Disaster on the Coastliner (1979)

TV Movie  |   |  Action, Drama  |  29 October 1979 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 337 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 1 critic

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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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
Harry Caesar ...
Northbound Conductor
Jacque Lynn Colton ...
Mrs. Shanks
John Carlson
Sandy McPeak ...
Virginia Kiser
Rockne Tarkington


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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The trains are supposed to be owned by a fictional railroad. However, the name "Amtrak" is visible on all the trains. See more »


Referenced in The Captains (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

Very 70's TV Disaster Film
15 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Fun stuff for it's time. An ABC Sunday Night Movie, made by Shatner largely after he completed principal photography on STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE, in 1978. I happened to be on an Amtrak train in 1979,going to a "Star Trek" Convention. The conductor explained to me that that very route-Rhode Island/Connecticut to NYC, was actually the very route and train(Amtrak) on which much of the film was shot, including several stunt sequences involving a small bridge. Many "out the window" reaction shots and some of the interaction was filmed with Connecticut whizzing by the windows. The crew apparently rented out three of the cars to do some quick filming on, however the conductor had access to all of them, so he got to meet the cast used in the sequences.

Of course it was an "all star film" like many of the time. And miniatures were used in the film as well.

An interesting anecdote.

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Couple of goofs/inconsistencies /plot holes in this movie. gnt-driver
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