The Petticoat Junction train is still rollin' down the tracks

You may not know it, but the ''little train'' in Petticoat Junction has had quite the career in Hollywood.

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It’s the Petticoat Junction theme song!
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''Come ride the little train that is rollin' down the tracks to the junction.'' 

In a way, you can! The ever-popular ''Hooterville Cannonball'' that transported the cast on Petticoat Junction to and from the ''Shady Rest Hotel'' on the forgotten spur of track off the mainline, which was part of the '''C. & F.W. Railroad,'' is still riding the rails today!

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown, California located about 130 miles east of San Francisco, operates the very same train used in the show on various excursion tours.

The Sierra No. 3 steam locomotive, a 4-6-0 (wheel alignment format) ten-wheeler was built in 1891. After sitting dormant for much of the Great Depression, the Sierra No. 3 locomotive got Hollywood's attention. 

In Petticoat Junction the actual Sierra No. 3 locomotive can be seen in the opening and closing credits, quite literally, rolling down the tracks. A full-scale replica train was constructed for still shots in the show, also making appearances on The Wild Wild West and the 1950 movie A Ticket to Tomahawk. The replica is last known to be on display at Santa Rita Park in Durango, Colorado.

The 1963 sitcom was just one of many screen appearances the train dubbed the ''movie star'' has appeared in. 

According to, the Sierra No. 3 appeared in ''over 100 movies and TV shows. Hollywood producers discovered Tuolumne County and Sierra No. 3, filming this steam locomotive along the scenic Sierra Railroad to satisfy America's love affair with Westerns.'' 

Thus, it's no surprise the Sierra No. 3 appeared in shows such as Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Bonanza, and Death Valley Days.

The ''movie star'' spent plenty of time on the silver screen too, catching producers' eyes in the 1929 film The Virginian, which was the ''first sound movie filmed outside of a Hollywood sound stage,'' according to 

It would go on to be seen in High Noon, Back to the Future III and Unforgiven, just to name a few. 

In the mid 2000s, a restoration was needed to keep the over 100-year-old engine operational. That's where Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood comes in.

Working with the ''movie star'' locomotive on Rawhide and his 1992 movie Unforgiven, Eastwood was a big advocate for restoring the classic engine, and was involved in the fundraising process.

According to the Online Archive of California, the Sierra No. 3 was certified as restored, and was ''officially returned to service July, 2 2010 at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park.'' 

Railtown 1897's website has Eastwood quoted as saying, ''Having this locomotive in operation will give filmmakers another reason to stay in California, as demonstrated by the hundreds of productions Sierra No. 3 has appeared in over the years.'' 

It stayed on track in Hollywood much longer than plenty of actors throughout the years, and has one of the longest careers Southern California has ever seen.

Railtown 1897 State Historic Park tells MeTV that the No. 3 has been out of service for the last several months to receive maintence, but will return to the rails in the future. 

Every Hollywood star has to keep up on their looks and wellbeing, and the Sierra No. 3 engine is no exception!

Watch Petticoat Junction on MeTV!

