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 Post subject: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 12:22 am 

Joined: Fri Mar 05, 2010 3:41 am
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Location: Inwood, W.Va.
For people here, railroading is both an interesting subject and inherently photogenic--a great combination for art in the media of film and television. Alas, it seems that most film people don't quite get the job right, at least from the standpoint of this audience.

I feel that much of this "problem" comes from not understanding the stories we have available; in a way, this comes down to what Hollywood writers think a film with a railroad setting should be like.

Anyway, just for fun, what might your ideas for a railroad themed film or television series look like? Let's go blue-sky, assume either no problems with, say CSX not allowing steam for location shooting in the New River Gorge, or that the problems can be resolved with models or some other special work. Assume even, if you think it calls for it, that we can simulate, on CSX, coal trains with Alleghenies fore and aft on the climb out of Hinton with a string of vintage hoppers, that the cab forward in the museum at Sacramento could be available to steam again up Donner Pass on a troop train of heavyweight Pullmans and troop sleepers, that the Mohawk in Indiana could stand in for a Hudson on a 20th Century Limited, or even that we could race a GG1 between commuter trains and Acela expresses on the Northeast Corridor.

Assuming all this, what might we choose for our film? Initial suggestions to get things rolling:

1. Adaptation of Hollister Noble's "One Way to Eldorodo," which in some ways could be considered "The Great Train Robbery" updated to 1953.

2. Adaptation of Stephen W. Meader's "The Long Trains Roll," featuring an only slightly disguised Pennsylvania Railroad out of Altoona, complete with I1 Decapods and K4s Pacifics on a restored 4-track right-of-way and railroad employees battling Nazi saboteurs in WW II.

3. A TV series partially inspired by Herbert Hamblen's "The General Manager's Story," Chauncey del French's "Railroad Man," and Edgar Custer's "No Royal Road" (TV, with its many episodes, really chews through material.) This last one was what I attempted to sell, set on the C&O on the eve of WW II.

Of course, we must remember the story and the people in it are the important things, but let's shoot for accuracy, too!

Floor open for discussion. . .


Last edited by J3a-614 on Mon Jan 27, 2014 2:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:39 pm 

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Interesting topic, to say the least. I would love to offer my services, as I'm sure many others here would, to Hollywood as a consultant to help them "get things right". I've seen far too many mistakes; maybe the worst was "The emergency brake is burned out!" back in the late '60s or so in 'Runaway Train' (filmed on the Rio Grande), IIRC.

The problem here is audience. While most Americans think trains are neat, they really won't care if the brakes, couplers, bearings, smokestacks, conductor's uniforms, etc. are correct. Unfortunately, a train is a train is a choo-choo; that sort of mentality prevails. A correctly done film would most likely be more expensive to produce, and won't really get that much larger an audience. Its really in the hands of the studio-bean counters; "will it sell? If we're not sure, do it on the cheap..."

Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine, with 'Emperor of the North' was one of the better movies of its type because proper rail equipment was still available for use. The same thing goes for 'The Train' with Burt Lancaster. When Hollywood has to 'recreate' something, either with wood and fiberglass mock-ups or with CGI, they usually get it wrong.

I've told this story before, but I spent 24 years in an Army National Guard band, with some of the craziest, zaniest characters around, but all crazy in a good creative way. With some of the antics, stories, gigs we played, we all felt that we could have had another M*A*S*H on our hands. The problem was audience; M*A*S*H was a success, in some ways, because everyone in the country has been to a hospital or at least seen a doctor, and could relate in some way to the show. How many people could relate to the goings-on in an Army band? The show may have appealed to musicians, military members and vets, but that's about it.

Unfortunately, a railroad series or film done correctly would be a hard sell. Perhaps we should hope for the rail portions of a larger stories to be done more accurately.

Now, as far as nominations for a good story, one of my favorite books as a teenager was 'Clear the Tracks' by Joseph Bromley. This was the life story of a Lackawanna engineer, published upon his retirement in 1943. My middle school library had a copy, and I found one just a few years ago on eBay for my sons to read. (There are two copies on eBay right now, in fact). That would be a great story to tell on film, but again, what is the audience?


