Tag Archives: Southern Railway

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.

Continue reading

Fried Green Tomatoes 1991

Universal Pictures

Chick Flick! Why would I bother with such a film, you ask? Why, it’s because one of the “Ladies” is the gorgeous Atlanta & West Point Railroad # 290, a 4-6-2 Pacific, built by the Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, Ohio, in 1926. As of 2022, A&WP #290 is still with us, currently being cosmetically restored for display by the good folks at the Southeastern Railway Museum, Duluth, Georgia.

Much of the railroad scenes were filmed in and around Juliette, Georgia using a former Southern Railway line (Macon to Atlanta). A&WP #290 and the railroad was used not only as a plot point, but can be seen in the background of some interior shots.

Fried Green Tomatoes anyone? All aboard for the Whistle Stop depot and cafe!

Isn’t she a beauty? Strutting her stuff for the cameras comes A&WP #290 past the “Whistle Stop” depot. Restored in 1989 for excursion service in and around Atlanta, A&WP #290 is seen here “hot” as it would have appeared pulling The Crescent between Atlanta and Montgomery, Alabama in 1926-1954. Photo courtesy SE Railway Museum website.

Continue reading

Back in the High Life Again 1986

back027

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.

back020

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.

Continue reading