Saturdays at 5 AM & 5:30 AM

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jackson 14 months ago
My husband and I visited Railtown in 2011. We saw the trains, and information about their appearances in movies and Television. It was very interesting.
Kramden62 20 months ago
I always thought it was funny in the closing credits when Benji was running beside the train and the camera did a closeup of him running.
bagandwallyfan52 23 months ago
The song On The Good Ship
Lollypop as sung by Shirley Temple in the 1934 movie called BRIGHT EYES.
bagandwallyfan52 23 months ago
The Hooterville Cannonball Song from Petticoat Junction
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Homer Bedloe (Charles Lane) was a very funny bad guy on Petticoat Junction.,I was watching a Rerun
Of Petticoat Junction and I saw
The Last Appearance of Homer Bedloe where he becomes a nice
guy at the end of the episode.
Granny (Irene Ryan) of The Beverly hillbillies sent a cake to Hooterville
And Homer Bedloe got drunk when
he ate Granny's cake
The last scene is where the cake exploded in Homer Bedloe s face.
And Homer Bedloe canceled all of
his plans to get rid of The Cannonball.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Was there ever an explanation for the Disappearance of Petticoat Junction Characters Kate Bradley
And Charlie Pratt after Bea Benadaret passed away in 1968 and
Smiley Passed away in 1967?
Also on season one only there were
Two Characters:
Herbie BATES played by Don Washbrook and Junior HOCKER played by Russ Horton.
Was there ever an explanation on the disappearances of Herbie BATES
And Junior HOCKER?
Newt Kiley (Kay Kuter) vanished from BOTH Green Acres and Petticoat Junction at the same time.
Kimk21 bagandwallyfan52 21 months ago
It was mentioned that Charlie passed away. When Floyd "disappeared", it was mentioned he took another railroad job. Kate was supposed to be off "tending to some relative".
DanDolgin Kimk21 13 months ago
Season 6 Wendall (Bryan Foulger) took over running the Cannonball, In Season 7 Wendall left and Floyd (Rufe Davis) returned to Hooterville to run the Cannonball in the last season of the show.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Does anyone remember a TV show on PBS or NET called What's New
Where 3 animated persons are
marching playing drums?
Terrence 24 months ago
Forget about your cares it is time to relax at the Junction.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Do The Fonzie from Happy Days and The Hooterville Hop from Petticoat Junction are both Fun Dances For Fun People!!That Hooterville Hop clip had a guest appearance
From Adam West (Batman)
And this Hooterville Hop episode has The Last Appearance of Junior HOCKER played by Russ Horton
Herbie BATES played by Don
Washbrook and Junior HOCKER
Russ Horton were seen on
Petticoat Junction for season
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
The Hooterville Hop is a great
Dance and do is Do The Fonzie.
Hooterville really Swings with
The Hooterville Hop!!
BuckeyeBeth7 24 months ago
How many old time trains did/does Hollywood have? Is it safe to assume this is the same train that they used in The Big Valley?

Also, can someone explain the 4-6-0 wheel alignment format? Does that mean 4 small wheels upfront and 6 big ones in the back with no extra wheels after that?
4-6-0 means there was a leading weight bearing bogey of 4 wheels, then the second number is always the number of DRIVE wheels (the big ones), and the last number is another set of weight bearing wheels, in this case there aren't any. (The tender doesn't count in this numbering system.)

A trivia point for you. When you watch the show, you can tell the REAL train from the model (both large AND small) BY the drive wheels. There is a GAP between the 2nd and 3rd drive wheels on the real train, putting the last set of wheels under the BACK of the cab, while the models have all three sets of wheels next to each other, putting the last set of wheels at the FRONT of the cab.
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Green Acres is The Funniest
Sitcom in TV History!!!!!
bagandwallyfan52 24 months ago
Green Acres and Petticoat Junction:
PS I enjoyed watching Hooterville Residents dancing
Dance on Season one of
Petticoat Junction.
lmahabhashyam 24 months ago
It was used in many episodes of Little House on the Prairie as Michael Landon had worked with this special engine during his Bonanza year’s.
GregoryMay lmahabhashyam 24 months ago
On Little House it had a freight car and a flat bed car...
JDnHuntsvilleAL 24 months ago
There's a way to tell the difference between shots of the real train and the replica. While the real train is a 4-6-0, there's a gap between the second and third set of drive wheels, putting the third set toward the back of cab. The replica has all three drive axles next to each other with the third set being at the front edge of the cab. Look for this difference when watching Petticoat Junction to tell which shots have the real train and which are the replica.
BrittReid 24 months ago
The same train was used in the pilot episode of The Wild Wild West. And love Lori Saunders.
LadyAgnes 24 months ago
Wow! That was the train in The Virginian(1929). I will have to rewatch that one for The Cannonball rolling down the tracks.
bagandwallyfan52 LadyAgnes 24 months ago
On The TV western The Virginian does anyone know why James Drury was called
The Virginian? Did his character
Actually have a name besides
The Virginian?
The series was very loosely based on an old novel from 1902. I never read it but I don't think the Virginian character has a name. There is a character named "Trampas" in the novel but he is an enemy of the Virginian.
LadyAgnes 24 months ago
I love Petticoat Junction.
My MeTV Affiliate goes local at that time, so I don't get PJ. I wish MeTV would move PJ to a time that the affiliates don't go to local programming or infomercials.
GulfCoastMike 24 months ago
I’ve been told for decades that the Cannonball still exists in private hands in Alabama. The location is between Birmingham and Cullman, off the west side of Interstate 65. There is definitely an old train a few hundred yards away. I don’t know anyone that can personally vouch that it is the old Cannonball, but I’d love to know if this information is just local folklore.
GuyFromNC GulfCoastMike 19 months ago
That's not true. The "Cannonball" is really Sierra No. 3 which has been used in hundreds of Tv shows and movies. It was restored in 2010 and is these days it's used for excursions at Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in California.
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