Tag Archives: Canadian Pacific Railway

Unstoppable 2010

20th Century Fox

Train hype! Wow, a major motion picture about modern-day railroading and “inspired by true events” to boot! Unstoppable is a railfan’s dream with a colorful variety of motive power from various short lines in the area around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

This flick takes it shape from a CSX Transportation freight train runaway event in May of 2001. Of course it gets the full Hollywood treatment with fiery explosions, helicopters, police and fire units in pursuit and impossible stunts — none of which happened during the Crazy Eights incident.

Instead of following along with the story, I’m going to enjoy myself and concentrate on identifying the locomotives, railroads and possibly the locations used. IOW, pick the best pictures and interpret. It’ll be fun!

Decorated for the fictitious “Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad” (AWVR) are locomotives 777 and 767. The nose of 777 looks like a BNSF Heritage II scheme. Both engines are GE AC4400CWs leased from Canadian Pacific Railway as power for the runaway train.

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Coal Miner’s Daughter 1980

Universal Studios

This movie review was inspired by one of my favorite monthly publications. Kalmbach’s Trains Magazine (October 2021, page 28) published an article about the steam locomotive used in 1980’s, “Coal Miner’s Daughter”. I picked up a DVD of this excellent movie, but WAS disappointed in the lack of train screen time in the actual film.

Fortunately, the Trains article and a little web-searching revealed a bounty of pictures and information on our locomotive d’jour: Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-4 Class H1c #2839 “Royal Hudson” built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1937. At the time of filming, the #2839 had been restored to operation and was used in the Southern Railway’s steam locomotive program. In addition, Southern provided a series of 3 bay coal hoppers and passenger cars for use in the picture.

Railroad filming locations included Pardee, Virginia and Blackey, Kentucky. Moviemakers even built an authentic depot to represent Van Lear, KY. This station was later moved to Duffield, VA where it exists today in private ownership.

Let’s visit deepest, darkest Appalachia and watch Southern #2839 star in a pivotal scene of Coal Miner’s Daughter.

Southern #2839 is briefly seen during the opening credits as Loretta Lynn (played by Sissy Spacek) canters along on horseback.

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Station Master 1954

National Film Board of Canada

This film was recommended to me by Pete! It’s the third National Film Board of Canada movie I have reviewed on my blogs and the first to mainly feature Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). This is the story of CP station master Dalton Henry and his crew in little Finch, Ontario. The Canadian Pacific had a crossing here with a New York Central (NYC) branch line to Ottawa.

Steam was still active in Eastern Canada at the time and there is a nice mix of trains on both railroads. The CP rails still exist through Finch, but the NYC branch was abandoned shortly thereafter in February 1957.

This black & white short packs a lot of railroad action into its 15 minutes and is a poignant look at the way things used to be on the railway. Highball!

Out in front of the depot, a section gang is busily shoveling snow from switches and the crossing diamond. Up in the interlocking tower, Charlie lights up a Player’s and checks his pocket watch. Note the nearby telegraph key and dispatcher’s phone on a scissors arm.

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Superman 1978

Warner Brothers

“More powerful than a locomotive!” I remember watching Superman in the theatre when it first came out. Great, fun film and quite a few train scenes to boot. It was a pleasure to get a copy on DVD then go back and research all the locomotive and train sets seen.

The movie would feature a GMD FP7, an EMD FL9 and 3 EMD SPD40F locomotives as well as a studio mockup of villain Lex Luthor’s (played by Gene Hackman) underground lair — done up as a flooded section of Grand Central Terminal in New York! It’s the late 1970’s, so there is plenty of pre-Superliner, “heritage” equipment to be seen.

Let’s take a trip on the Canadian Pacific, the New Haven and Santa Fe railroads, shall we? All Aboard!

The Kansas Star hurtles past the camera under a magnificent sky. This FP7-led passenger train would soon encounter a young Clark Kent racing alongside.

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Choo Choo Bob 2008

Birdhouse Holdings / Qubo

It’s The Choo Choo Bob Show!! Roaring out of the Twin Cities of Minnesota comes this fun little (each episode is but 12 minutes long) children’s show — all about trains. There is a great article about the show HERE, which describes how it came to be. The show even has its own clubhouse and store in Saint Paul where episodes where/are filmed.

Each episode features a live action video of real railroading and for the purposes of this review, I have chosen the Milwaukee Road #261 steam engine trip.

Choo Choo Bob (played by Sam Heyn) and Engineer Paul (played by Paul Howe) take a ride down the Mississippi on former CMStP&P (now Canadian Pacific) tracks aboard the beautiful Cedar Rapids Skytop observation car.

Oh, yes. See the show’s logo at the top of this page? That image of a diesel locomotive looks familiar to me. We’ll be revisiting that image later on in this review. All Aboard!

Milwaukee Road S3 class 4-8-4 #261 (built by Alco – Schenectady in July 1944) gallops along at track speed whilst back in the Skytop, Bob and Paul enjoy the view. Friends of 261 operates and maintains this Minneapolis-based locomotive and train.

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