In circa Spring 1986 I was employed as a Locomotive Engineer for the Southern Pacific Railroad, based out of Taylor Yard in Glendale. One day I got called from the Engineer’s Extra Board to work as a Fireman on a “Hollywood Train” in Taylor’s Reefer Yard for the filming of the Touchstone movie, Tough Guys. I was warned beforehand, that I’d be “working” on an old steam engine (SP4449), of which I knew nothing about – I was showing up to satisfy union requirements. As it turned out, I worked the job for several days, sitting in a beach chair and eating every time the film crew ate. The train set did very little actual moving; I did a lot of eating.
The film crew lighting up the side of the train for an interior shot in the first passenger car.
As an actual working Fireman, I met the Engineer Doyle L. McCormack who was a nice guy. Like me, he did lots of sitting and waiting for the film crew to set up for the next shot.
Just so the real train wouldn’t get damaged during police shoot-outs, the film crew constructed a fake cab and mounted it to a flat car – the Engineer actor could lean out the window while the film crew easily filmed.
We got to watch the movie good-guy/bad-guy shoot out, where an LAPD car was riddled with bullets. The movie people rigged the car with squibs, which did a realistic job of simulating gun fire (not that I see a lot of police cars get shot-up).
At one point, we got to watch a police car “ram” the side of the train. Actually, they inched the car up, with lots of direction, so there was zero chance the train would even get scratched.
Filming a police shoot-out while Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas hang out the door of the baggage car.
Tough Guys Trailer
Two elderly gangsters are released from prison only to find they have trouble fitting in as old men who still take no guff from anyone. Does anyone still rob trains?