Came across this in the Art Of Disney store at Downtown Disney. It reminded me not just of the Disney World Railroad, but of The Great Locomotive Chase (1956), Disney’s “remake” of The General (1926) — both pictures are based on the same event from the Civil War, Andrews’ Raid.
Walt being such a train nut, or “railhead,” this picture must’ve been near and dear to his heart. He gave it a great cast that includes Fess Parker, Jeffrey Hunter and Kenneth Tobey — and filmed it in Georgia and North Carolina in Technicolor and CinemaScope. It was directed by Francis D. Lyon, whose 50s Westerns include Gunsight Ridge (1957), The Oklahoman (1957) and Escort West (1958)
Released in June 1956, The Great Locomotive Chase was not a success, which is a shame, since it’s got some good performances and some really great train footage. However, another Jeffrey Hunter picture from the same year, The Searchers, did quite well.