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 5:00 pm 

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EDM wrote:
The problem here is audience. While most Americans think trains are neat, they really won't care if the brakes, couplers, bearings, smokestacks, conductor's uniforms, etc. are correct. Unfortunately, a train is a train is a choo-choo; that sort of mentality prevails. A correctly done film would most likely be more expensive to produce, and won't really get that much larger an audience. Its really in the hands of the studio-bean counters; "will it sell? If we're not sure, do it on the cheap..."


Unfortunately, a railroad series or film done correctly would be a hard sell. Perhaps we should hope for the rail portions of a larger stories to be done more accurately.


This comes back to what I said earlier, that the story and people are the important parts, the critical parts. All else is relatively secondary, though I don't think you would want to stage a Western train robbery on the Acela. . .

Having said that, I still think we can have great stories, especially if we work in the feel of the time period, like the WW II era. Extra plot segments, such as the gangsters and the train robbery in "One Way to Eldorodo," would help sell something like that (although I wonder if the studio heads would blanch at the idea of such a film being set in the Korean War era. with the extra work that goes into any period piece). The Nazi spies out to destroy a railroad and other industrial facilities would be the key to selling something inspired by "The Long Trains Roll."

Some people do take note of the more impressive parts of railroading if it's accurate. An especially forgettable disaster movie called "The Cassandra Crossing" had a neat scene of an interlocking tower, one that was so brief that you could blink and you would miss it. A classic, if a bit far fetched, was "Von Ryan's Express," which like "The Train," was set in WW II (Frank Sinatra in the lead surely helped matters). We lampoon it, especially with a train riding on one set of wheels on a curve, but "Unstoppable" did decent box office, thanks to star Denziel Washington and direction by the late Tony Scott.

Still, EDM's right, it's a damned hard sell. I should know, I tried it!

And yet, we have such potential. . .a glimpse of what we might be able to do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2mU6jVcv4w


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 8:55 pm 

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Okay, I'll play.

What about an adaptation of Clive Cussler's Isaac Bell series? Some scenes would naturally have to be modified, but railroads already play a big part, and they already qualify as thrillers. We would just have to be careful not to mess with the book's base story (See the film adaptation of Cussler's Raise the Titanic, a bad movie, even if you didn't read the excellent (especially in comparison) book first)

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:09 pm 
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Anyone remember the ill-fated, “Night Ride Down” which was about the Pullman strike but was supposed to have postwar superpower being used? That Harrison Ford movie never got made, but I wonder what we’d have thought if it had been. When you think of the new roundhouse in Ohio being built, I’m sure if a movie production needs such a background in the future, they might consider going there.
I’ve been doing some peripheral work on a big-budget WW2 movie and now realize all the nonsense that goes into a movie. The film I wrote a script for never got made (and I never got paid, either).
I was doing research on WW2 RR operating units in France and Germany, and they wanted a screenplay. I wrote a script based on a treatment about two boomers who worked for the ET&WNC in the '30s, getting drafted and joining a RR unit in WW2. The hated each other's guts, but hated Herman the German even more. It wasn't quite the "win one for the Gipper" claptrap you'd expect, as one eventually allows the other to get waxed by an attacking airplane.
They production company loved the script, until they realized that if they wanted trains in it, there's NOTHING in the US they could use (and afford) that would be right. My script had a lot of stateside stuff, and the war was mostly dealt with trackside and in engine houses and such. More fighting than trains. It never went anywhere of course. I still think a small studio could make a decent movie out of it. With the recent trend to WW2 movies, imagine a "Band of Brothers" style series on a RR battalion in WW2!

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:06 pm 

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p51 wrote:
Anyone remember the ill-fated, “Night Ride Down” which was about the Pullman strike but was supposed to have postwar superpower being used? That Harrison Ford movie never got made, but I wonder what we’d have thought if it had been.


