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using trains in a movie
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   Author  Topic: using trains in a movie  (Read 423 times)
johnson5jr
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using trains in a movie
 
« on: Jul 24th, 2005, 12:10am »
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I am currently planning a movie to be shot next summer in Northeastern Mississippi that involves trains. In one case a character jumps a train. In another case a character is moving around on the top of a moving train. In another case there are a few characters that are on top of a moving train that can be seen from the ground. In another case there are a number of characters moving in and on and about a parked train. These trains would be small freight trains.  
 
My question is, how do you go about working with the train companies so that we could do this all legally? I know this seems like a stretch and we don't have millions of dollars to just "build our own trains and tracks". Any ideas? Thanks in advance.


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George_Harris
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #1 on: Jul 24th, 2005, 2:30am »
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What's the general thrust of your movie?  Frankly if it is another one of these make Southerners look ignorant I would do all I can to obstruct.  If reasonably positive, maybe I can give you some suggestions.
 
George


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NS3360
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #2 on: Jul 24th, 2005, 7:47am »
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I suggest contacting smaller railroads or shortlines.

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johnson5jr
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #3 on: Jul 24th, 2005, 6:33pm »
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ha, heavens no, its not a movie making southern people look ignorant. I'm a Southerner myself and I am not ignorant and I would love to eliminate that stereotype. This movie is about a teenage boy with big dreams of being a police officer. His Uncle is the Sheriff in the small town. It is quite the opposite of a "make southerners look ignorant" film.  
 
I also know a railroad conductor for a small freight line.


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BC_and_A_railway

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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #4 on: Jul 24th, 2005, 6:51pm »
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you could perhaps use models for some parts and perhaps contracting a shortline for other parts.Also computer animation may help for some parts that dont seem possible
 


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zartok-35
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #5 on: Jul 24th, 2005, 8:00pm »
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There is also the fact that you need to decide if its a freight rain or a passenger train that you will use, and were you want to use it. I would suggest using a railroad in the area of intrest. As well, what era is it in? Do you want steam locomotives, or desil units?

« Last Edit: Jul 24th, 2005, 8:02pm by zartok-35 » Logged

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SD40
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #6 on: Jul 24th, 2005, 10:14pm »
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I reccomend using the Hulk of a unit(Unpowered), restoring it into a fictitious line's livery("Mississppi Northern") and pushing it with a working locomotive. I say check out Larry's Truck And Electric in MacDougal Ohio for locomotive hulks,or RMDI in pittston Pennsylvania(if you use RMDI use CR 6694/EL 3663), these are Freight Diesels by the way.

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George_Harris
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #7 on: Jul 25th, 2005, 12:16pm »
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To see what you have geographically in the area, go to
www.mdot.state.ms.us/maps/rails/state_rrm.pdf
This will give you the Mississippi state highway department map with the railroads overlaid on it.  
 
A brief history of the railroads in the northeastern part of the state is as follows:
 
Northermost west to east line:  Norfolk Southern RR, line runs Memphis to Grand Junction TN to Middleton TN to Corinth MS to Iuka MS to Sheffield AL and on to Chattanooga, Knowville.  Built pre civil war as the Memphis and Charleston, for many years Southern Railroad.  Single track fairly heavily traveled, signaled.  Last passenger train in about 1967.  One of the major railroads.
 
Northwest corner going southeast to the Alabama line:  BNSF, line runs Memphis to Holly Springs MS to New Albany MS to Tupelo MS to Amory MS to Winnfield AL and on to Birmingham.  At Amory the branch to Pensacola takes off.  This branch has recently been sold / leased to a short line.  Built in the 1880's as the Memphis and Birmingham, shortly after taken over by the Frisco (SLSF) which was absorbed by the Burlington Northern.  Single track, fairly heavily traveled, signaled, centralized traffic control.  Last passenger train in 1967.  One of the major railroads.
 
North to south short line:  Mississippi Central Railroad Company - Grand Junction TN to Holly Springs MS to Oxford MS.  very light traffic, 90 lb/yd jointed rail fairly poor track conditions.  (NOTE:  This line is not to be confused with the original Mississippi Central which ran from Natchez MS to Hattiesburg MS.)  This line was built pre- Civil War and originall ran from Jackson TN to Grenada MS and on to Jackson MS, known as the Great Jackson Route.  Taken over by Illinois Central after the war and operated by them for many years.  Became a branch after the Fulton KY to Memphis TN to Grenada MS line was built / came under ICRR control.  Never signaled, traffic very light for at least last half-century of ICRR ownership.  Sold off and abandoned in the early to mid 80's IIRC.  Has been through more than one short line owner IIRC.    
 
