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Disaster on the Coastliner (1979)

A vengeful employee of a computer-controlled railway arranges a head-on collision of passenger trains. Can it be stopped?


(as Richard Sarafian)



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From $4.99 (SD) on Amazon Video



Cast overview, first billed only:
Al Mitchell
Estes Hill
Matt Leigh
John Marsh
Roy Snyder
Paula Harvey
Stuart Peters
Jim Waterman / Victor Prescott
Southbound Conductor
Northbound Conductor
Jacque Lynn Colton ...
Mrs. Shanks
John Carlson


Victor Prescott, who's real name is Jim Waterman, modifies the computer controlling the railroad track (signals, switches, alarms) between San Francisco and Los Angeles in such a way that two trains are heading towards each other on the same track without anyone being able to prevent the disaster. He wants the railroad company to confess that there was criminal negligence involved in an accident some years before during which a derail caused several fatalities - including Waterman's wife and kids. Written by Alto Speckhardt <Alto.Speckhardt@student.uni-ulm.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama





Release Date:

29 October 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Weiche steht auf Tod  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


During the filming of the closeup shots of William Shatner on the outside of the train, the wind machine had to be turned down several times because it would constantly blow off his toupee. See more »


The hijacker sets up a 1978 Sharp Sidekick portable television to stay informed of media reports as he drives the train. The picture on the television's screen is shown in color but this model only produced a black and white picture. See more »


Referenced in The Captains (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Lloyd Bridges Doing His Airplane (1980) Role In 1979
10 September 2016 | by See all my reviews

Two trains are about to collide and Lloyd Bridges is in the control room trying to sort things out.

I am a 1970s disaster movie tragic, and I finally saw this long lost film on YouTube in 2012 or 2013. I think it has been taken down now. I remember being thrilled by the screening, but I never had the desire to see the film again (as I normally do with disaster movies).

The thing that lingers in the mind is the amusing Airplane-type character played by Lloyd Bridges. Shatner is funny as well.

Being a TV movie, don't expect any lavish special effects, just enjoy the ride and the funny quirks of the people in the film.

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