I remember some of the preparations going on for it in Hagerstown at the time. Locomotives to be used supposedly would have included Reading 2100 (then owned by Bill Benson), Jack Showalter's Canadian Pacific G-5s (then at Cumberland), and--AND--possibly others! There was talk of giving the 2100 a "streamlined" jacket (wonder what that would have looked like!) Of course, as noted, the movie didn't get made-supposedly because the budget was looking too large at $45 million! What would those people then think of "The Lone Ranger" and "Titanic" being made for over $200 million each--and "The Lone Ranger" barely covering its production costs?

http://articles.philly.com/1991-09-08/e ... evito-ford

How I would love to get a copy of this script!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42449615@N07/5651151606/

The decision to drop "Night Ride Down" had some interesting consequences later for Ford, Alec Baldwin, and other films:

http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,315556,00.html

"Night Ride Down" was discussed here before:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=9977&start=15

Other movie mixups that have been discussed here:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=29597

Ideas on an "ultimate" railroad film (and "Night Ride Down" is mentioned):

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=12072

Sounds like we have all kinds of ideas, and some are even good, but how do we get the money?


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:49 am 

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Okay, an added thought after a discussion with someone not on this board: TV series set on a midwestern shortline that has a lot of bridge traffic, 1979-1983.

Make it feel like a reality show (and some companies are already trying to film reality shows on shortlines, the latest story I heard was one shortline holding company said no to the same outfit 3 times, they only got the message after the CEO personally told them "Not just NO, HE!! NO!!!!")

Line Profile: Up and down grades (preferably in excess of 1.5%), would need at least 20 miles or so

Major events: Stagger's act, general economic twists, new vs. old, management vs. crew.

Motive power: let's get a motley collection, I'm thinking 2 or 3 2-8-2's (SOU 4501? K&T 10? Saginaw #2?), a executive special engine (4-4-0 to Leviathan's blueprints) at least 3 other steam engines (NKP 765? PM 1225? C&O 2-8-4? dare I suggest N&W 1218?), plus a couple of deadline steam engines*. The railroad also owns 4 or 5 GP-9s, but the crews absolutely hate them. Switching is handled by two NW-2s. A major point in the story would be the arrival of an A-B-B-A of mismatched F-units.

The larger mikados and the Berkshires are the primary power. The GPs are only used when the crew has no other choice. The F-units are always having issues with the radiators, and the GPs are always in the shops for any number of problems (the crews love nit-picking the rules to keep them in the shops).

Crews: Probably need 6-7 crews, plus extras. have a few "old heads" who refuse to even touch a diesel. Some who hate diesels because they make the old heads mad. Some who don't mind diesels. There should be multiple different groups running around. Use 5 man crews for variety.

Management:No more the 10 people. have your management team be advised by shortline people. But don't be afraid to have them act stereotypical of crew image of class one railroad management. Include an overzealous newbie (Ensign Parker of Mchale's Navy comes to mind, but I don't know if anyone can match Tim Conway)

* engines that are leased to be "deadline" engines spend a season in the dead line, than are sent to Strasburg Rail Road or Wasatch RR contractors or equivalent for complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration. Owner chooses which shop and if they want tubes put in at the time (thus, a museum would be able to have an engine that can be quickly tubed and ready when the running engine dies on the calender). Meanwhile, another pair of enignes is selected and leased for the deadline

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:54 pm 

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I have a few ideas for railroad themed movies or shows.

They could make either a film or mini-series about Ross Rowland in fact I just started writing a film title The Railfan: Ross Rowland Story from his childhood to the American Freedom Train because I think he deserves it. Don't you think so. In fact I have several guys that could be perfect to make this happen Lerro productions and Britt Allcroft who was the creator of the Thomas the Tank Engine's series and of course the man himself. I think you could use the CNJ 972 a camelback run on air and use smoke machines and the operating 113 and use R&N 425 disguise it into CNJ pacific to recreate the terminal scene. Use 1293 to stand in as 1278 and use the 765 as the 759. use the passenger cars from Steamtown that's where Lerro comes in. use models, CGI and archive film for the T1s and AFT thats where Allcroft comes in. I think that's how it could be down.

A Movie about Casey Jones For live action you could the SP 2248 ten-wheeler built in 1882 and 2-8-0 SRR 154 build 1890 both operating and use Strasburg passenger equipment and the line or any museum coaches. Then use CGI for the wreck and other locomotives and trains. I say it's cheaper to use Complete CGI.