Next north to south short line to east:  Mississippi and Tennessee RailNet - Middleton TN to Ripley MS to New Albany MS to Pontotoc MS to Houston MS  Line built sometime post - Civil War became part of the Gulf Mobile and Northern main line, Jackson TN to Union MS to Jackson MS to Slidell LA, then by rights on Southern RR to New Orleans, then Gulf Mobile and Ohio.  Route of the original Rebel streamliner.  Passenger service ended in the early 50's.  Never signaled or heavily trafficed.  Light rails, maybe 80 lb/yd or less.  Sold off / abandoned in the great ICG line dumping of the 80's.  
 
Next north to south line to east:  now Kansas City Southern.  KCS is a major RR, see their web for more information.  Line built pre - Civil War as the Mobile and Ohio from Mobile AL to Meridian MS to Tupelo MS to Corinth MS to Jackson TN to the Ohio River just across from Cairo IL, then after the war completed to St Louis.  Route of the St. Louis to Mobile Gulf Coast Rebel, ended in the late 50's.  Never signaled so far as I know south of Ruslor Jct.  This was the main line north to south for east Mississippi.  Sold off south of Ruslor Jct. or at Corinth MS to form the Gulf and Mississippi (?) short line in the great ICG line dump.  No longer a through line becaues ICG kept the last few miles into Mobile, including access to connections and the port.  Later taken over by the Mid South RR which had bought the Meridian to Shreveport line,  Ultimately bought by Kansas City Southern (when?)  abandoned south of Waynesboro MS, so ICG managed to do what Union forces could not, destroy the Mobile and Ohio.  Very light traffic north of Artesia MS.  Effectively operated as a stub end branch north of Artesia.  South of it forms part of a somewhat round about line from Meridian MS to Birmingham AL.  North of Corinth, KCS or a predecessor took over the Corinth and Counce which was built from Corinth MS to a large paper mill on the Tennessee River at Counce TN in the 1950's.  Have no idea of the current traffic volume on this line.  
 
Corinth MS to Red Bay AL:  Redmont Railway Co. Inc.  This is a 40 mile short lined owned remnant of the 80 mile line built by the ICRR from Ruslor Jct MS to Haleyville AL in the early 1900's to provide a through route between Jackson TN and Birmingham AL, primarily to connect to the Central of Georgia RR at Birmingham.  The rest of the distance was accomplished by trackage rights on the M&O, Southern, and Frisco.  Ten miles of this line in the vicinity of Paden MS was rebuilt in the mid 1970's due to the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway going through the low point in the ridgeline used by the ICRR.  This line was signalled, had a 75 mph speed limit and was the route of the Chicago to Florida City of Miami and the daily secondary Seminole.  The Seminole lasted until at least 1969 and the C of M to Amtrak startup.  Mostly in 112 lb rail except the Tenn Tom relocation which was built with 115 lb welded rail.  The line had become a 40 mph or less line except for 50 mph on the new section by the time ICG dumped it.  
 
The former GM&O line north of Corinth to Jackson TN and ICRR line Jackson TN to Fulton KY was sold by ICG to Southern (or was it Norfolk Southern).  It was leased in 2001 ot the West Tennessee Railroad which operates a piece of the former M&O north of Jackson TN through Humboldt TN to Trenton TN.  
 
One more northeast Mississippi short line is the Mississippian Railroad operating Amory MS to Fulton MS.  This has always been a lightly trafficed short line.  
 
Headquarter cities:
 
Mississippi Central:  Holly Springs MS
Mississippi and Tennessee:  New Albany MS
Redmont Railway:  Rad Bay AL
West Tennessee Railroad:  Trenton TN
 


« Last Edit: Jul 25th, 2005, 12:20pm by George_Harris » Logged
johnson5jr
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #8 on: Jul 25th, 2005, 1:51pm »
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thanks for all the information and ideas. a few other details. the film is set in Louisville, MS. The shots that involve the moving trains could be shot anywhere really, but the shot where the train is halted has to be shot in one particular location due to its proximity to another building that is integral in the movie. I believe that it is mostly shortline freights that move in and out of Louisville and that is what I would like to use. do you have any ideas how much it would cost to do a short term contract (2 or 3 days) with one of these short line companies?
 
oh and I think it is Kansas City Southern that operates in Louisville.


