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.
''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 ca.gov, 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 ca.gov.
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!