Steam engineers wanted for film documentary

Producers of an upcoming documentary, which will record the experiences of veteran locomotive engineers around the country during the last 50 years, have renewed their call for input from BLE members who worked on both steam and diesel locomotives during their railroad careers.

Information regarding the film was first published in the July 2001 issue of the Locomotive Engineer Newsletter. Doug Kirkpatrick of Streamliner Productions in New York is producing the documentary. He reports that he has received dozens of e-mail messages from retired locomotive engineers interested in participating in the project.

"Dozens of retired engineers have told me about growing up in 'railroad engineer' families, gritty labor-management disputes, narrowly-avoided disasters, communities changing around the tracks over time, colleagues they worked with - and a life they miss deeply," Kirkpatrick said. "One fellow wrote, 'I loved every minute of it and even today miss it very much, wish I was out there right now. I'm 72 years old.'

"Their e-mails are so soulful and poignant, one can almost hear their voices reading them aloud. What they've written is just a glimpse of a very moving retrospective about a career and about life in America."

Kirkpatrick began work on the film in 1998 when his production photographer recorded the last day of service of Delaware & Hudson veteran Bernie O'Brien. Known as something of a legend in northeast U.S. railroad circles, O'Brien was finishing up 50 years of continuous service on the D&H. His recollections inspired Kirkpatrick to begin a series of interviews with retired engineers around the country.

Production is slated to begin in early 2002. BLE members who began their careers on steam locomotives and who are interested in sharing their recollections of life on the road throughout their careers are encouraged to send their contact information via email to Doug Kirkpatrick at: <stream@bellatlantic.net>.

A brief outline of the documentary is available online at the following:
 
<http://www.streamlinervideo.com/pages/PP_LastRailroaders.html>.
 
Members without Internet access are encouraged to write Kirkpatrick at:
Streamliner Productions
512 Seventh Ave., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10018

 

 

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers