In 1993 the San Diego Railroad Museum helped produce a made-for-tv movie called Greyhounds, which aired on CBS on Friday, June 24, 1994.

Shooting of the freight train sequences utilized SDRM equipment and crews, but the only Museum members shown are the engineer and fireman in 2098, an ALCo RS-2.

Many of the scenes presented significant challenges for the Museum. A helicopter was used extensively, and for one of the shots it was sitting across the rails as the train came through a curved blind-cut. The director didn't tell engineer Don Getz that this would happen, and poor Don almost fouled his britches as the 'copter struggled to get airborne to clear the cab of the loco. Don didn't big-hole the train, but he was tempted.

Another sequence shows the train being dynamited (literally) and blowing up a coupler, allowing the train to separate. The headend proceeded on its merry way, with the backend coming to a gradual halt. Now, WE know it wouldn't happen that way, and we told the director as much. But he said big deal, the script is more important than reality. We staged the scene by using two locomotives, one on each end of the train. The coupler to be blown up was rigged so that it wouldn't lock. The angle cocks at that coupler were closed so that each segment of the consist could be controlled from each loco. The rear loco, which never showed in any of the shots, shoved the entire consist until the coupler was blown. At that time it made a 10 pound reduction and allowed the rear end to come to a controlled stop while the front end proceeded as if nothing had happened. Great sport.

Another shot showed bad guys on top of a rocking tank car. It wasn't safe to take the shots while moving, so we lined up all the beefy Museum volunteers we could find who managed to rock the stationary car while standing on the ground.

Dennis Weaver and James Coburn, among others, appear in the movie, but they never made an appearance at the location. The shots were taken between mile-posts 70 and 73 on the mainline of the San Diego and Arizona Railway, about 5 miles east of Campo, California.

Video clips from the program

Clip 1 (2.9 MB)
The freight train approaches, led by ALCo RS-2 #2098.
Clip 2 (3.1 MB)
The helicopter drops its "bad guys" on our ACY boxcar.
Clip 3 (3.6 MB)
The bandits make their way to the tank car.
Clip 4 (4.4 MB)
They get to the flat car, and apply explosive to coupler.
Clip 5 (3.9 MB)
They detonate the explosive, causing the train to separate.
Clip 6 (4.3 MB)
They prepare the cargo for pickup by the helicopter.
Clip 7 (4.3 MB)
The helicoptor lifts off with the cargo.
Clip 8 (5.2 MB)
The helicoptor jettisons the cargo.

Page by Randy Houk, text by Lew Wolfgang
 Last update: 6-20-2005