FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Kelly Lynch, the Vice President of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, has always loved trains – so much so, that he doesn’t consider being stopped at a crossing being stuck.
“It is always a blessing to be able to take a pause and take a moment,” he said. “I don’t mind the wait.”
Lynch neatly combined his love of trains and movie-making into a job with FMW Services, a railroad contractor and consultant company.
In that role, he has helped TV and documentary producers locate trains from the right era and bring them to the right filming location, since trains and stations look different in the old west, the 1920s or World War II.
“We have all the connections because it’s not like you can just go down to the hardware store and find a 1970s passenger train,” he said.
Which was the request from producers of “A Man Called Otto” starring Tom Hanks, which required a 1970s train for a pivotal flashback scene.
Lynch provided the producers with options of available trains and stations that would fit, choosing a locomotive from West Virginia, passenger cars from Cleveland and a baggage car from Fort Wayne to be filmed at a station in Toledo.
“Six or eight months of work is four minutes of screen time in the film,” he laughed. “But that’s how these projects are made.”
Lynch’s preparation paid off.
“You have 200 crew and actors standing around, it can be a little daunting. It’s a lot like a rocket launch. To hear the feedback from the production crew that all the train stuff was perfect. It’s very rewarding.”
Although filming was done months before the toxic derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, Lynch was well aware of the need to be safe.
“One of the reasons a job like mine exists is because railroads are very complex industries,” he explained. “You don’t want to be trespassing on railroad property or trying to steal shots or to be working with equipment that you’re not in control of.
“And safety is a major factor in the culture of railroading, as it is in filmmaking. There are so many ways that the film industry and the railroad industry are similar. We’re always finding ways to do things better, to do them more creatively, to do them more safely.
“It is a unique marriage when the two industries can come together for a project like that.”