Archive for August, 2009

‘Christmas Carol’ Train to Roll into Cleveland

August 31, 2009

A special Amtrak train touring the country to promote the Walt Disney Studios film A Christmas Carol will be on display in downtown Cleveland on September 16 and 17.

The tour, which began in Los Angeles on May 22 and is scheduled to end on November 1 in New York, will cover more than 16,000 miles and make 40 stops. Cleveland will be its 28th destination. The train will arrive in Cleveland after a September 11-13 visit to Louisville, Kentucky, and depart for Albany, New York, after its Cleveland run has ended.

There is no admission charge to tour the train. The boarding site will be a parking lot of Cleveland Browns Stadium at 1085 West Third Street. The train will be open between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on both days.

The train will contain numerous interactive displays, a sneak preview of the movie, which opens in theatres on November 6 and is based on the classic Charles Dickens story. Disney has billed the train as a rolling Disneyland exhibit. The film, which stars Jim Carrey playing Ebeneezer Scrooge and all three of the Christmas ghosts, was filmed in 3-D.

Director Robert Zemeckis used updated versions of the performance-capture technology that he employed in the 2004 film The Polar Express. “What brings a smile to me is that it harks back to the earliest promotional idea, now new again,” Zemeckis told USA Today. “When the circus would come to town, the train would park, and they’d have the circus parade through town and then set up the tents. This is the 21st-century version of that. You get to see all these wonders, it’s free, and then you hope they show up later.”

The exhibits will includ the following, according to USA Today:

  • A digital gallery of the film’s characters and their design evolution. Each portrait will digitally change and show how they were created.
  • Artifacts from the Charles Dickens Museum in London, including a first edition of the original novel and some of the author’s personal writing paraphernalia.
  • A display of performance-capture technology, in which the real actors’ movements and expressions are recorded and digitized, then used for animated renderings.
  • Interactive games, including a face-morphing photo booth that will blend the visitor’s visage with Scrooge’s.

The Christmas Carol train’s equipment includes an Amtrak P42DC locomotive painted in a special livery to promote the film, four streamliner-era passenger cars that reportedly were used by the Artrain before it began switching to trucks to transport its mobile exhibits, and a private car.

For more information contact the train’s Web site at: www.christmascaroltraintour.com

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Jacobs Photo Published in September Railpace

August 31, 2009

A photograph of Viscose Company steam locomotive No. 6 taken by Akron Railroad Club member Richard Jacobs has been published in the September 2009 issue of Railpace magazine.  Jacobs photographed the tank engine as it pulled a passenger train on July 11 during an appearance on the Ashtabula, Carson & Jefferson Railroad.

No. 6 pulled several public excursions as part of the railroad’s 25th anniversary celebration. The photograph appears on Page 41 in the “Lake Shore News” feature of the magazine.