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HISTORY

This film was made as a series of eight “of the most sensational railroad melodramas ever produced,” according to a full-page Anchor Film Distributors, Inc. advertisement in the 25 Jul 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review. The other titles were Webs of Steel (1925, see entry), Perils of the Rail, The Open Switch, Mistaken Orders, The Lost Express, The Fast Freight, and Crossed Signals (originally called The Mainline Wreck) (all 1926, see entries). All were State Rights films starring Helen Holmes and directed by her husband J. P. McGowan.
       The 11 Jul 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review reported that Perils of the Rail and Webs of Steel were completed, and that “filming of a third [ The Train Wreckers is well under way.”
       According to the 13 Feb 1926 Motion Picture News, four of the eight films were ready for release, and “a fifth is going into production.” The films were being produced at California Studios in Hollywood, CA.
       These States Rights films were program fillers for double-bill houses. An 11 May 1927 Variety review for another J. P. McGowan film, without Helen Holmes, titled Red Signals, summed up what these movies were all about. “Railroad picture, no different from any of the innumerable others. Usual train wreckers, actual wrecks, scheming foremen and weakling district boss, honest old engineer, charming daughter and newly appointed superintendent.”
       A theater manager in the small working-class town of Piqua, OH, sent the 7 Nov 1925 Moving Picture World the following informal review: “One ... More Less

This film was made as a series of eight “of the most sensational railroad melodramas ever produced,” according to a full-page Anchor Film Distributors, Inc. advertisement in the 25 Jul 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review. The other titles were Webs of Steel (1925, see entry), Perils of the Rail, The Open Switch, Mistaken Orders, The Lost Express, The Fast Freight, and Crossed Signals (originally called The Mainline Wreck) (all 1926, see entries). All were State Rights films starring Helen Holmes and directed by her husband J. P. McGowan.
       The 11 Jul 1925 Exhibitors Trade Review reported that Perils of the Rail and Webs of Steel were completed, and that “filming of a third [ The Train Wreckers is well under way.”
       According to the 13 Feb 1926 Motion Picture News, four of the eight films were ready for release, and “a fifth is going into production.” The films were being produced at California Studios in Hollywood, CA.
       These States Rights films were program fillers for double-bill houses. An 11 May 1927 Variety review for another J. P. McGowan film, without Helen Holmes, titled Red Signals, summed up what these movies were all about. “Railroad picture, no different from any of the innumerable others. Usual train wreckers, actual wrecks, scheming foremen and weakling district boss, honest old engineer, charming daughter and newly appointed superintendent.”
       A theater manager in the small working-class town of Piqua, OH, sent the 7 Nov 1925 Moving Picture World the following informal review: “One of [Helen's] old time railroad stories and was good for that kind. Had lots of action in it and plenty of railroad trains. Tone and appeal good. Sunday, yes. Special, no.” More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Albany (NY) Evening News
8 Feb 1927
p. 10.
Exhibitors Trade Review
11 Jul 1925
p. 17.
Exhibitors Trade Review
25 Jul 1925
p. 4.
Index-Journal (Greenwood, SC)
24 Jan 1926
p. 9.
Lebanon (PA) Daily News
13 Sep 1926
p. 7.
Motion Picture News
13 Feb 1926
p. 789.
Moving Picture World
7 Nov 1925
p. 57.
Variety
11 May 1927
p. 20.
Zaneville (OH) Signal
1 Feb 1926
p. 11.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Mainline Wreck
Release Date:
1926
Premiere Information:
New York State license: 1 December 1925
Greenwood, SC opening: 25 January 1926
Production Date:
began May or June 1925
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

When railway owner Kingsley puts his daughter Helen in charge of a section of his line, she discovers that the previous manager had been a pawn of Roberts, Kingsley’s general manager. Unknown to Kingsley, Roberts has been using the line to advance the interests of his own fruit packing company over that of a smaller competitor, Jack Stewart. Helen and Jack soon join forces against Roberts. In a fight between Roberts' and Jack's men, Jack's side gains the upper hand, until one of Roberts' men throws a block of ice at Jack that knocks him down and sends the freight car on which he is standing careening down the track. Helen saves Jack and the freight by chasing it down on another car, lassoing the freight and stopping it before it crashes. In a later confrontation, Helen is able to jump free before a terrible crash occurs between a trolley and the freight that Roberts is manning. ... +


When railway owner Kingsley puts his daughter Helen in charge of a section of his line, she discovers that the previous manager had been a pawn of Roberts, Kingsley’s general manager. Unknown to Kingsley, Roberts has been using the line to advance the interests of his own fruit packing company over that of a smaller competitor, Jack Stewart. Helen and Jack soon join forces against Roberts. In a fight between Roberts' and Jack's men, Jack's side gains the upper hand, until one of Roberts' men throws a block of ice at Jack that knocks him down and sends the freight car on which he is standing careening down the track. Helen saves Jack and the freight by chasing it down on another car, lassoing the freight and stopping it before it crashes. In a later confrontation, Helen is able to jump free before a terrible crash occurs between a trolley and the freight that Roberts is manning. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.