Marysville resident Jon Hosfeld has something in common with superstar actor Denzel Washington. Both have stopped a runaway train. The difference is, Hosfeld did it for real nine years ago in Ohio, while Washington does it Hollywood style in his new adventure film "Unstoppable," which was inspired by Hosfeld's true adventure.
The film, directed by Tony Scott, opens nationwide on Nov. 12. Some of the train sequences were filmed on Pennsylvania railroad tracks, and Hosfeld spent a week consulting with filmmakers about the actual event. “It was very important to me that they get it right,” he said.
Hosfeld, a decorated Vietnam veteran and an experienced trainmaster, raced from crossing to crossing in his Dodge Dakota truck that afternoon in May of 2001, trying to board an unmanned 47-car CSX freight train that was motoring along at a high rate of speed. “That nobody got hurt was amazing,” the 62-year-old retiree said. “There were 40-some crossings that it went through.”
The train, which was transporting thousands of gallons of the hazardous chemical molten phenol acid, had made an unscheduled departure from the Toledo rail yard after the engineer left the train with the brakes set but the engine running. “He broke a rule,” Hosfeld said. “By the time he tried to get back on, it was moving too fast and he fell off.”
That set off a chase across northwestern Ohio, much of it broadcast live on CNN. Looming down the tracks was the state capital of Columbus, where a hazardous material spill could be a catastrophe. “I was chasing it for 66 miles,” Hosfeld recalled Wednesday. “It went by me one time at about 46 miles per hour. I said, I’m not going to break my legs trying to get on a train moving that fast.”
Among those watching on television was Hosfeld’s anxious wife, Judy, who had a feeling her husband was involved even though he was by then a CSX supervisor and not an active engineer. After getting his start in the Enola rail yards, Hosfeld had worked his way up the managerial ladder, but he happened to be the man on the spot that afternoon. “I looked at it as a problem to be solved,” he said.
Eventually, a locomotive operated by Jesse Knowlton and Terry Forson caught up to the rear of the runaway. After linking to it, they were able to use their engine’s brakes to slow down the runaway. “They were the real heroes,” Hosfeld said. By the time Hosfeld jumped aboard the freight train at a crossing in Kenton, Ohio, its speed had been cut to a little more than 10 miles per hour. “It was still a pretty good jolt,” he said.
Once aboard, Hosfeld simply cut the engine and the train coasted to a stop. Crisis averted, he called his wife to let her know he was OK. “I was very proud of him,” Judy Hosfeld said, “but I was also thinking, what are you doing jumping on a moving train at your age?”
The couple, who have an adult daughter living in Kentucky, say they are looking forward to seeing the film, and plan to attend on opening night. The couple, who have an adult daughter living in Kentucky, say they are looking forward to seeing the film, and plan to attend on opening night. But Hosfeld brushes off notions that he’ll “go Hollywood,” especially since he thinks his role in the adventure did not even make it into the fictionalized account featured in the movie. “I’m still me,” he said. “I’m still going to go about my business.”
Denzel Washington and Chris Pine chug into theaters this weekend in Tony Scott’s runaway-train thriller, Unstoppable. Denzel Washington plays a railway veteran assigned to show the new guy on the job (Pine) the ropes. Is a movie about a train with no one on it exciting? Is this really a true story? Will Unstoppable be unstoppable at the box office this weekend? As a service, we answer every question that you could possibly have about Unstoppable.
Q: Are you sure your introduction is correct? I swear I’ve seen this movie before, but Chris Pine wasn’t in it. Aren’t you forgetting John Travolta?
A: John Travolta and Denzel Washington starred in last year’s The Taking of Pelham 123, which was also directed by Tony Scott. Q: See, this movie came out last year. Why are we still talking about it?
A: The Taking of Pelham 123, which came out in 2009, was a movie about a hijacked New York City subway train. Unstoppable is a movie about an unmanned, out-of-control freight train. There is a distinct difference.
Q: Oh, yes, Unstoppable—the movie about a train filled with money starring Wesley Snipes?
A: No, you’re confusing your train movies. Unstoppable was a 2004 direct-to-DVD release starring Wesley Snipes that has absolutely nothing to do with trains. Snipes did star alongside Woody Harrelson in 1995’s Money Train.
Q: Why is the freight train unmanned in Unstoppable? Does this have something to do with the recession?
A: The freight train had an engineer, but he hopped out to change a railroad switch on the tracks. He thought he would be able to jump back in, but the train was going too fast.
