Unstoppable (2010) Poster



The two maps of the rail line shown on the news are of real Pennsylvania counties: The First map has Union and Snyder on the left, and Northumberland, Montour and Columbia in the center and Lycoming on top as well as Schuylkill on the bottom. The Second map has Cameron on the top left, Clinton in the center, Centre on the bottom and Lycoming on the right.
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Coincidentally, Rosario Dawson is a real-life train aficionado, who travels on trains all over the world, wherever possible.
The film is inspired by the "Crazy Eights" unmanned train incident in 2001. The train, led by CSX Transportation SD40-2 #8888, left its Walbridge, Ohio rail yard and began a 66 mile journey through northwest Ohio with no one at the controls, after the engineer got out of the originally slow-moving train to correctly line a switch, mistakenly believing he had properly set the train's dynamic braking system, just as his counterpart in the movie did. Two of the real train's tank cars also contained thousands of gallons of molten phenol, similar to the fictional train in the film.
This was Tony Scott's final film before his death on August 19, 2012.
According to the extras on the DVD, the runaway train was actually being run by a remote control, similar to a toy radio-controlled car.
A self-confessed acrophobic, Denzel Washington reluctantly performed the stunts where actually he runs along the top of the speeding train. What made the stunt even more hazardous was the fact that the train was empty, thus causing the individual cars to rock more violently. Even though Washington was "wired" as a safety precaution, the leaps from car to car presented a potentially hazardous sequence (interview: Breakfast: Episode dated 26 November 2010 (2010).
Real life train engineer Jess Knowlton served as a technical advisor to Denzel Washington. Knowlton's daughters actually work at Hooters, which is how Washington's Frank Barnes character's daughters wound up being similarly employed.
Jess Knowlton served as a technical advisor to this film. He was the engineer who chased after CSX 8888 in the real incident, eventually coupling up and slowing that train enough for someone to climb aboard and stop it.
Animal noises were used to make the 777 train sound more menacing.
Denzel Washington recommended Chris Pine to Tony Scott for the role of Will Colson.
The "Stanton Curve" featured in the film is an actual rail line in Bellaire, Ohio. The line runs on a historic stone viaduct after crossing the Ohio River from West Virginia. However, the extremely dangerously-placed oil/chemical storage tanks beside the curved track do not exist, and have been added in by CGI to increase the sense of danger.
Although it was sometimes hard to tell during the storm scene, Chris Pine performed all of his own stunts. Denzel Washington had seven stuntmen, one for each day of live shots on running trains. In addition to insurance concerns, according to Tony Scott, "D's got a fear of heights, and I had him up at 25 feet on a fifty mile per hour train, which was no easy task." When you do see Washington up on top of a tanker car, that's really him, though, not CGI.
Tony Scott used real newscasters as much as possible as the television reporters.
The attempted train derailment was filmed in a single take.
The only siding long enough to allow 1206 to dodge the oncoming runaway is a "rip track". A rip track is a siding on which equipment can be parked for maintenance/repairs that don't require it to be taken to the shops. "Rip" is an acronym for "Repair In Place".
This was Tony Scott & Denzel Washington fifth & last film collaboration together (due to Scott's untimely death) as director & actor respectively. Their other film collaborations were Crimson Tide (1995), Man on Fire (2004), Deja Vu (2006), & The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009).
Ryan Ahern, who plays Ryan Scott, is a real-life army soldier who served in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq.
Coincidentally, a train used in filming accidentally derailed in Bridgeport, Ohio on November 21, 2009 while being shot for the production. No one was injured in the incident, but production was halted for the remainder of the day.
Tony Scott initially wanted to set the film in Montana, but ultimately decided against this, because he thought the wide-open plains didn't convey a strong enough sense of danger.
The moving train connection sequence between the grain car and the train engine took three days to film.
The number boards above the cabs for locomotives 777 and 767 were not originally there prior to the movie. They were added to give the locomotives a more menacing appearance.
Twentieth Century Fox executives asked Denzel Washington to shave four million dollars from his standard fee of twenty million dollars. (They also asked Tony Scott to cut three million dollars from his usual nine million dollar fee.) Citing frustration with the lack of a start date, Washington withdrew from the film. Fox then came up with an as yet undisclosed enticement package, purportedly including a revised script, to bring Washington back on board two weeks later.
There are three occasions where it seems a line has been either cut or overdubbed. Both Galvin and Will both say "Goddamn", but the word is either cut totally, like in Will's case, or the word God has been cut, like in Galvin's case. However, there is the case of Ned. When Ned says "You guys are always screwing up.", The words "Screwing up.." seem to replace Ned saying "You guys are always 'fucking up'. These lines may have been cut/re-edited to help the movie have a PG-13 rating, instead of an R rating.
Aside from the references to Pittsburgh in the movie, most of the small towns (and even larger ones, including Stanton) are not real locations in Pennsylvania, with three exceptions. Most of the speeding train in the countryside scenes were shot in Port Matilda and Julian, Pennsylvania. During several shots of the train track route maps, you can clearly see Julian and Port Matilda (in their actual locations) nestled between all fictitious towns. Also shown is Keating Summit, and the real town was used for shooting. This was done presumably as a tip of the hat to the local communities.
Denzel Washington recommended to Tony Scott that he read the script for this film.
All the control room scenes were shot during the last two weeks of production.
There was an incident in Bangladesh which replicated the plot of this movie. In April 12, 2015, the same incident happened with a train named "Faridpur Express". The driver got off the train to have a cup of tea, leaving the engine running.The engine accidentally shifted to auto gear. It ran 26 kilometers backwards before ticket examiner stopped the train by releasing the pipe of the vacuum brake.
This movie was in development for a long time, starting in 2004, with filming not beginning until August 31, 2009. At various points, Robert Schwentke and Martin Campbell were attached to direct.
The scene where the train hits the horse box, you can see an animal running across the track before impact
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Tony Scott talked to railroad workers in order to research the main characters.
The locomotives used in the movie were leased General Electric AC4400CWs from Canadian Pacific (four units) and EMD SD40-2s from the Wheeling and Lake Erie dressed up as the fictional Allegheny West Virginia Railroad.
In Tony Scott's penultimate film The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009), the climax of that film also involved a runaway train that foreshadows the plot of this film.
777's right ditch light had been destroyed in the impact with the horse trailer, but it's left ditch light is shown to have suffered the impact instead. This might be a glitch or possibly a filming mistake.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Dynamic brakes work by switching the traction motors that drive the axles to act as generators. The current produced is dissipated as heat in a resistor grid located atop the locomotive. When Will attempts to brake the train coming into Stanton, the traction motors overheat and burn out - this is the flashes of fire under the train. The "independent" brake is the locomotive's own air brake, which still functions (by clamping against the wheel treads) after the dynamic brake is burnt out.

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