The Great Locomotive Chase 1956

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Walt Disney Productions

Based on the true story of the famous Andrews Raid during the American Civil War, Fess Parker and Jeff Hunter star in Disney’s colorful adaptation using authentic Civil War era equipment borrowed from the B&O Museum in Baltimore, Maryland.

Principal filming was on the now-defunct Tallulah Falls Railway near Clayton, Georgia with beautiful background scenery throughout the picture.  The movie was filmed just over a hundred miles from where the actual raid took place.  Although I’m stretching the obscure part, this train movie is an outstanding example of Hollywood getting it right, with the railroad equipment itself really being the star.

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Davy.  Daaaavy Crockett.  King of the Wild Frontier!  Fess Parker, sans buckskins brown, alights from the train at the breakfast stop of Big Shanty, Georgia, where the raid began.  Notice the exquisite detail on the coaches.

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Andrews’ engineer prepares to take the General on its ride north;  Conductor Fuller (Jeffery Hunter) is just about to tuck into another biscuit as his train is hijacked.

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The General (B&O Museum’s “William Mason”) steams north with Fuller in hot foot pursuit.  Check that rickety, weed-choked track!

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Andrews stopped and tore up rail (and telegraph wire) to foil the chasers; The raiders’ train was delayed at Kingston, Georgia waiting for two southbound trains.

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Near Etowah, Conductor Fuller commandeers the Yonah (B&O Museum’s “Lafayette”) picking up Confederate troops along the way, and trundling north as fast as the little engine could go.

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Slim Pickens (Engineer Pete Bracken) runs the Texas (Virginia & Truckee’s #22, “The Inyo”) as his fireman pours him some coffee;  Shoving wood in the firebox (Mmmm…bacon…..).

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“Damn Yankees!” Conductor Fuller is once more stopped by a missing rail; Jeff Fuller commandeers Slim Whitman’s Texas to run backwards after Andrews’ Raiders.

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Conductor Fuller throws the switch to sidetrack the freight cars pushed by the Texas; Nice shot of another train in siding – I believe the “Catoosa” is really the General/William Mason in disguise.

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Hey, who’s that guy in the white shirt lifting a rail?  Why, it’s an uncredited Dick Sargent, a.k.a. the second Darrin on Bewitched!

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Beautifully lit shots of the General and the Texas rocketing north towards Tennessee.

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Yikes!  Conductor Fuller yells for full reverse as the raiders send a box car careening down the tracks towards the Texas.

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The General races through Dalton depot; The raiders are forced to abandon this wood and water stop as Fuller and the Texas are close behind.

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Spectacular covered bridge and trestle awaits the approaching General; The raiders last box car is set afire in an attempt to burn the bridge down.

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Running out of fuel and water, the Andrews Raiders ditch the General and take it on the lam with the Southern Cavalry in hot pursuit.

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Conductor Fuller finally retrieves the stolen General and the Confederacy is saved!

I really enjoyed this picture.  The train scenes and attention to detail is outstanding.  I’ve only touched on some of the sublime railroad footage within Great Locomotive Chase.  If you’re a train movie lover like myself, this film is for you.

I am greatly indebted to the authors of www.andrewsraid.com for additional information about The Great Locomotive Chase:

http://www.andrewsraid.com/disney.html
http://www.andrewsraid.com/disney1.html

Here’s what IMDb has to say about The Great Locomotive Chase:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049279/

If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at:
Lindsay.Korst@gmail.com

THE END

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About Lindsay Korst

Webmaster, Blogmaster, Ferroequinologist - Lindsay Korst works part-time for a nationwide home improvement center after a 20+ year career supporting computer users. A resident of the Seattle area since 1976, he has had a life-long interest in railroads, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest. He is an enthusiastic participant in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. He and his wife reside in Redmond, Washington.
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