“The History of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Altoona” explores the origins of the industry in central Pennsylvania and explains how the railroad in the Altoona area served as a major contributing factor to the nation’s industrial, commercial and cultural development. It also details the early 19th-century origins of railroad construction in Pennsylvania while exploring the complexities of 20th-century transportation challenges. The documentary concludes with an investigation of the importance of today’s railroad industry.
The documentary can be viewed on the Penn State Altoona communications program website.
The program includes interviews with several University scholars. The narrative was further enhanced by unique materials obtained from the National Park Service, Penn State University Libraries, the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, the Blair County NAACP, the Newtown Square Railroad Museum Association, Harvard University and the Library of Congress.
Bob Trumpbour, professor of communications at Penn State Altoona, lauded the students involved in the production process for their persistence, tenacity and expertise.
“WPSU-TV sets extremely high standards for its programming content, so the success of this project offers powerful evidence that our students are ready to do impressive things when entering into the communications field, Trumpbour said.
The video was produced in COMM 490A, a senior-level capstone course. Student contributors are Kolby Cowher, Michael Filardi, Samantha Mohney and Brittany Schroeder, all communications majors at Penn State Altoona.
The documentary was produced by Troy McCarty with historical research supervised by Jewel Weyandt. The project was narrated by Isaac Swanson. In addition, Mark Frederick, a local documentary producer and Penn State Altoona graduate, served as executive producer and mentor on the project.