Q: Who plays the engineer who jumps out of the train?
A: Ethan Suplee, best known for playing Randy on My Name is Earl.
Q: Was the train really going too fast, or was the engineer just too slow?
A: Probably the latter. Regardless, the train was left in a very high gear, so it continues to gain speed as it goes—up to 80 miles per hour. The train’s dispatcher (played by Rosario Dawson) claims the train is the length of the Chrysler building.
Q: That is a surprisingly specific comparison. Is the train hauling anything harmful?
A: It is hauling a substantial amount of molten phenol, a very toxic chemical.
Q: Is Unstoppable the name of the train?
A: No, the train is referred to by its number, 777.
Q: Who does Denzel Washington play?
A: Denzel Washington plays Frank, a 28-year veteran of the railroad company who was recently given notice that he is losing his job to make room for younger staffers.
Q: How many times does Frank mention that he has worked for the railroad company for 28 years?
Q: Let me guess, Chris Pine is taking Frank’s job?
A: More or less. Pine plays Will, the new guy who got the job through family connections.
Q: Will gets a lot of ribbing from the veterans on the job, right?
Q: And Will has a heart of gold, with a loving wife and kid at home?
A: Actually, his wife took out a restraining order on him after he accused her of cheating and then pulled a gun on her male friend, who also happens to be a cop. Will continues to call his wife constantly, but she never picks up. (Also, I should note, anytime a phone call is made in this film, the caller-ID photo looks like it was taken at Glamour Shots.)
Q: Wait, what? How is Will not in jail?
A: Well, Unstoppable does take place in rural Pennsylvania; I can only guess this kind of thing is more common than we think in rural parts of the country. (But that’s just my snobbish, city-slicker perspective.)
Q: How many cameos does Peter Griffith from Family Guy have in Unstoppable?
Q: Is Unstoppable really based on a true story?
A: Technically, yes.
Q: What are some differences?
A: The real story takes place in the state of Ohio, not Pennsylvania. Also, the train’s number was 8888.
Q: O.K., well, that’s not thatbig of a change. A train traveling close to 80 miles per hour still sounds pretty dangerous.
A: The real version of the train never went faster than 47 miles per hour, or about the same speed that my grandmother drives on the interstate (and I would never describe her Silver Frost Clearcoat Metallic Lincoln Continental as “unstoppable”).
Q: In real life, how did the train eventually come to a stop?
A: Another train coupled onto the runaway train, slowing it down to around 10 miles per hour, and a driver simply hopped on board and stopped it.
Q: Is it safe to assume that Tony Scott’s version of these event does not end with a train traveling slower than Usain Bolt, a human being, can run?
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At lunchtime on May 15, 2001, CSX Locomotive No. 8888 eased down tracks in a rail yard outside Toledo, Ohio. The engine known as "Crazy Eights" picked up speed as it pulled 47 freight cars, two of them loaded with toxic chemicals, south toward Columbus.
Only no one was on board.
Jon Hosfeld, a native of Mechanicsburg, Pa., was in the rail yard eating his lunch.
He wasn't supposed to be there that day. Hosfeld, 52, ran a CSX yard 67 miles south in Kenton; he'd come north to deposit a carload of children and Ohio's lieutenant governor in Toledo for a program aimed at raising awareness about the dangers of rail crossings.
Over the radio from the tower came the foreman's voice: "I think we've got a problem."
It was a railroad worker's worst nightmare: a runaway train.
Hosfeld dropped his lunch. He and a coworker jumped into a silver Dodge Dakota pickup and took off.
If this scenario sounds familiar, maybe you've seen the trailers for Unstoppable, the thriller starring Denzel Washington that opens at theaters Friday. It's about an out-of-control train and the heroic effort to stop it before it caused widespread disaster.
That's Hosfeld's story.
Now he's 62, retired, and living in Marysville, Pa., near the rail yards where he and his father once worked.
"I've got to stop this train," he remembers thinking. "I've got to solve this problem."
A senior engineer that overcast spring day in the Stanley Yard, just south of Toledo, was moving cars around in the typical choreography of freight yards.
He was preparing to make a routine repair - to climb out of his slowly moving locomotive and fix a track switch. For reasons still unknown, he applied the throttle instead of a brake system.
Panicked, the engineer tried to jump back on the train. But he lost his footing on rain-slicked steps and was dragged 80 feet before he let go.
Meanwhile, Hosfeld, a veteran CSX trainmaster, saw what was going on. He says he remembers thinking: Let's see if we can catch it.
