Recreated Illinois Central passenger train to be featured in TV series

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A train assembled for filming of an ABC-TV series will be operating on Mississippi's Grenada Railroad.
Will Adams
The train, for use in the series "Women of the Movement," recreates a 1950s-era Illinois Central passenger train.
Will Adams

WINONA, Miss. — Production crews from Kapital Entertainment of Los Angeles are working this week in north Mississippi to recreate an Illinois Central passenger train that will play a key role in “Women of the Movement,” an ABC-TV series expected to air later this year. The circa-1950 passenger train consists of three pieces of former Iowa Pacific Holdings equipment — an E9A passenger locomotive and two cars — and two cars from northern Ohio rail preservation groups.

The locomotive and cars were brought together Friday morning at an industrial park spur near Winona, Miss. According to local officials, the equipment will represent Illinois Central Railroad passenger trains which carried 14-year-old Emmitt Till from his suburban Chicago home to visit relatives in Money, Miss., where he was murdered, and another which Till’s casket from Mississippi back to Chicago.

Traveling on Thursday afternoon and evening from Batesville, Miss., to Winona with San Luis & Rio Grande E9A No. 515 were coach No. 133, Chambersburg Inn, and round-end observation car No. 3320, Paducah. All are painted in Iowa Pacific’s Illinois Centra;-inspired brown-and-orange paint scheme.    

Two cars from the Cleveland area complete the train: a 90-foot baggage car, equipped with a vestibule on one end, from Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, and a coach from the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

Local law enforcement officials say the train will operate on the Grenada Railroad later this month, and that filming will include use of the railroad’s Durant and Grenada depots. Local media and the entertainment industry trade press report filming will occur at locations in Memphis, Tenn., and in rural northern Mississippi and Tennessee communities.

The program’s six episodes will tell the story of young Till’s death, then focus on his mother, Mamie Till Mobley. Her heroic actions after his murder that are credited with helping start the modern Civil Rights movement, including Rosa Park’s famous refusal to give up a seat on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus.

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