This powerful documentary film by Directors Kevin EuDaly and C.J. Johnson covers events surrounding the end of passenger train service on BC Rail in remote British Columbia in western Canada. Enshrouded in political controversy, the train's pending demise on the last day of October, 2002, set off a furor in rural British Columbia.
When several BC Rail passenger employees choose retirement during the last week of service, the cameras witness first-hand the final run of Engineer Brad Cunningham and Conductor Tom Bruvall amid celebrations and roses. The final run for the train itself two days later is beset with delays as demonstrators representing the tourism industry blockade the train at Williams Lake. Further drama ensues as the Seton Lake Indian Band also protests with an after dark blockade at Seton Portage, trying to make their voice heard by a government that seems to have turned a deaf ear to the folks in the rural countryside.
Through BC Rail employees, witnesses, and townspeople along the line, Twilight on the Rails is a fascinating look at the tragedy associated with the end of an era. This story involves real everyday people like Gladys Stock, the Passenger Service agent at Lillooet. She, with her husband Lloyd, fight for their train and mourn the loss of their town's connection to the outside world. This is a story you won't ever forget.
The film was test-screened at Macon Cinema in Macon, Missouri before an audience of about 100 on October 18, 2003, with questionnaire results tallied to evaluate the effectiveness of the production and to identify any changes that needed to be made. Over 41 percent of the audience rated it as The best documentary I've seen, while 81 percent rated overall quality as Excellent. The film was then edited into its final form, which appears on the DVD.
White River Productions, 83 minutes, color, sound.