The Long Summer of George Adams 1982

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Warner Brothers

This made-for-TV movie stars TWO steam locomotives. The first is Texas State Railroad [TSR] #400, a Baldwin 2-8-2 built in 1917. The second is an Alco RS2 diesel locomotive #7 built circa 1947. (Alco diesels were always referred to as “honorary steam engines” by railfans, due to the copious amounts of black smoke belched skyward upon starting.)

#7 started life working for the Point Comfort & Northern Railroad in Texas, coming to TSR in 1975. Since this movie was filmed, the #7 has been repainted into a beautiful Southern Pacific “Black Widow” scheme.

James Garner (Yes, Mister Rockford Files) is the lead character in our motion picture and the film is the story of a mid-20th century railroad worker about to lose his job due to diesels replacing steam.

Many thanks to good friend Scott Tanner who slipped me a DVD of this flick for inclusion on this blog. And now, let’s see Rockford and the boys playing with their trains!


It appears to be early spring as TSR #400 and train roll through East Texas.

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As the picture begins, we get a symbolic shot of the newer-technology diesel overtaking the steam engine on a work train.

The movie takes place in “Cushing, Oklahoma, 1952”. I believe the Cushing depot seen here was filmed at Rusk, Texas on the TSR.

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Nice broadside view of the diesel passenger train. How about that crazy paint scheme?

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Coming and going shots of TSR #400 and short freight train. Garner/George waves at the fireman. Note the steamer is labeled for the fictitious, “Ozark & Panhandle Railroad”.

TSR #400 has since been restored to its original appearance as Tremont & Gulf Railroad #30 and is operational as of 2019.


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George boards this former Missouri Pacific Railroad caboose #11043 also lettered for the O&P RR. Look at how filmmakers created a reverse variation of MoPac’s famous buzzsaw logo on the caboose side.

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George “bends the iron” (throws a switch) so his train can back into a siding.

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Beautiful series of O&P #400 being rotated on the turntable in good low light. Of course they couldn’t resist at least one artsy-fartsy back-lit shot with the setting sun.

In 1954, Tremont & Gulf Railroad #30 was sold to the Magma Copper Mine in Arizona. While at Magma, the little 2-8-2 was renumbered as #7 and was seen in the 1962 MGM movie, How the West Was Won. In 1974, the engine was purchased by the Texas State Railroad and became their #400.

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Is this how Arlo Guthrie got started? Washing up in the baggage-combine made over into sort of a men’s club break room.

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Alas, down by the depot, George feels his coming obsolescence with the passing of the diesel-led passenger train.

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Cheesecake interlude! Local whiskey-swilling temptress Venida (played by Anjanette Comer — RAHR-RAHR!) briefly takes up with George.

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Not to worry, George’s wife Norma (played by Joan Hackett, hubba-hubba!) gets him back with a short, but tasteful shower scene onboard his outside-braced wooden caboose (didn’t know cabooses had showers).

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Is that a cool 1948-1951 Willy’s Jeepster or what? (Thanks, Mark!). Down by the station, local boy has a chat with George — uh-oh. Filmmakers missed the TSRR reporting marks in the background!

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As the movie draws to a close, George’s entire family boards the train to leave town. I like that Ozark & Panhandle paint scheme on the coaches, viewed from the bay window of the depot.

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Great fireman side shot of the #400 rolling through the piney woods. Just up ahead, George and his dog have blocked the tracks with his truck. The engineer applies the brakes.

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George gets the train stopped, boards the coach and makes a great face, much to the bemusement of his relations. Anyways, he hustles the entire brood off the limited and crowds them all into his GMC stepsider.

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The engineer and fireman wave a hearty farewell as the consist trundles down the right of way — ending the railroad scenes.

Yes, I left off great swaths of this movie, but the abundance of railroad action more than made up for the film’s uneven plot. There’s something about a train…

Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Long Summer of George Adams:

If you have ANY information about this movie you’d like to share, please contact me at:, or leave a comment.  Thanks and enjoy the blog!



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