Off he went, he and his colleague Mike Smith, barreling down Interstate 75 in the silver Dodge Dakota, reaching speeds of almost 100 m.p.h. in a race to find the train. State police began clearing the rail crossings.
Hosfeld and Smith rushed to a crossing and peered down the tracks. No train. They didn't know if it was behind them or ahead.
They pressed on, finally catching sight of the train at a town called Cygnet. It was moving at speeds of more than 40 m.p.h.
"I could see the vapors," Hosfeld recalled this week in an interview. That telltale sign made his heart sink: "I knew the throttle was wide open."
His first thought was to derail the train.
Just north of the college town of Bowling Green, the railroad workers tried to do just that - they laid down a steel wedge designed to derail a locomotive in just such an emergency.
The Crazy Eights blew right through it at 50 miles per hour.
The train was sailing through dozens of grade crossings, moving too fast to trip the gates. It motored past factories, through cornfields and sugar-beet farms and the bog land known as the Great Black Swamps.
It was carrying 20 cars loaded with farm products, steel, and coal. Two cars contained molten phenol - a substance used in paint thinner. It is toxic and potentially flammable.
In the late 1960s, Hosfeld served a four-year stint in the Army, including a tour in Vietnam. Coming home to central Pennsylvania in 1970, he considered two career paths.
One was plumbing - they were looking for such tradesmen to help build the new nuclear plant that was going up at Three Mile Island. The other was his father's line - railroading.
His dad worked at the storied Enola yards, the heart of the Pennsylvania Railroad's freight operations, north of Harrisburg. Hosfeld spent hours there as a kid.
His father was often away for long stretches, but the boy remembered the kindness of the men hanging out in the crew office. They were like family. The railroad took care of you, he remembers.
He'd seen how his grandparents had struggled as farmers.
"I wanted a pension plan," Hosfeld recalls, sitting on the sofa of his home in Marysville, a few miles from the Enola yards. So he signed up for the railroad, rose through the ranks at Conrail from fireman to trainmaster, and was put in charge of various freight yards in Pennsylvania and Maryland before being sent to Ohio in 1996.
By the time Locomotive 8888 passed the Whirlpool plant north of Findlay, TV news helicopters were following overhead. All Hosfeld could do was stand by as the train blasted through another crossing.
Back in Toledo, supervisors began rolling out Plan B: Catch the train from behind.
The crew of a northbound train farther down the line was ordered to uncouple its locomotive and wait on a siding for the runaway.
About 2:05 p.m., the train passed Dunkirk - where Hosfeld briefly considered trying to run it off the rails into a quarry.
Now the chase train was in hot pursuit. Five miles south, near Blanchard, that crew caught up with the train. Moving at 51 m.p.h., they managed to attach the locomotive to the rear car.
The normal speed for safe car coupling is 4 m.p.h.
Now came the task of slowing the runaway. Engineer Jess Knowlton had to apply the brakes of his locomotive ever so gently, lest he break the train apart.
By the time the train reached Kenton, Knowlton and conductor Terry L. Forson had slowed it to about 11 m.p.h.
Yet they couldn't stop it. The 3,000-horsepower engine and the weight of 47 cars added up to "too much power," Hosfeld said.
But now it was entering Hosfeld's home turf - the train yard at Kenton. He had directed his crew to create a blockade, putting two locomotives on the same track as a last-ditch effort to halt the train.
He still thought he could stop it, though. He got out of the pickup truck at a crossing, minutes ahead of the train. "I heard it screaming," Hosfeld recalled.
What he had in mind was a perilous three-foot leap.
He'd jumped on moving trains in those Enola yards, but they moved at 2 or 3 m.p.h., not 11.
"I only had one chance," Hosfeld said. "I thought I had to focus. 'I've got to hit this.' "
He stretched his legs, said a prayer, and started running.
He ran sideways along the right-of-way as the engine approached. Just as its nose passed, he jumped - nailing his landing on the step, and hauling himself to the locomotive's deck.
He raced to the cab to shut down the throttle. It was 2:30 p.m., two hours after No. 8888 rolled out of Toledo on its own. The train had gone 66 miles.
He radioed: "It's over, fellas. I got it stopped. We're safe."
In the Hollywood version, the train is described as a missile "the size of the Chrysler building," barreling toward a major city, ramming horse trailers, train cars - everything except puppies, as one reviewer wrote. Denzel Washington plays a veteran engineer who leaps across train car roofs. Actor Chris Pine, as the conductor, dangles between moving cars.
