Tag Archives: Burlington Northern Railroad

Switchback 1997

Paramount Studios

I first heard about this movie from a blog! Many thanks to James Tiroch and his Cinetrains site for providing a wealth of information about the two locomotives used in filming AND their disposition afterwards.

Despite the snazzy “Grande Gold” graphic (see below image) splashed across their flanks, these are NOT Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) locomotives! At the time of filming, Union Pacific owned D&RGW and would not allow use of their equipment. Movie makers simply leased a couple locomotives and painted them up the way they liked.

And WHAT a couple of engines they are! Two former Southern Pacific EMD-built (1970) SD39’s #5319 & #5325 dressed up in Rio Grande “speed lettering”. Let’s check out this film on the “Main Line Thru The Rockies”.

A pair of Rio Grande diesels is about to enter a tunnel deep in a Colorado canyon. These Espee SD39’s in disguise were frequently renumbered to represent different trains. Notice the cabside number location has been painted out. Here the lead unit is “2010” and the trailing unit is “234”.

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Back in the High Life Again 1986

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Island Records

How about a music video? Hey, if it’s in IMDb.com, it’s a movie! All four minutes of it.

Seriously, Steve Winwood packs a fair amount of train and railroad-related action in those 240 seconds. It’s a quickie snapshot of operations on the old Southern Railway mainline through Manassas, Virginia.

Aside from the railroad bits, it’s an interesting story about how the song was written and the music composed.

At the time of filming, the Southern had merged (1982) with Norfolk & Western to form Norfolk & Southern Railway, still a big Class 1 railroad to this day.

Let’s see how the MTV crowd (back when they actually played music television) interpret trains into this video.

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A Southern Railway local freight does some switching in Manassas, Virginia. Just barely in shot is a red, bay window caboose and an EMD Geep of some sort switching a gondola onto a siding.

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