Edison, I. & Paper Print Collection. (1903) A Romance of the Rail. United States: Edison Manufacturing Co. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Porter, Edwin S., Camera, et al. A Romance of the Rail. United States: Edison Manufacturing Co, 1903. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.