In reality, thanks to Hosfeld and the other trainmen, no one was injured and the train was intact.
In 2009, 20th Century Fox hired Hosfeld as a consultant. He shared railroad lore and language with director Tony Scott on locations in Pittsburgh and Ohio.
When production was done, Hosfeld's real-life role ended up on the cutting-room floor, his character reduced to a composite.
Hosfeld, who retired in 2006, hasn't seen the film. He wasn't invited to the Hollywood premiere; he says that's OK with him.
A theater manager in his hometown of Mechanicsburg is saving 40 seats for Hosfeld, his wife, Judy, and other family and friends for the opening Friday night.
All Hosfeld says he's hoping for is to see his name in the credits.
By Amy Worden, Inquirer Staff Writer
Is the Movie 'Unstoppable' Based on a True Story?
Question: Is 'Unstoppable' based on a true story?
Denzel Washington and director Tony Scott teamed up for the fifth (and last) time for the action thriller about a runaway train loaded with dangerous cargo headed toward disaster. Chris Pine co-starred in the film, which was written by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and The Wolverine screenwriter Mark Bomback. The poster and marketing material says Unstoppable is "inspired by true events," but what's the real scoop?
Answer: Yes, the 20th Century Fox film Unstoppable is inspired by actual events, but very loosely. On May 15, 2001, an unmanned train -- CSX Locomotive #8888, which was later nicknamed "Crazy Eights" -- with 47 cars left Stanley rail yard in Walbridge, Ohio, and took off on a 66 mile. The cause? Prior to exiting the slow-moving train to fix a switch, the engineer made a mistake with the braking system which left the engine under power. The train, carrying thousands of gallons of harmful molten phenol in two of its cars, took off and reached speeds in the 50 miles per hour range.
For a little under two hours, the runaway train rolled through northern Ohio before another train manned by Jesse Knowlton and Terry Forson was deployed to catch up with the unmanned train. Knowlton and Forson were able to use their locomotive to slow the runaway train down to 11 miles per hour, allowing CSX Trainmaster Jon Hosfeld to climb aboard and stop the train. Jess Knowlton, who was the engineer who slowed down the CSX 888 in real life, served as the technical advisor to the film.
Screenwriter Mark Bomback embellished the events for dramatic effect. In the film, the runaway train reaches speeds of 80 miles per hour and becomes a media sensation, though in real life the train was much slower and the actual incident was over before it became a major news story. The plan that Washington and Pine's characters enact to stop the train is similar to the plan used in real life, except in the movie Washington and Pine's characters are treated like renegades for going forward with their plan. On top of that, the movie moves the events from Ohio to Pennsylvania.
The film also increases the amount of phenol that the real-life train was carrying, and implies that the chemical is far more destructive than it would be in actuality. The Blade, an Ohio newspaper, provided a full breakdown of the fact versus the fiction of the film.
As a result, the "inspired by true events" tagline that 20th Century Fox marketed the film with is accurate, but the events were changed significantly enough that a "based on a true story" tagline might have seemed dishonest to most moviegoers.
Edited by Christopher McKittrick
Train in 777 pennsylvania accident
lhappy AWVR 777 is an AWVR (Allegheny & West Virginia Railroad) AC4400CW in the 2010 action/thriller movie, Unstoppable. It was a runaway train carrying hazardous chemicals known as Molten Phenol from Fuller Yard towards Stanton, Pennsylvania. Courtesy of the heroic actions of rookie conductor Will Colson and veteran engineer Frank Barnes, the train was stopped before it could cause any more fatalities beyond when it derailed a lash-up and the engineer was killed, shortly before Colson and Barnes began their pursuit.