Make a show about the early years of Railroading from England and USA tell the entire history of Railroading. They can reenact the events that changed the world and use models. Here's a note During Britt Allcroft time all the Thomas' episodes were models built by hand and from scratch on site the engines and sets. they were pretty realistic now there CGI and they sucked. you can use models and live action just like Allcroft did with Thomas don't believe me watch some episodes from 1984-2002 or narrated by Ringo Starr, George Carlin and Alec Baldwin and you will know.

I have to say that's my ideas and that's all I got for now


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 4:12 am 

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I think there is some confusion on locomotives and numbers in the previous post. Does CNJ 972 refer to the camelback in the B&O museum? That camelback is numbered 592. There was a 972 used on fantrips, CP 972, but owned by the late George Hart. CP 972 was teamed up with Sam Freeman's former FEC 148 on a trip over the Lehigh Valley in October, 1975. That trip was run by the Mainline Steam Foundation, though, and was not a Ross Rowland High Iron Company trip.

The 148 appeared later as a pseudo-CNJ engine, on a trip operated by MLSF in December, 1975. That trip operated over the CNJ between Raritan and Bay Head, and featured the 148 with "Miss Liberty" on the tank and a "Blue Comet" name board, painted by an artist friend of mine, on the front of the engine. Neither of those trips came anywhere close to a major terminal, though, such as Hoboken or Jersey City.

Of course, both of those locomotives are now in pieces and nearly a continent apart. 972 is at Strasburg, while the 148, built for service to sea level destinations like Key West, is in Creede, Colorado.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:39 pm 

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Bulby wrote:
Okay, an added thought after a discussion with someone not on this board: TV series set on a midwestern shortline that has a lot of bridge traffic, 1979-1983.

Make it feel like a reality show (and some companies are already trying to film reality shows on shortlines, the latest story I heard was one shortline holding company said no to the same outfit 3 times, they only got the message after the CEO personally told them "Not just NO, HE!! NO!!!!")

Line Profile: Up and down grades (preferably in excess of 1.5%), would need at least 20 miles or so

Major events: Stagger's act, general economic twists, new vs. old, management vs. crew.

Motive power: let's get a motley collection, I'm thinking 2 or 3 2-8-2's (SOU 4501? K&T 10? Saginaw #2?), a executive special engine (4-4-0 to Leviathan's blueprints) at least 3 other steam engines (NKP 765? PM 1225? C&O 2-8-4? dare I suggest N&W 1218?), plus a couple of deadline steam engines*. The railroad also owns 4 or 5 GP-9s, but the crews absolutely hate them. Switching is handled by two NW-2s. A major point in the story would be the arrival of an A-B-B-A of mismatched F-units.

The larger mikados and the Berkshires are the primary power. The GPs are only used when the crew has no other choice. The F-units are always having issues with the radiators, and the GPs are always in the shops for any number of problems (the crews love nit-picking the rules to keep them in the shops).

Crews: Probably need 6-7 crews, plus extras. have a few "old heads" who refuse to even touch a diesel. Some who hate diesels because they make the old heads mad. Some who don't mind diesels. There should be multiple different groups running around. Use 5 man crews for variety.

Management:No more the 10 people. have your management team be advised by shortline people. But don't be afraid to have them act stereotypical of crew image of class one railroad management. Include an overzealous newbie (Ensign Parker of Mchale's Navy comes to mind, but I don't know if anyone can match Tim Conway)

* engines that are leased to be "deadline" engines spend a season in the dead line, than are sent to Strasburg Rail Road or Wasatch RR contractors or equivalent for complete cosmetic and mechanical restoration. Owner chooses which shop and if they want tubes put in at the time (thus, a museum would be able to have an engine that can be quickly tubed and ready when the running engine dies on the calender). Meanwhile, another pair of enignes is selected and leased for the deadline


Well, the concept of a "reality" show is certainly different, and gets us out of what some might see as a steam era rut! Don't know if I would use the steam power the way you've suggested (might not have it at all for this concept, but more on that. . .), but almost everything else could work; a possible inspiration, as far as the program goes, could be a program called "Ice Pilots" (?), about brush pilots in Alaska, flying in horrible weather with ancient aircraft, and part of the program was about how the mechanics had to keep these old airplanes in the air.

