Continuity mistake: After Manny's fingers get crunched between the cars, blood sprays on his face. In the next couple of scenes there is hardly any there. Also, when the prison warden get sprayed with the fire extinquisher he is cleaned up in the following shots.
Character mistake: When the front door of the old F-unit is refusing to open the guys put their shoulder to it. The door they are trying to bash outward actually swings into the area where they are standing. If they really wanted to go out that door they should have unlatched it and pulled.
Factual error: The train consists of four locomotives, but close ups beaneath the train show the wheels of freight cars.
Continuity mistake: When you first see the freight train that eventually would get its caboose smashed, the locomotive is a big one with lots of snow on the front. In all the other shots of this train, it`s a smaller locomotive, and it has no snow on the front.
Continuity mistake: Almost at the end of the movie, Warden Ranken is trying to board the train hanging from a ladder of a helicopter, and Manny is yelling to him through the right windshield of the second locomotive, the old F7 streamliner. If you look closely when the camera shoots from the inside of the loco and forward through the windshield, you will see that the first engine is gone. (01:34:00)
Continuity mistake: Before and while the train crosses the bridge, the words "Alaska Railroad" at the top of the tunnel portal at the start of the bridge appear and disappear between shots.
Continuity mistake: When the guard lets Buck in the gate to get on the elevator, he is holding the keys in his right hand. As Buck is giving the guard the shoes, the keys are in his left hand.
Deliberate mistake: The entire plot wouldn't exist without this one, but just before the engineer stumbles out the door and falls off, he pulls the big red lever on the left side of the cab. In the real world this puts the air brake system into its emergency mode. Among other things, this mode trips a solenoid which causes the engine to return to idle, and the electrical system to not put out power. Neither the Diesel engine nor the electrical system will respond to control inputs until/unless the air system is reset.
Factual error: When Buck and Manny fall down from the sewer exit into the water, they should be dead or seriously injured as the water is covered with large rocks and is shallow.
Continuity mistake: After the accident with the caboose, we see some inside shots of the first locomotive showing lots of debris from the caboose having penetrated the windshield. But in the outside shots, you can see that there are lots of debris on the front of it, but the windshield is intact.
Factual error: The connecting cables between the locomotives are obvious movie props. The real ones don't plug into each other - they plug into sockets on the locomotives because it is dangerous to have the connections hanging down where this film shows them.
Continuity mistake: After colliding with the tail end of the freight train, Manny looks forward along the right side of the runaway train and announces that all the hand rails are gone (torn off in the collision), yet for the rest of the film, all the hand rails on the right side of the locomotives are present and undamaged. The left side of the train (the side that has much more contact with the freight train in the collision) is never seen again in the film, presumably to suggest that is the side that lost its railings, which explains the twisted railing debris between the locomotives seen when the characters are moving between them (along the right sides). (00:48:00)
Continuity mistake: When Manny first sees the train they're going to board, they walk a short distance alongside the train as it's moving. Pay attention, and you will see that the second locomotive, the F7, is missing. The first locomotive is now coupled to the third locomotive, even though the F7 was there in the shot before and is back in the next shot.
Factual error: A locomotive on a single track finds itself on a collision course with an oncoming freight train. The dispatcher manages to contact the engineer of the freight train and to throw a switch diverting the freight onto a siding. All the freight train is accommodated on the siding by the time the locomotive arrives, so the locomotive clears the freight train, but it passes over the switch without being derailed, even though the switch has been set to favor the freight train - and the siding.
Continuity mistake: When Warden Ranken first goes to see Manny in his cell, he is walking down a prison corridor with prison cells on the left side of the camera and the prison wall on the other side. And when he is coming back from Manny's cell, he is coming down the same corridor. The problem is only that he is going the same direction as he was when he was going TO Manny's cell.
Continuity mistake: Towards the end of the film, in the control room, as the guys are arguing about what to do, the man sitting at the computer terminal is wearing a sweater over his shirt and a black watch. The older man says something, then goes over to the terminal, but now the guy's sweater is off and his watch is in front of him on the desk.
Factual error: During the collision with the freight train, a long shot shows the right side of the runaway passing as debris rains down on and around it. As the third locomotive passes, a 'truck' (the 4-wheel carriage that the freight cars ride on) bounces off the top, then bounces off the cab of the fourth locomotive. And never causes any damage to either locomotive! The first hit should have mangled, even torn off some of the bodywork covering the engine of the 3rd loco, and the second hit should have torn open the cab of the 4th. It hits that cab exactly where Manny is sitting, so he would have been killed. Of course, this footage is of scale models, so they didn't sustain damage the way the real locos would have. (00:48:15)
Continuity mistake: During the freight train scene, the runaway passes the same set of gondola cars twice.