Well, from what I can say is that all the railroad equipment in this 1930 movie is gone, even the line itself is gone
“Danger Lights” is a railroad mans movie, back when men where real mean, worked hard for a living, and didn’t try to make multi-million dollar recording contracts by posting videos to the internet. (They also didn’t sound like girls when they sing). The film is set on the Milwaukee Road’s Pacific Extension out of Harlowtown, Montana, and is about a no-nonsense railroad boss and an engineer.
The film opens with a landslide blocking the route, and a wreck train crew is dispatched to scene . When it is discovered that more men were needed, the railroad boss, played by the Late Alan Roscoe (1886-1933) spy’s some hobo’s in one of the boxcars on the blocked train. It is later discovered that one of the Hobo’s, who picked a fight with Jim (The Boss), is a former Locomotive Engineer who was let go for not doing what he was told. As the movie progress’s, the engineer, Larry Doyle (Played by the Late Robert Armstrong, 1890-1973) is hired by the boss as a locomotive engineer, and he ends up falling in love with the Boss’s fiancée, Mary, who is played by the late Jean Arthur (1900-1991)
Jealousy becomes a significant part of the plot as the two men fight to attempt to win her over in marriage. In one scene, the two are fighting it out in the yard when the boss is hit by a train, and severely injured. To show that he is not heartless, the engineer transports the boss in record time to Chicago.
Danger Lights has some of the only known footage of the Milwaukee Road’s steam operations on the Rocky Mountain Division. During this time, the Milwaukee had electrified this portion of the line, however, you never see any of the Electric operations. Another interesting fact is that the name “Milwaukee Road” is never mentioned in the movie, but you can clearly tell, since the railroad Plastered its name where it could through out the movie. Here is a fact for the movie buffs.
I won’t go into much detail about the movie, but the movie is in Public Domain, so the copyright of the movie has expired, meaning that several small companies dealing in old movies has released the movie on DVD. You can also watch the entire movie on YouTube right here on the blog. Scroll down to the end of the post to watch the movie!
The movie was filmed on location on the Milwaukee Road’s Rocky Mountain division in 1930. This line was part of the Milwaukee’s Pacific Extension that extended the railroad from its Main core in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa out to the Pacific Ocean. It was also the first Transcontinental route to be abandoned. When the Milwaukee Road filed for bankruptcy for the final time in the late 1970’s, The court appointed trustee decided to eliminate as many miles as possible from the railroad in order to save cost’s. In 1979, the entire route west of Terry, Montana was abandoned. It is Ironic that this line was abandoned, because it was the best engineered route through the west. At 1,100 mile, this was the largest abandonment of a railroad in history, until the next year, when the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific (Rock Island Railroad) completely abandoned its railroad (7,000+ miles). The Milwaukee did not last much longer, and in 1986, the railroad was bought and merged into the Soo Line Railroad.
Danger Lights (1930) full movie 1 hour, 17 minutes
I hope you enjoyed this latest blog plost! If you have any leads you want me to investigate, send me message and I will start digging up information! Happy Railfanning!