DISCLAIMER: SPOILER ALERT! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE MOVIE!
We all know him, he has been in many Diabetes commercials, His name is Wilford Brimley. He is one of the stars in this film that also stared Levon Helm, Kevin Bacon and Mary Steenburgn (from Fried Green Tomato’s).
This little story starts out in Clifford, Arkansas. A little shop town on the Southland Railway Company. Everything is going well in this little corner of the Southland, except for several Rule G violations (No Alcohol on duty) until the president of Southland decides that its time to abandon rail operations and switch to Air Freight. Haney (Brimley) and Leo (Helm) decide to do something about it. They meet with fellow employees at The Iron Horse bar to work out a plan to go to Chicago to change the mind of Chairman of the board, Thomas Clinton, that the railroad can haul more freight than any Air Freight outfit.
Well, lets just say that only Haney and Leo end up going. The two of them embark on an adventure to the railroad headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. The trip, though, is rough, and after splitting a police car in half, shooting up the front of the engine with .22 shotguns, and picking up a drunk in St. Louis, the finally make it, but it takes them a while to get to the Chairman of the board, as the president, Warren Gerber, decides to use them as propaganda for the switch to Air Freight. While being coaxed to film a commercial, they skip out during a 5 minute break and see Mr. Thomas Clinton, who is busy playing with his HO scale train set. After discussing what is going on, Leo, Haney and Clinton board the locomotive and take it back down to Clifford, Arkansas. There, a final showdown in Clifford between the three of them, the Sheriff and Warren Gerber marks the end of the whole Air Freight Business, considering that Thomas Clinton, who is technically the owner, sold the entire company to Leo and Haney for a whopping $1. Talk about a steal of the century!
This was one of the first Railroad related movies that I have ever saw, when I was 5 years old. It still brings back many memories of my childhood when I watch it, however, I give it a rating of 7.5 out of 10, mainly because they shoot up a GP38-2 with shot guns.
Now, lets get to the Locomotive used in the filming.
The locomotive used in the film is Union Pacific #2377 still painted in the Jenks Blue scheme of previous Owner, Missouri Pacific. This locomotive has a very interesting heritage, so lets get started. Union Pacific 2377 was born on the erecting floor of the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors plant in La Grange, IL plant on 2-5-1972, with Frame #7344-43. She was built as Missouri Pacific 900. During a renumbering of locomotives in the late 1970’s, she was renumbered to MP 2051. She carried this number up until the merger with Union Pacific in 1982, where she was renumbered for a 3rd time to fit the Union Pacific numbering scheme. This is where she got the number of 2377. The unit was retired in mid 1986 when the standard 15 year locomotive lease was up. She was sent to the North Little Rock shops and stored pending sale. During this time, she was chosen to star in the film “End Of The Line”. She was washed, and her MoPac logo on the cab was covered up with Southland Decals. At the end of the filming, the locomotive was again sent back to North Little Rock and stored for another year, complete with shotgun holes to the cab glass.
In 1990, The “Southland 2377” became HLCX 2377. She worked for various railroads during her Helm Leasing career, but an interesting turn of even came about in 1996. The Union Pacific leased it back again! This time, the locomotive became Union Pacific 1819. She went about working around the vast UP system until 2002, when the locomotive got her current number, Union Pacific GP38-2 #319. So, after a long career, and a whole lot of numbers, the Southland locomotive is still in service, All shotgun holes removed, and today, is a valued member of the vast Union Pacific Railroad.
The newest shot that I have been able to find of this particular locomotive was shot in 2006, but I though I might share it anyway. Here’s the “Southland 2377” as she pretty much looks today. http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=409731
I hope you enjoyed another lesson from CineTrains! As always, if you have any leads that you want me to investigate, shoot me a message! Happy Railfanning!