• Railroads on Television

  • Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.
Discussion related to railroads/trains that show up in TV shows, commercials, movies, literature (books, poems and more), songs, the Internet, and more... Also includes discussion of well-known figures in the railroad industry or the rail enthusiast hobby.

Moderator: Aa3rt

  by railfan365
I've been reminded of an episode of Diagnosis Murder in which Dr. Sloan is kidnapped by an injured murder suspect and they are at one point on board a freight train.
  by Alloy
Urban wrote:
Do they have EMD's on the Wine Train? Thought they were all-Alco.

Hey, I always answer my mail eventually! I looked up the wine train, and while there's no description of the two engines, the brief picture that flashes on the website is NOT an EMD.

At six, I was thrilled by the opening shot of a speeding steam locomotive in the old "Superman" series in the 50s. ("More powerful than a locomotive...") There were none around my part of Ohio by that time. I also made it a point to watch Walt Disney's "The Great Locomotive Chase," when it came on a few times when I was a kid. It had Fess Parker, Mr. Davy Crockett himself, and depicted an 1862 incident where Union operatives captured a train and tried to sabotage a railroad in the Confederacy.
  by Patrick Boylan
Wed Mar 23 2011 WPHL TV 7:30PM Family Guy Stewie mentions riding the Edaville Railroad. I was impressed that they'd put in such a regional plug which probably means nothing to normal people outside of the Boston area.
I rode it once in the 1980's, and I thought the railroad had stopped running a couple of years after. I looked at their website, http://www.edaville.com, it's not clear about if they have the same railroad operation as the one I rode, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edaville_Railroad mentions that the line's been resurrected and truncated a couple of times.
markhb wrote:I don't know if anyone here is watching The Cape, but Monday's episode featured a classic runaway train situation, complete with the mandatory fight atop the moving cars. I do have one question about it: in order to stop the train, they decided they had to cut the brake line (down near the moving wheels under the car body, of course), because doing so would cause the brakes to lock up instantly. Is that actually how they work; i.e., would cutting a hydraulic line to the brakes cause them to automatically engage? (I'm assuming it was a hydraulic line and not an air hose because the person who cut it got sprayed with all kinds of goo.) Thanks for any info...
That's just the opposite of how TV and movies depict automobiles where the bad guys always cut the hydraulic brake lines so when the victim starts to drive down the mountain they have no brakes.

For trains the way I've always heard and read, during normal operation cutting the AIR hose will apply the brakes, If the train's asleep in the storage yard, without the compressors maintaining the air pressure, cutting the AIR hose will release the brakes.
I'm sure there's nothing that says all railroads must use air brakes, somewhere in the many alternate universes, especially TV universes, there might be a railroad that uses hydraulic brakes.

Speaking of air brakes and hoses, does anyone else think it's funny that one of the sure fire ways to hurt someone is to brake an air pipe and spray them in the face with a jet of cool compressed air?
  by oldrow51
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the episode of the X-Files from the third season. "731" had Agent Mulder trapped aboard a railroad car rigged to explode to destroy evidence of extraterrestrial life as well as keeping a hired killer at bay. The car used in the episode was a decomissioned BC Railway BUDD RDC. I'm not sure if they actually blew up the real car at the end or used special effects to simulate the explosion.
  by Patrick Boylan
legsbluetrain wrote:Don't forget In The Heat Of The Night series.
If I remember correctly the original Heat of The Night movie opening has Sydney Poitier's Mr. Tibbs character getting of a Gulf Mobile and Ohio locomotive hauled passenger train.

I've been watching Smallville season 9 on DVD. Several location shots in prior seasons were under what looked like Vancouver Sky Train elevated structure, and at least one of those prior season episodes, and several of the season 9 episodes had a train go by overhead. The opening season 9 episode has Kal-El rescuing Lois from a runaway derailed Sky Train, apparently a set piece, I doubt it's the real thing. Throughout the season they mentioned the 'monorail' even though the train that Kal-El catches just before it crashes to the ground obviously has wheels appropriate to a 2 rail trackbed.
  by Leo_Ames
There is a two part episode of Laverne & Shirley from season 5 that is horrible from a railfan perspective. It's titled Murder on the Moosejaw Express and was first aired in early 1980.

It's set in the early 1960's and they're riding a train from Milwaukee up North into Canada. The stock shots they used to bridge various scenes during it range from views of Amtrak F40PH's and SDP40F's to Southern Pacific E units, Union Pacific E units, and Santa Fe F units in other shots. I think there is even a shot with hood units at the front of their train at least once. The train they're aboard is never the same from one shot to another.

Whoever was responsible for that on the editing room floor didn't put any care into it at all. It's bad enough that they'd think a line like the Southern Pacific had a passenger train serving Milwaukee North into Canada, but somewhat excusable since the public was forgetting and becoming more ignorant about railroads by the day at that point. But it doesn't take much thinking to at least have some consistency, even if the shots they used couldn't of possibly happened in real life (Amtrak in the early 1960's, for instance).

