When released by United Artist’s in 1967, Racism was a critical issue. This was during a time of integration of the American Black community into the rest of American life, without segregation, that had reigned supreme since the end of the Civil war, nearly 100 years before. In the Heat of the Night is about an African-American detective from the north coming to Sparta, Mississippi to assist in the solving of a murder. The movie, however, was filmed in the more understanding North, in the small community of Sparta, Illinois, a small town about 50 miles south/southeast of St. Louis, Missouri. However, the film was also filmed in the small river town of Chester, IL. You have to remember, the producers did not want anything to harm the African-American actors at a time in American History, was so violent towards the community. Filming in Illinois was much safer than filming in either Mississippi, Alabama or Georgia, where racist’s would kill a man, woman or child just because of their skin color.
In the film, two railroads, both on lines out of St. Louis, were used in the filming. Those railroads are the Missouri Pacific Lines, and the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad. Unlike the Missouri Pacific, a railroad that we already discussed twice in two previous posts, “Things are Tough All Around”, a Cheech and Chong Movie, and “End of the Line”, a Wilford Brimely movie, the GM&O had not been in any other films that we discussed
Lets get on to the trains in the film.
The locomotive that the GM&O used in the film is an old EMD E7A. Built as Alton Railroad E7A #103A, the locomotive carried Serial #2006, and Frame #E544-A4. She was born in March 1945, a time when World War II was coming to a close. She helped the Alton, and later, the GM&O haul the influx of returning soldiers. The unit spent her entire career on the Alton and the GM&O, never straying away from her home territory. I am sad to report, however, that GM&O 103, was sold for scrap in March, 1975, and was cut up shortly after that.
Here’s a photo of GM&O 103 as she looked a few years of filming. The unit is working an Amtrak train out of Chicago: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2005687
An interesting tidbit that I learned from a Union Pacific engineer. All the passengers on the train are actually GM&O Employees! The engineer friend of mine worked with the Fireman on the 103 during Filming of the film. I should also point out that the GM&O’s line through Sparta, IL was torn up in the late 1980’s by the GM&O’s successor, the Illinois Central Gulf.
The brace of EMD locomotives during the Jail Break seen are a set of Missouri Pacific EMD GP35’s. The GP35, at this time, was Missouri Pacific’s fast freight locomotive. Even though the more popular EMD GP40 had not yet taken hold on the MoPac Roster, and the even more popular SD40 had just been introduced that January. The locomotives in the film are MP GP35’s 615, 660 and 622.
Missouri Pacific GP35 #615 was built in February of 1964 for the Missouri Pacific. She was built with frame #7706-8 and serial #28930. Unlike most of the other locomotives featured in The CineTrains Project, Missouri Pacific 615 had a short life. She was fatally wrecked in Cotulla, Texas in March 1971, at the Age of 7.
Here’s a photo of the Wrecked #615: http://silvereagle.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=399552
Here’s a link into exactly what happened to cause the wreck that destroyed #615: http://www.trainweb.org/screamingeagle/cotulla.html
Missouri Pacific GP35 #660 was built in July 1964 for the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railway as C&EI #252. Between the time the Locomotive was built and delivered to the time of the filming, the C&EI was split up between the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and the Missouri Pacific, so both railroads could reach Chicago. The unit was built with serial #29543 and Frame #5668-3. The unit was renumbered to MP 2557 during the 1970’s renumbering of Missouri Pacific Locomotives, the unit was given the number 2557. She kept this number for the rest of her life. When the Union Pacific Railroad took over the MoPac in 1982, the locomotive lived on for another 7 months, before retiring in February of 1983. In 1984, the locomotive was sent to EMD as a trade in for new Missouri Pacific SD50’s. She was scrapped by the Pielet Brothers in Chicago later that year.
Here’s a photo of the MP 660 in Dalton, IL: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=674071
The third and Final locomotive in the lashup is MP GP35 #622. Built by EMD in February of 1964, the locomotive carried the frame number 7706-8 and Serial number 28930. She was built as MP 622 and carried this number until the 1970’s MoPac locomotive renumberings, when she got the number 2520. The locomotive carried the number until she to was retired in February of 1983. She, along with 44 other locomotives (Included the mentioned MP 660) was sent back to EMD in May of 1984 to be traded in for credit towards brand new EMD SD50’s that the MoPac ordered. She was cut up for scrap by the Pielet Brothers in Chicago in early 1985.
Here’s a photo of the MP 622 in everyday service on the MP: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=1174738
While this scene has 2 locomotives in it, I was only able to get the 2nd locomotive. The unit is an EMD GP18, #457. The locomotive, also an EMD product, was constructed in 1962 as Missouri Pacific 457, with the Frame #7623-11 and serial #27238. At the age of 9, the unit was damaged in the a-for-mentioned Colutta, Texas wreck. However, unlike the ill-fated MP 615, that was seen earlier, this unit was not a total wright off and was rebuilt, and continued to serve the MoPac for a number of years. In the In70’s locomotive renumbering, the locomotive was given the number of 1955. She carried the number for the rest of her service lie on the MoPac. She was sent as trade in to General Electric in the early 1980’s, and was cut up for scrap by Scrap Service of Joliet, IL. This was all the info I could locate on this particular locomotive.
SORRY, NO KNOWN PHOTOS OF THE MP 457/MP 1955 HAVE BEEN LOCATED. If you can provide a photo, please inform me ASAP.
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