« Last Edit: Jul 25th, 2005, 1:53pm by johnson5jr » Logged
George_Harris
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #9 on: Jul 26th, 2005, 12:42am »
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somehow, when you say northeast Mississippi to me, I always think of the corner area without getting much below or west of Tupelo.  Actually, the definition of the northeast can be one of two ways:  East of I55 (actually defined as east of teh ICRR Grenada District main line) and North of I20 (actually defined as north of the Alabama and Vicksburg Railroad which is now the KCS east-west line Meridian to Vicksburg)  The other is the east part of the Northern District of the Highway Commission, which is about the northern third of the state.  
 
Yes, KCS in Louisville MS.  Don't know when built, but pre 1940, this was part of the GM&N main Jackson TN to Mobile and New Orleans which ran through New Albany MS, Houston, Matheson, Ackerman, Louisville, Philadelphia, Union, Newton, Laurel, Beaumont, Lucedale, Mobile.   This line became part of the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio in 1940, and the Illinois Central Gulf in the 1970's.  It was then spun off and large chunks abandoned.  It then went through multiple ownerships as described for the former M&O line south of Corinth before becoming part of KCS.  The existing line north of Ackerman is the remnant of the ICRR branch from near Durant to Aberdeen.  
 
As you say, traffic on this line is probably very light.  It has never been heavy at any time in the line's history.  I would expect it to be a 25 mph line or less.  It was 25 mph or less back in the 60's when still a through line.  As noted above, passenger service in the form of one train a day, during the night in both directions, ended in the early 50's.  I doubt seriously that the passenger train speed limit ever exceeded something like 50 mph.  
 
By the way, one peculiarity, after Mississippi paved highways in the 1930's the GM&N raillroad formed a bus company, Gulf Transport which began operating busses parallel to the railroad lines.  These busses provided good service through this area well into the 60's by personal experience.  
 
George


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Kent_Loudon
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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #10 on: Aug 25th, 2005, 12:02am »
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>> In another case a character is moving around on the top of a moving train.
 
That could be a problem.  Not even railroad employees are allowed on top of trains today, and most freight cars no longer have roof walks.  You would probably need to consult a lawyer to draw up a legally binging liability waiver, and I doubt any railroad today would even allow it unless you were using professional stuntpersons.  Maybe not even then!


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Kent Loudon
BC_and_A_railway

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Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #11 on: Aug 25th, 2005, 7:29am »
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You can find a car with roof walks to rent from a muesum possibly.....But the legal part is the hard part,unless the train isnt moving I dont think you can go on the roof or roof walks. if you want to go on top of a moving train in the city i dont think it can happen without lawyers stuntpersons and a waiver.... You might have to settle for on a flat car instead on the top of a box car etc. it would be alot easier then using a box car with roof walks etc

« Last Edit: Aug 25th, 2005, 7:30am by BC_and_A_railway » Logged

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Dayton Blair
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green_elite_cab
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Posts: 1212
Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #12 on: Oct 22nd, 2005, 5:21pm »
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maybe you can use a camera trick to make it look like the train is moving....

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1oldgoat
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Posts: 23
Re: using trains in a movie
 
« Reply #13 on: May 19th, 2008, 11:05am »
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Check out regional railway museums that operate trains on their own tracks.  They usually don't have to worry about you 'tying up the line", and often have a good assortment of equipment (steam, diesel, freight, passenger).  Chances are the boxcars at a museum will still have running boards on the roof.  
 
Museum railroads run at slower speeds, you don't have to pay the crews union wages, and the museum officials would be more hospitable (because having their railroad featured in a movie is often good marketing).   Finally, you'll be giving a financial shot in the arm for the museum, allowing them to maintain and repair more equipment or track.
 
If no museums are convenient or can offer what you want, I second the opinion that you should approach a short line.  My guess is that CSX, NS, IC, KCS, etc won't give you the time of day.  Good luck!


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