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FAQ Contents

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Unstoppable can be found here.

The story spans two Allegheny and West Virginia Railroad (AWVR) train yards, one in the Fuller yard in northern Pennsylvania, the other in the southern Pennsylvania town of Stanton. In the Fuller yard, train 777 (Triple 7) has to be moved off the track so that an excursion train can get through. However, Triple 7, which is carrying a cargo of 30,000 gallons of molten phenol, a toxic chemical, gets loose and heads down the track with no one at the controls. Meanwhile, in the Stanton yard, veteran engineer Frank Barnes (Denzel Washington) and newbie conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine), riding in 1206, try to stop the runaway train.

Unstoppable was inspired by the real-life CSX_8888 incident in which a runaway train traveled 66 miles of track through northwest Ohio with no one at the controls. The screenplay for Unstoppable was written by American screenwriter Mark Bomback.

While attempting to quickly move the 39-car, half-mile long Triple 7 off its current track in order to allow passage for the excursion train, hostler Dewey (Ethan Suplee) saves some time by leaving the hose for the airbrakes unconnected, thinking it to be unnecessary for such a short trip. Noting a misaligned rail switch along the way, Dewey hops off the train to throw the switch. Unfortunately, the train's throttle jumps to full power, and he is unable to hop back onto the train, which is beginning to pick up speed as it leaves the train yard.

Will climbs out to the back of the engine in order to guide Frank's attempt to pair up the two trains, but the grain car on Triple 7 blows a leak preventing 1206 from making the link. They try again, but the pin doesn't fall. Will tries to couple the trains by hand but gets knocked down and has to climb his way back onto 1206, injuring his foot in the process. As the train approaches Stanton, Frank attempts to apply 1206's brakes, but the pull from Triple 7 simply drags it along with it. Will takes over the throttle while Frank attempts to manually brake the freight cars on 777. The train begins to slow...34...33...25...and then the brakes overheat on 1206, and the train begins to speed up again. Will hits the independent brake as the train comes into the Stanton curve, listing to one side and losing some of its cargo. Miraculously, the train makes it through the Stanton curve, but it continues to gain speed in excess of 75 mph, and it looks like it will have to be derailed, which would kill both Frank and Will. Frank continues to run along the top of the train, headed for 777's engine but he is stopped by a gap too wide to cross. Suddenly a red pickup pulls up beside 1206, and Ned Oldham (Lew Temple) signals for Will to hop in the back. Ned then speeds up in an attempt to synchronize with the speed of the train so that Frank can make the jump. When Frank fails to jump, Ned drives up parallel to the engine of 777, allowing Will to leap aboard and apply the brakes. Slowly, the train comes to complete stop. In the final scene, Frank, Will, and Ned are given heroes' welcomes as the following epilogue says: 'Frank Barnes was promoted...now happily retired...full benefits. Will Colson is happily married...to Darcy...second child on the way. Connie Hopper was promoted to VP of train operations...Oscar Galvin's old job. Ryan Scott is alive and well. Dewey is currently working in the fast food industry.

Those who have seen Unstoppable most often compare it to Runaway Train (1985) in which two escaped convicts and a railroad worker are trapped on a train with no brakes and no driver. A similar scenario can be seen in Runaway! (1974), except this time it's a group of skiers trapped in a runaway train on a winding, snow-covered mountain.


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