Tag Archives: Canada

Holiday Affair 1996

USA Network
RKO Pictures

Merry Christmas! Thanks to a 2016 challenge by good friend Carl Swanson, I am reviewing the 1996 USA Network remake of Holiday Affair 1949. The story line is just about the same, freshened up with 1990’s accoutrements.

Once again, Lionel model trains are the real star and major plot point for this movie. It appears filmmakers whomped up a custom-made trainset painted a very shiny shade of silver, with a red/white/blue stripe high along the sides of the cars and locomotive. The consist used is an EMD F3A unit, coach, baggage/coach, full baggage car and dome observation car, in that order (a somewhat unusual arrangement). A brief search turned up little about the particular cars used. Perhaps modelers out there can enlighten me in the comments?

Filmed in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, we are also treated to quick glimpses of the city’s subway system and a real, live peek at VIA Rail’s Canadian in Union Station. Pour yourself a cocoa or glass of wine and enjoy this holiday story of a boy and his trains.

A Lionel train set by the fireplace, Christmas morn. What red-blooded American (or Canadian) kid wouldn’t wish for something like that?

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Finders Keepers 1984

CBS Theatrical Films / Warner Brothers

This movie was originally brought to my attention courtesy of Erik Stenberg (September 2019 email). It’s as obscure as a train movie can get, filmed out in the wilds of Alberta and British Columbia. Canadian locations meant we are treated to a wonderful Budd-built pocket streamliner of ex-Canadian Pacific cars pulled by a couple former-Canadian National, GMD FP9A diesels. All this glorious passenger equipment courtesy of VIA Rail Canada, who also whomped up a garish “AMrail” paint scheme for the F’s.

The plot and storyline are preposterous, but we’re not here to critique that. Similar to Silver Streak 1976, it’s “Let’s pretend Canada is the U.S., cause it’s cheaper to film up there”.

My apologies for the really fuzzy screen captures — taken off a YouTube video, dontcha know. Enjoy!

Our movie train of 7 cars (including two domes) soars high above Old Man River in Lethbridge, Alberta. For comparison, I include this modern day image from Google of a CP freight train.

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Narrow Margin 1990

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TriStar Pictures

Gene Hackman and Anne Archer star in this 90’s remake of the classic B film noir, The Narrow Margin from 1952.

Well, it’s not an EXACT remake. Let’s just say it takes its SHAPE from the original. Filmmakers spared no expense in obtaining a string of streamlined passenger cars from the now-defunct Roaring Fork Railroad in Colorado, then painting up a BC Rail SD40-2 in a pleasing VIA Rail paint scheme.

Add to that the stunning scenery of British Columbia along BC Rail’s North Vancouver to Prince George line and you’ve got a winner of a movie. The plot? Oh, just a whole slew of bad guys after our heroes, Gene and Anne as Via’s “Canadian” rolls towards Vancouver. Let’s check it out.

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This is probably the best photograph of the entire consist with the lake reflection as a bonus.

Location: Alta Lake, BC near Whistler Resort perhaps? I’m sure SOMEONE out there recognizes this spot.

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