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Trains Operating Agencies In Movies TV Shows And Entertainment

  • How about all those 'spaghetti westerns,' filmed in Spain with wide-gauge trains unlike anything ever seen off the Iberian Peninsula?  (4-wheel wagons in the American West?)

    Never mind that the extras (or the wardrobe weenies) didn't have a clue about how to shape a Stetson...


  • Larry, about "Chattanooga Choo Choo." I am sure you (and everybody else who has been in Penn Station) noticed that the train was out in the open, and not underground.

    Another thing that got me was showing the train as it crossed into Tennessee--out in the country. Of course, had it gone through Asheville, it would have crossed thus. Had it gone the shorter way, it would have crossed in downtown Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee (a spot quite familiar to me).


  • tree68

    It's not just railroads.

    I had the opportunity to hear Randolph Mantooth (Johnny) of the show "Emergency" speak a few years ago.  Among the things he told us about the show was the reason that Roy always drove - seems he drove the day they were doing "stock shots," so after that he always had to drive to maintain continuity.

    The sounds of the sirens were, of course, dubbed in during post-production.  Occasionally the wrong siren would get used (the squad had an electronic siren, the engine had a "wind-up" (motor driven) siren.

    My personal favorite "Emergency!" continuity gaffe was a sequence where there was a fire (or rescue, I don't recall which) in a rail yard and the audio featured the clearly audible sounds of a Steam locomotive (the show was filmed in the early to mid 1970's and had a comtemporary setting)...

     Although I didn't catch this faux pas watching the show first run (when I was under 10 years old) It did strike me when I saw it in re-runs in the 1990's.

     At first I assumed that the production and sound effects staff where just not paying attention but now I choose to believe that the technician in charge of dubbing effects into the soundtrack was a railfan and chose to put his own homage to steam in the episode, a more romatic explanation...

    "I Often Dream of Trains"-From the Album of the Same Name by Robyn Hitchcock

  • I remember that series "Iron Horse"  with Dale Robertson.  Didn't like it, too much "cowboy and indian" stuff and WAY too little railroad action.  Must have been low-budget.

    I even remember (barely) the "Tales of Wells Fargo" series.  I've still got the train from the Marx playset.  Still runs too!

  • A few items of interest:
    1. In the book "Steam's Camelot" there is mention of N&W 611 being used for a Lee Jeans of England commercial. There is also mention of Southern 4501 doing a jeans commercial, as well as 4501's several movie and TV appearances, beginning with "Fools' Parade". Also noted was Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson 2839 having to subsitute for 4501 in "Coal Miner's Daughter."
    2. 4501 also appeared in "October Sky" with a cameo appearance by O. Winston Link. 611 of course starred in the NS film "Going Home" with both her and 1218 appearing in the NS film "Steam People" which mostly focused on 1218. I have read that 611 made another film appearance, but that is yet to be confirmed.
    3. As a final note, the whistle on a steam engine used in a episode of "F Troop" sounds a lot like a N&W hooter.
    the friend of 611
  • friend611
    As a final note, the whistle on a steam engine used in a episode of "F Troop" sounds a lot like a N&W hooter.

    Can't forget that the locomotive sounds in the movie "Polar Express" were recorded from Pere Marquette 1225.  Per a magazine article (Trains, I think), even the process of changing the bulb in the headlight is based on reality - SRI videoed a bulb being changed after the recording crew had left.  How it was pulled off in the movie - by the engine crew while in motion -  was hardly accurate, but the changing of the bulb it self is correct.

    Resident Microferroequinologist (at least at my house) 
    Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
    My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
    Come ride the rails with me!
    There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

  • A unique ad, from 1962 (per ): 

    The New York Central's 3rd-rail electrified suburban trains and I believe the wye at Spuyten Duyvil were background to the 1967 TV-movie "The Borgia Stick", starring Inger Stevens and Don Murray, among others: 

    From : "Shot in New York City, the film was one of the highest-rated events of the 1966–1967 season.[1] The film was the first-ever "made-for-TV" movie.[2]"  The surprise twist ending occurs along the tracks . . . Mischief

    - Paul North. 

    "This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
  • BroadwayPhil

    The opening credits of That Girl (Marlo Thomas) show train tracks as might be viewed from the front window of a moving M.U. car.

