18 user 3 critic

Disaster on the Coastliner (1979)

TV-PG | | Action, Drama | TV Movie 29 October 1979
A vengeful employee of a computer-controlled railway arranges a head-on collision of passenger trains. Can it be stopped?


Richard C. Sarafian (as Richard Sarafian)


David Ambrose

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lloyd Bridges ... Al Mitchell
Raymond Burr ... Estes Hill
Robert Fuller ... Matt Leigh
Pat Hingle ... John Marsh
E.G. Marshall ... Roy Snyder
Yvette Mimieux ... Paula Harvey
William Shatner ... Stuart Peters
Paul L. Smith ... Jim Waterman / Victor Prescott
Arthur Malet ... Southbound Conductor
Harry Caesar ... Northbound Conductor
Jacque Lynn Colton Jacque Lynn Colton ... Mrs. Shanks
Lane Smith ... John Carlson
Sandy McPeak ... Hennessey
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


A race against time to avert disaster on the Coastliner.


Action | Drama


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

29 October 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Weiche steht auf Tod See more »

Filming Locations:

East Lyme, Connecticut, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Raymond Burr and E.G. Marshall appeared on Ironside (1967). See more »


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

The Brake Application???
23 December 2005 | by murdoch11See all my reviews

Yeah, the air hoses had busted open when the engine uncoupled from the cars, so the train line brakes were useless. However, the hijacker didn't know enough to reach for the smaller engine brake handle above the train line brake? That would have stopped the engine; as well as the emergency fuel kill switch on the rear panel which is clearly visible numerous times. Should have done his homework before hijacking a train. Also, If you take a train traveling at 120 mile per hour, and send it sailing over a newly-welded, 30 yard crossover, guess what...it's not going to make it! Regardless, the movie was enjoyable -good story, good acting, and good use of trains! Oh, and who are they fooling with "Trans Allied?" It was Amtrak!

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