And the 1970's series titled Emergency! (A Jack Webb program that was set in the same world as Adam-12, Dragnet, The D.A., Sierra, and other Jack Webb programs of the time) had several railroad scenes over the years. There's one in particular that I recall where there is a rail car burning, and one of the Station 51 firemen climbs into the cab of a Southern Pacific Alco switcher to get some dangerous cargo away from the flames when the railroad employees refused because of the danger.
dreamer wrote:Some of my favorite TV bloopers were on the "The Andy Griffith Show".
In at least two episodes a passenger train is coming into the station somewhere in North Carolina (Mt. Pilot?) , but the equipment is clearly marked Union Pacific, which back then didn't come within a thousand miles of NC. Oddly no attempt was made to hide the fact. Of course the series was filmed entirely in the Los Angeles area.
What's even more inexusable was this was the mid to late 1960's (The episode where Barney comes home to visit and there is a crowd waiting at the station with him thinking they're there for him always bugs me everytime I see it). Many people around the country were still semi aware of railroads, could've told you that Union Pacific didn't operate in North Carolina or anywhere even close, or had even rode a Union Pacific streamliner in recent memory. 10-20 years down the road, I'd of given it a pass and not thought about it twice.
  by railfan365
While I agree for the most part about Union Pacific equipment not running in North Carolina, I have had the pleasure of seeing a Union Pacific SW1500 maneuvering freight cars in and around the now former Cross Harbour Railyard at Bush TerminL. The explanation was that that locomotive had been purchased used by the Cross Harbour Railroad, and had not yet been repainted, which was done much later by NYNJ Rail.
  by nhrrfan
In Petticoat Junction, the meaning of the railroad's initials "C&FW" was never disclosed to the viewer at any point during the run of the show. However, I have surmised it stood for "Chicago and Far Western". My reasoning here is based on three observations I've noted in both Petticoat Junction and its sister show Green Acres:

FIrst, at the time Petticoat Junction originaly aired, both the Chicago and North Western and the Chicago Great Western were still prosperous railroads. However, because of Hollywood's policy during this era of not using known brands or companies in TV shows (this was before the concept of "product placement"), they would not have used a name of an actual railroad in the show.

Second, in the pilot episode of the show, Short Line to Shady Rest, there is a scene in the board room of the C&FW with a route map of the railroad in the background. If you look closely at the route map, the railroad's pattern is very similar to the actual Chicago and North Western system, with the town nuames changed to fictitious ones.

Third, in the first season of Green Acres, it was mentioned in at least two episodes that the Hooterville Valley, which included Hooterville, Pixley, and other towns serviced by the C&FW Branch Line, was located west of Chicago.

As a sidebar, the board meeting scene in Short Line To Shady Rest included a mock up of an EMD E unit in Santa Fe warbonnet colors, but with "C&FW Railroad" on the side instead of Santa Fe.
  by Jeff Smith
I loved this show! Thanks for bringing back this memory. Always wanted to know if those girls were wearing anything in that water tank!

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  by Aa3rt
Here's a site dedicated to the TV show "Petticoat Junction":


A bit on the prototype locomotive (From California's Sierra Railroad) here:

http://www.petticoat.topcities.com/hoot ... onball.htm

And the scale models that were used in the filming:


Here's the Tyco (Mantua) HO scale version of the Hooterville Cannonball:

  by railfan365
Thanks fo rsharing PJ and Green Acres memories.

BTW, another thing that they never did explain was how Floyd in Seasons 5 & 7, and Wendell in season 6, were able to run a hand-fired steamer alone. Perhaps a little escapist license so that they could cut a salary after Smiley Burnett died.
  by David Benton
the british motoring program , Top gear , has had a couple of railway related episodes . one is a race between a Jaguar and a audi on rails , pulling caravans !

the other is a race between the pacific class steam train , a 1950's jaguar , and a 1950's motorbike .
Last edited by David Benton on Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Ken V
David Benton wrote:the other is a race between the pacific class steam train , a 1950's jaguar , and a 1950's motorbike .
Aw David! I watched the first 3 parts with great enthusiasm but then no part 4 (removed from YouTube due to BBC copyright). What a downer :(.

Update: Lucked out and found the final few minutes here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-gG3xa2zf4
Last edited by Ken V on Mon Aug 15, 2011 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by David Benton
Sorry about that Ken , i hadnt realised it was removed . i did watch it some time ago and can tell you that the jag won , by about 10 minutes over the train . running times were probably similiar , the train rider had to run from the station to the pub , whereas the car driver presumably parked outside . the bike rider did not finish from memory .
other interesting facts i read , the train trip was paid for by enntusiasts riding in the carriages , i think it also covered the helicopter costs . the motorbike wouldnt start because the film crew changed the spark plugs without telling the tech crew , because the originals were interfering with the sound . ( no rfi standards in 1950 i guess ).its fuel problems were caused by him draining the tank causing sediment to enter the carbs . the main presenter of the program has become something of a train fan since the steam train ride , probably inspiring the caravan episode .
in 1949 , the train would have won i would think , been able to go 100 mph instead of 75 mph , and with water chutes in the tracks eliminating some of the water stops .
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