History of Events
Little is known about AWVR 777's history and what it did before the events of Unstoppable, but it can be stated it was built at a decade, to work for AWVR railroad operations before the events happened. In the film, 777 is double-heading a mixed freight train with one of its sister locomotives, AWVR 767, another AC4400CW. The train consists of 12 closed hopper cars filled with different types of grain, 8 tank cars filled molten phenol, a toxic, flammable chemical used in the manufacturing of glue and other art supplies, 3 open hopper cars filled with coal, and 2 bulkhead flat cars carrying large steel pipes. Originally to the schedule, 777 was supposed to be moved from Track D16 to Track D10 in AWVR's Fuller Yard to make way for the Railroad Safety Campaign train with a field trip that would arrive later that day. Instead, due to a misaligned switch, 777's temporary engineer, Dewey, decides to jump out of the cab to run ahead of 777, throw the switch, and attempt to climb back on. But when Dewey supposedly thought he set the independent brake he forgot to do so without air brakes, Which 777 didn't have at the time due to a disconnected air hose, the brake was useless. 777's throttle slid back from the forward idle position to the full backward position, Notch 8, full power. With nothing or no one to stop it, AWVR 777 becomes a runaway train, heading onto the wrong track. In a panic, Dewey runs after it to try and climb back on and manages to grab onto one of the handrails but before he can get back on, the speed of 777 pulls him to the point where he loses his footing and falls onto the ballast. Despite Dewey's assumption that 777 would only travel at 10 mph, 777 and its train quickly began accelerating and was already well over 10 mph in its first minutes under power. Dewey and Gilleece tried to climb back on 777 again by racing to the front of it in a hi-rail truck. 777 may have already been going reasonably fast as Dewey struggles to catch up with it. When the truck is match to match with 777's front, Gilleece is able to grab one of the handrails but has to abort his attempt to avoid being hit by a signal post that detaches the right-side door. AWVR 777 then runs rampant all over the AWVR mainline and across the state of Pennsylvania. The RSC field trip train had to divert into a siding in Portville and narrowly avoids colliding with 777. Other trains on the mainline also have to divert into sidings to avoid collisions. Police and Pennsylvania State Troopers were called to block off all the railroad crossings on the mainline to prevent cars from being hit by 777, because they wouldn't be able to hear or see the train coming. At one crossing in Findlay, 777 destroys a horse trailer that is accidentally bumped onto the tracks by a gravel truck. The owners of the horses were able to get them out of the trailer with one of them restraining, almost getting hit by the approaching 777. A news cameraman and reporter see 777 hitting the horse trailer on video and it is broadcast on the live breaking news report on the runaway.. Another video is obtained from a surveillance camera that is pointing directly at the tracks. In Keating Summit, a plan is launched by AWVR's vice president Oscar Galvin to try and stop 777 by putting 2 SD40-2 locomotives (7375 & 7346) in front of it to couple up to 777 and slow it down so an AWVR employee (Ryan Scott) can be lowered onto the roof by helicopter and get in to the cab and stop 777. At first, The pair of SD40-2s hold their position in front of 777. Then the engineer of the SD40-2s, Judd Stewart, begins to bump the SD40s into 777 creating a cascade of sparks and slowing 777 down despite the occasional time when 777 would push the SD40s away from it, forcing Judd to push them back again. Judd had managed to slow 777 down to under 40 mph where Ryan is lowered onto the roof of 777 by a helicopter. However before he could even move, 777 had slammed into the lash-up and when Judd pushes them back into 777, the force of the collision sent him flying backward and into the right front cab window of 767, knocking him unconscious. AWVR then tries to get Judd to slow 777 down enough to get it off the mainline, but this attempt went horribly wrong as 777 pushed the SD40-2s away from it giving them a burst of burning brakes and increasing speed. The SD40-2s enter the siding too fast causing them to fall on their side and explode in a giant fireball, killing Judd. Instead of following the SD40-2s onto the siding, AWVR 777 surprisingly jumps the switch, staying on the mainline. Next, 777 encounters another train, AWVR 1206, another SD40-2 that was forced to stay on the mainline as it was directed into a siding too small for its consist and had to go onto a rip track instead where they met with 777. The veteran engineer, (Frank Barnes) and young conductor (Will Colson) get 1206 to narrowly avoid a head-on collision with 777. As 777 raced past 1206, It crashes into the last boxcar on their train, reducing it to nothing but scrap. This, along with hitting the horse trailer, is what gave AWVR 777 the damage on the right front side of its cab and the right portion of the locomotive's front handrails. Outside of the small town of Arklow, police try shooting the emergency fuel stop button on 777, but this is ineffective because officers are mainly shooting at the fuel tank and if one of them had hit the stop button it wouldn't have worked since it needs to be held down several seconds. Galvin devises another plan to stop 777 by trying to derail it in Arklow, but once again their attempt was thwarted by 777 as it destroyed the derailers when it rolled over them , smashing a few police cars since it was too heavy to derail. After 777 passed them, the crew of 1206, Will Colson and Frank Barnes, detach from their consist and begin to chase 777 in reverse in their own attempt to stop AWVR 777. They eventually catch up to 777 and manage to couple up to the runaway train at the cost of grain spilling out from the last car and Will's foot getting crushed in between the couplers when he tries to secure the connection. 