A variation would be to have this road also operating in steam for tourist service. Might be all tourist and steam, maybe with freight service like Strasburg, or it might be primarily diesel with steam tourist trains, like Arcade & Attica. The story, along the lines suggested, would revolve around how to keep the railroad in the black. Big drawback--this may not be the most exciting program around. Best draw--this could be done very economically--in other words, pretty cheap.

As one of the difficulties, how about having trail people trying to kick out the railroad so they can have a bike path? Oh boy, can you hear the squawks from the trail crowd in New York on something like that?


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:54 am 

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J3a-614 wrote:
As one of the difficulties, how about having trail people trying to kick out the railroad so they can have a bike path? Oh boy, can you hear the squawks from the trail crowd in New York on something like that?


I can hear it now. Having dealt with an equally rabid group in my area, I would love nothing more to shame trail advocates on national television!

You mention the aspect of the mechanical side of ancient equipment; on some railroads I've been with, train down on it's knees, old GP just died on the ruling grade with a tonnage train, alarm ringing, two other online locomotives in notch 8 and slipping; engineer screaming over the radio at the conductor to figure out what's wrong and get the GP back online! Throw in the engineer's best French, and you might get a picture of the situation.

So much of what I've seen would be a popular reality show if you found a producer that had a good eye. Frankly, I think that is a big key; finding the right producer who is a student of history, and is highly capable. (Kelly Lynch?)

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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:27 am 

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Bulby wrote:
You mention the aspect of the mechanical side of ancient equipment; on some railroads I've been with, train down on it's knees, old GP just died on the ruling grade with a tonnage train, alarm ringing, two other online locomotives in notch 8 and slipping; engineer screaming over the radio at the conductor to figure out what's wrong and get the GP back online! Throw in the engineer's best French, and you might get a picture of the situation.


Whooee!! I can now understand your "fantasy" (and a nice one it is!) about this road (or at least its crews) wanting to keep steam around in the 1970s!

An example of how this might play in one sequence from our friends in Great Britain, complete with workhorse Black 5 4-6-0:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JpQivta6MQ

A variation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG91fYHcm-k

For effect, I think we would want to go with Alcos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3lzdaC8yQ4

This is not necessarily limited to first generation diesel power:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvMl8LUzQnk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtqKJKz2PXQ

Do you think these fellows still have jobs on NS?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOj6gPwkiXg

Bulby wrote:
Throw in the engineer's best French, and you might get a picture of the situation.


So much for a family-friendly program!

Bulby wrote:
So much of what I've seen would be a popular reality show if you found a producer that had a good eye. Frankly, I think that is a big key; finding the right producer who is a student of history, and is highly capable. (Kelly Lynch?)


My thoughts on this from another thread on a certain very expensive film with several extensive railroad sequences:

J3a-614 wrote:
. . .[a point] I would take from this, and some other threads, is that it is embarrassing to see a subject we care about as deeply as we do treated as poorly as it is by the entertainment business. It's doubly embarrassing when some silly stuff winds up costing north of $200 million smackers, but something that's more accurate either doesn't get made or gets made to where it either is done very cheaply, or worse, gets done with a lot of money and the thing still looks like it was done very cheaply!

Which brings to mind--how much would a decent railroad film run? This movie cost well over $200 million, and reportedly over $100 million was for the railroad sequences alone. That's a lot of money for any film, and of course we have to account for a lot of special effects work, a new railroad, stunts, computer animation, and all sorts of other things, but at the same time we shouldn't have to be limited to the estimated less-than-$500,000 cost of "The Station Agent." Given the right railroad locations (i.e., being able to work all on one line, as was done so many occasions on the Sierra Railway, and on the Oregon, Pacific & Eastern for "Emperor of the North Pole"), and a line with a decent collection of equipment either on site or available from somewhere, what could we do with a budget on the order of $30 million to $70 million or so? Could a locomotive or two or three even be restored for something like this? Hey, that would be only $3 million to $5 million, and on the high end, that would be only about 7% of the $70 million budget vs. the 40% plus that was spent by Disney on "The Lone Ranger."