    That Girl's opening footage was shot from the back of a train on the tracks that parallel I-95 at the present location of Secaucus Junction, NJ. If the train was actually going forward, it would be on the wrong track, but more problematic is that if you look closely, all the vehicles on the nearby I-95 are all backing up very quickly. They simply ran the film backwards to get the illusion of going forward on the track. 

    Now this is the opening for That Girl, who moved from Brewster, NY, to Manhattan. I am still trying to figure out why that would involve a train in New Jersey moving away from Manhattan. The purist would have wanted to see footage of going down the tracks of MTA's Harlem line, towards the Big Apple.

  • Baltimore & Ohio's 4-4-0 no. 25 "William Mason" was used in The Great Locomotive Chase and Raintree County, among other films.  I'm pretty sure that's also the engine they used in Gods and Generals.  In Gods and Generals, she was supposed to represent an RF&P loco; but in the film, her tender lettering is V&T.  Considering the fact that the V&T was in Nevada and hadn't been built in 1863, that's not very plausible.  Yes, there was also a Virginia & Tennessee, but it was a couple hundred miles away and (I think) used a different gauge, so it's not likely that the RF&P had borrowed the engine.  Incidentally, the fake stock cars in the film also carried V&T lettering.  Wouldn't it have been easier to just slap some impermanent paint on the tender and add four characters: R F & P?

    Of course, that's not the worst problem with that film.


  • Yeah, I was wondering about that "V&T" marking on the locomotive in "Gods and Generals"  myself.  You're right, not the worst problem with that film.  Too short for a mini-series, WAY too long for a feature film, too much redundancy, (OK we know Stonewall's a devout Christian, you don't have to tell us over and over and over) , too much talk, not enough action, I could go on and on.  It was all downhill from that wonderful opening with Mary Pfahl singing "Going Home"  and those beautiful flags.

    Still, it had its moments.  Someone should have gotten more agressive with the editing.

  • You're being kind.  The editor (who was the same guy who did a pretty good job with the companion film, Gettysburg)  should have used a meat cleaver.  I think somebody else got involved and gave him bad advice.  Interesting that the closed captioning for the hearing impaired was very good on G&G, but it was laughably HORRIBLE on Gettysburg.  But I digress.


  • ACY, I agree with you on "Gettysburg", I enjoyed that one tremendously.  Well, I thought Martin Sheen was miscast as General Lee, but he was OK when you got used to him.  I just didn't think he was awesome enough in bearing to pull off the Lee character.  I didn't think his forced southern accent was all that good either.  I live in Virginia and know what Virginians should sound like, although it's debateable what they sounded like in the 1860's. 

    Now, Charlton Heston, who was still alive and in good health at the time, HE would have made an awesome Lee!

  • Not so sure about Heston.  Robert Duvall just about nailed it in G&G.  Too bad that movie had too many other flaws.  Agree Sheen (a fine actor in the right role, by the way) wasn't the best choice.  The accent was wrong, as  you say, but I also had a hard time looking at him and believing he was Lee.  Maybe he needed to stand on a box when he berated Jeb Stuart.  And maybe he should have sat on a telephone book when he was in the saddle.  Lower camera angles (looking up at him) would have helped.  Too bad G&G's poor showing at the box office ensured that the third film would not be made. 

    Back to other films:  A film made in France, The Red Shoes (late '40's or early '50's), featured quite a few American-built SNCF 141-R Mikados in context, plus the charms of Norma Shearer.  Hard to beat that.


  • Hi ACL (Tom)!

    Oh yes, "The Red Shoes."  Fine, fine movie.  Oh, that was MOIRA Shearer, not Norma Shearer.  Norma was retired from films by that time, and actually Moira wasn't to far away from retiring from dance herself, which led to the rise of Margot Fonteyn, a great ballerina herself.

    The BEST movie involving French railroads is obviously "The Train"  with Burt Lancaster.  Super film with a very powerful ending.  "Was all this worth the cost?"

  • Firelock76
    The BEST movie involving French railroads is obviously "The Train"  with Burt Lancaster.  Super film with a very powerful ending.  "Was all this worth the cost?"

    The realism and effort put into that movie makes it one of my favorite movies of all time. Considering the technology, they did a fabulous job. And a great view of European railroads under steam. A somber film, spectacularly done.

    Edit: Looking around Railpics, I found these. Pretty powerful.