1206 then starts braking, creating a huge constant shower of sparks. 1206 is able to slow down 777 to under 50 mph, but 777 quickly regains speed shortly after as the consist is too heavy and the single SD40-2 was outmatched by the 2 much stronger AC4400CWs. As an attempt to help 1206 slow down 777, Frank goes out running on top of 777's consist and applying the hand brakes on its freight cars. This allows Will to use 1206 to slow down 777 as slow as 33 mph, but shortly after achieving that 1206 loses its cab brakes in a huge flame due to the traction motors being overheated. AWVR 777 is now quickly approaching the Stanton Curve in the city of Stanton. The Stanton Curve is a sharp elevated curve with a 15 mph speed limit leading everyone to jump to the conclusion that 777 will fly off the tracks if it reached the curve. To make matters worse, right next to the curve are giant fuel storage tanks. If 777 were to derail into these fuel storage tanks, the results would be catastrophic. Frank, who is resting on top of one of the tank cars suggests that Will, who is still in 1206, to use the independent brakes as a last resort to slow 777. When 777 enters the curve it had entered with enough speed that it is balancing on one set of wheels causing it to hit nearby electrical posts, knocking them down and the pipes on one of the bulkhead flat cars to detach and roll off the car falling to the ground below and narrowly missing hitting one of the storage tanks. After hitting the independent brake as hard as he can multiple times, Will manages to get 777 back on all its wheels and on track. After making it through the curve, Frank tries to continue applying hand brakes to the freight cars but he can’t get any further as the gap between the bulkhead flat and the tanker cars has stopped him. Ned Oldham, in his pickup truck and with his convoy of police cars and fire trucks which had been following AWVR 777 since the beginning, had pulled up alongside 1206. Ned Beckons to Will to hop in the back of his truck. Will, though still with a broken foot, complies and jumps into the back of Ned's truck. Ned races to the front of 777 with the convoy of emergency vehicles close behind. When Ned reaches the cab of 777, Will jumps. He grabs on to the handrails, his feet dangling below him as he hangs onto 777. He finds his footing and climbs into the cab of AWVR 777 and applies the brakes and put the throttle to idle, putting 777's potentially-castastrophic rampage to an end. Shortly after having stopped the train, a ceremony is set up to honor Will and Frank and the others who stopped the train and for interviews. The ceremony is held in a suburb in Stanton next to the train tracks where AWVR 777 and 767 and the rest of the runaway train is parked, for the press and the public to take pictures of it, admire it, and be able to look at it up close. It is unknown what happened to 777 after Unstoppable, But what almost certainly happened was after the ceremony is finished, 777, 767 and 1206 were taken to the nearest AWVR shop to be repaired and were then sent back into service and still operate for AWVR to this day.
- Elephant sounds were mixed with train noises to make 777 sound more menacing, including one sound That was used for the T. Rex in Jurassic Park.
- During development, 777 was nicknamed "The Beast". Denzel Washington uses the nickname in a behind-the-scenes interview. 
- There are also some problems with the movie's information:
- It passes three junctions that would have and should have derailed it immediately. However, it is likely the dispatcher set them to clear before 777 approached.
- It derails a lash-up even though it was traveling on the same track as the lash-up. It is not possible for any train to jump a switch no matter how fast it's going. However, there are thoughts that Scott Werner had called off the plan to switch 777 off the mainline, clues refer to him saying (Don't side it yet, it's going to fast.)
- It almost derails 1206, as it was going on a siding, one boxcar was derailed off the mainline where 777 was, and 777 hits it and goes unscathed. 777 would've derailed because the track switch was aligned with the siding, and NOT the mainline. However, it is likely that the dispatcher set the switch to the mainline before the boxcar cleared and 777 passed on. As Frank said, with 777's size and speed, it will vaporize and destroy anything in it's path, including other trains or cars.
- AWVR 777 crashed through a boxcar, and the boxcar exploded like it was made of plywood. it was canonically made of steel, so it would not have done that. It may have been that the boxcar was rusty and rotten wood or loaded with crates of explosives or gasoline to have exploded.
- A few frames before 777 hits the aforementioned boxcar, it is seen with one of the trucks on the ground and not the rail.
- There is damage to the front of the 777, (save for the left light) before it hits the trailer, due to scenes being filmed before the events happening.