Could the whole railroad prop business--locomotives, restored cars, fixed up stations, even finding a repair facility, and hopefully all of this on one road, like the Nevada Northern or the East Broad Top--actually be done for less than 10% or so of a $70 million budget?


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:55 am 

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J3a-614 wrote:
(Earlier response to Bulby) Don't know if I would use the steam power the way you've suggested (might not have it at all for this concept, but more on that. . .), but almost everything else could work; a possible inspiration, as far as the program goes, could be a program called "Ice Pilots" (?), about brush pilots in Alaska, flying in horrible weather with ancient aircraft, and part of the program was about how the mechanics had to keep these old airplanes in the air.


http://www.youtube.com/user/IcePilotsNWT

From the series:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSjERZF1 ... C49CE77565

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p29IWLsjSE


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:33 pm 

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To answer EDM I did mean the camelback at the B&O museum the 592.

There is another rail theme movie idea is a biographical film of George Stephenson who create the first practical Steam locomotive called The Locomotion. The he and his som Robert create the first modern steam locomotive which was the Rocket. They can recreate the Rainhill Trials

Maybe a film about Cornelius Vanderbilt from his days having the largest shipping fleet in the world to becoming King of the Railroads. Show the intense revelry between him and Tom Scot and his pro-dogie Andrew Carnegie to his mistake deal with John D Rockefeller. The film could be titled The Commodore. The revelry between the NYC and PRR begain with them.

In my opinion I think we need more people like them innovators.


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 Post subject: Re: Railroad Film/TV Series Ideas
PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2014 6:47 pm 

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steamfan765 wrote:
I have a few ideas for railroad themed movies or shows.

They could make either a film or mini-series about Ross Rowland in fact I just started writing a film title The Railfan: Ross Rowland Story from his childhood to the American Freedom Train because I think he deserves it. Don't you think so. In fact I have several guys that could be perfect to make this happen Lerro productions and Britt Allcroft who was the creator of the Thomas the Tank Engine's series and of course the man himself. I think you could use the CNJ 972 a camelback run on air and use smoke machines and the operating 113 and use R&N 425 disguise it into CNJ pacific to recreate the terminal scene. Use 1293 to stand in as 1278 and use the 765 as the 759. use the passenger cars from Steamtown that's where Lerro comes in. use models, CGI and archive film for the T1s and AFT thats where Allcroft comes in. I think that's how it could be done.


Already been done (and a cool little movie, too), but also a bit specialized, so I think I would pass.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7rVxcTI ... 5C577D9852

(Not all of it is there, but this might whet your appetite to get the movie.)

steamfan765 wrote:
Maybe a film about Cornelius Vanderbilt from his days having the largest shipping fleet in the world to becoming King of the Railroads. Show the intense revelry [rivalry] between him and Tom Scot and his pro-dogie [protege] Andrew Carnegie to his mistake deal with John D Rockefeller. The film could be titled The Commodore. The revelry [rivalry] between the NYC and PRR begain with them.


This could make a nice miniseries. The emphasis here would be on the men and the business world of their times. There could be a lot of parallels with the sharks in the business world of today; make no mistake, these fellows could get nasty if that was called for.

I should mention that I think it might come out a bit like "Thirteen Days," which was about the Cuban Missile Crisis of of 1962. That movie does have some military action in it (one particularly exciting part is a low altitude photo run over a Cuban launch site as the unarmed spy planes dodge anti-aircraft fire, at 0:58:00 in the 3rd link below), but this is very secondary to the discussions and decisions made by the Kennedy administration--which essentially means much of the movie is guys talking. Excellent (as in entertaining) movie in my opinion (despite what some Kennedy administration witnesses said about it, see 1st and 2nd links), and your proposal has that potential as well, but if you're looking for something with a good deal of rail footage in it, well, this wouldn't be it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thirteen_Days_(film)

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5428

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tho5ZYLiuoc

Still, what you could have--recreated main line 19th century operations on the NYC and PRR, perhaps including a reenactment of the famous White Mail poster of the LS&MS, could be cool:

http://www.albanyinstitute.org/system/h ... c4d01b.jpg

http://www.albanyinstitute.org/details/ ... gan-s.html


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