- 777 and 767 travel about 75 MPH, though a single AC4400CW wouldn't be able to do so pulling 39 cars. 767 wouldn't have been used as power since it was a yard move. But it was possibly the momentum of the train's weight and 25 cars to make it close to 75 MPH or if 767 was under power too.
- CP 9782 was the early production version of 777 and CP 9777 was the late production version of 777.
- The 777 is based on the CSX "Crazy 8s" Runaway, where a CSX SD40-2 numbered 8888 became a runway in the same fashion as in the film. But 8888 was an SD40-2, and 777 was an AC4400CW.
A map of AWVR 777's entire consist.
Runaway train stopped after uncontrolled 2 hours
KENTON, Ohio (CNN) -- A runaway freight train that barreled through 66 miles of northwestern Ohio with no one aboard was halted safely Tuesday by a railroad worker who jumped onto the moving train and pulled its brake.
The 47-car CSX train was slowed down by another engine in a coupling maneuver.
Two of the train's tank cars contained thousands of gallons of the hazardous material molten phenol acid, a toxic ingredient of paints and dyes harmful when it is inhaled, ingested or comes into contact with the skin.
Kathleen Burns, a spokeswoman for CSX Transportation, said the train left its Toledo rail yard with no engineer at its controls. The engineer was "nearby" in the yard at the time, but not on the train, she said.
"It left the yard unmanned," she said. "Obviously, something went awry. That's what we're trying to get to the bottom of."
She said the railroad had dispatched mechanics and safety experts to the scene to investigate what happened.
Burns said the company's investigators planned to head to Toledo on Wednesday for a thorough inquiry. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are investigating.
Initial reports said the engineer apparently had a heart attack while in the locomotive and that he was aboard.
"There is no one on the train," said Kenton Police Detective Dennis Alexander after CSX worker Jon Hosfeld had climbed aboard and stopped the train.
Alexander said CSX slowed the runaway by latching a second engine to the end of the train. The second engine applied its brakes, slowing the first enough for Hosfeld to make the climb just Southeast of Kenton, about 55 miles northwest of Columbus. " That's how the train slowed down," Alexander said.
In a daring maneuver, Hosfeld, a 31-year CSX veteran who was waiting at a railroad crossing, jumped aboard the train, entered the locomotive and pulled its brake. The train was traveling about 10 mph when Hosfeld hopped aboard.
"We're just all happy that it ended without any injuries. That's always the number one issue for us: Safety first," said Corry Schiermeyer with the Federal Railroad Administration.
"Everything went smooth," said a spokeswoman for the Kenton Police Department said.
The CSX train averaged about 30-35 mph with no one at its helm for more than two hours. At one point, it was traveling at 47 mph.
The state highway patrol assisted in evacuating the area around any railroad crossings to make sure no one got in the way.
The train passed through three counties with officials unable to reach anyone aboard.
"They tried to stop it in Wood County, but it didn't work," said Kathy Palmerton with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department.
Palmerton said the train was pulling "flammable, combustible materials" and that it was headed south.
The CSX official said 25 cars were empty and 22 cars were loaded with material, including the two containing the hazardous materials.
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CSX 8888 incident
Runaway train event
The CSX 8888 incident, also known as the Crazy Eights incident, was a runaway train event involving a CSX Transportation freight train in the U.S. state of Ohio on May 15, 2001. Locomotive #8888, an EMD SD40-2, was pulling a train of 47 cars including some loaded with hazardous chemicals and ran uncontrolled for just under two hours at up to 51 miles per hour (82 km/h). It was finally halted by a railroad crew in a second locomotive, which caught the runaway and coupled to the rear car.
As of 2021, the locomotive is still in service, having been rebuilt and upgraded into a SD40-3 as part of a refurbishment program carried out by CSX, although its number is now #4389. It was delivered as Conrail #6410 in September 1977.
On May 15, 2001, a CSX locomotive engineer was using Locomotive #8888 to move a string of freight cars from track K12 to track D10 for departure on another train at Stanley Yard in Walbridge, Ohio, CSX's primary classification yard for Toledo. The string consisted of 47 freight cars; 25 of them were empty, but 22 of them were fully loaded, including two tank cars containing thousands of gallons of molten phenol, a toxic ingredient used in paints, glues, and dyes that is harmful when inhaled, ingested, or coming into contact with the skin.
The engineer noticed a misaligned switch and concluded that his train, although moving slowly, would not be able to stop short of it. He decided to climb down from the train, correctly align the switch, and reboard the locomotive.
Before leaving the cab, the engineer applied the locomotive's independent air brake. During mainline operation, he would also have applied the automatic air brake, which would set the brakes in each of the train's cars. But, as is normal for intra-yard movements, the air brakes of the train were disconnected from the locomotive and thus were not functional. Furthermore, applying the locomotive's brakes disabled the train's dead man's switch, which would otherwise have applied the train brakes and cut the engine power.
The engineer also attempted to apply the locomotive's dynamic brake to slow the train to a crawl; dynamic brakes dissipate momentum (kinetic energy) by using the momentum of the train to drive the traction motors, generating electricity exactly like a regenerative braking system does in a hybrid/electric automobile, which slows the train. However, the engineer "inadvertently failed to complete the selection process", meaning that the train's engine was set to accelerate, not to brake. He then set the throttle for the traction motors at notch 8. If the dynamic brakes had been engaged as intended, this throttle setting would have used the motors against the momentum of the train, causing it to slow down. Instead, the train began to accelerate. Therefore, the only functioning brake was the air brake on the locomotive, and this was not enough to counteract its engine power.
The engineer climbed down from the cab, aligned the switch, and then attempted to reboard the accelerating locomotive. However he was unable to do so and was dragged about 80 feet (24 m), receiving minor cuts and abrasions. The train rolled out of the yard and began a 65-mile (105 km) journey south through northwest Ohio unmanned. Attempts to derail the train using a portable derailer failed; the portable derailer was thrown clear of the track due to the force of the train when it ran over it. Police had tried to engage the red fuel cutoff button by shooting at it; after having three shots mistakenly hit the larger red fuel cap, this ultimately had no effect because the button on former Conrail SD40-2s like CSX 8888 must be pressed for several seconds before the switch would activate and the engine would be starved of fuel and shut down. A northbound freight train, Q636-15, was directed onto a siding where the crew uncoupled its locomotive, CSX #8392 (another EMD SD40-2), and waited for the runaway train to pass. #8392 had a crew of two: Jesse Knowlton, an engineer with 31 years of service; and Terry L. Forson, a conductor with one year's experience. Together they chased the runaway train. An EMD GP40-2, CSX locomotive #6008, was prepared farther down the line to couple to the front of the runaway to slow it further, if necessary.
Knowlton and Forson successfully coupled onto the rear car and slowed the train by applying the dynamic brakes on the chase locomotive. Once the runaway had slowed to 11 miles per hour (18 km/h), CSX trainmaster Jon Hosfeld ran alongside the train, climbed aboard, and shut down the engine. The train was stopped just southeast of Kenton, Ohio before reaching #6008. All the brake shoes on #8888 had been destroyed by the heat from being applied throughout the runaway trip.
CSX never made public the name of the 35-year veteran engineer whose error caused the runaway, nor what disciplinary action was taken.
Several railway museums tried to buy #8888, but CSX officials replied that they did not feel the locomotive was worthy of preservation and that it would be rebuilt as part of the SD40-3 rebuild program in late 2014 and early 2015. The locomotive now operates as CSX SD40-3 #4389.
The incident inspired the 2010 movie Unstoppable.
- ^ abcdKohlin, Ron. "CSX 8888 Runaway Investigation". Kohlin. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
- ^ ab"Station: Stanley Yard, Ohio". Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum. Archived from the original on 2015-11-01. Retrieved December 17, 2015.
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- ^ abLambert, Jason (2016-06-01). "Canadian Railway Observations: South of the Border". canadianrailwayobservations.com. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
- ^ abKohlin, Ron. "CSX 8888 - Play by Play". Kohlin. Retrieved 2021-08-04.
- ^"CSX #8888: The Real Story of "Unstoppable"". Rare Mileage. November 12, 2010. Archived from the original on 22 Jun 2019. Retrieved 2021-08-07.
- ^"Train Movies - Unstoppable". TrainBoard.com. Retrieved 2021-08-07.
- ^Worden, Amy (November 12, 2010). "Pennsylvania man lived the drama that inspired 'Unstoppable'". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 16 Jun 2013.
- ^Feehan, Jennifer; Lecker, Kelly (16 May 2001). "Disaster avoided during hours of panic, 66 miles of terror". The Blade. Archived from the original on 4 Aug 2021. Retrieved 2021-08-04.
- ^ abPatch, David (November 12, 2010). "Hollywood widens truth gauge in runaway train flick". Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
- ^"Human error blamed for runaway train". CNN. May 16, 2001. Archived from the original on 5 Oct 2010.