Snoqualmie Valley Railroad Yard and the Case of the Missing Rail Car



"We used this property from about 1958 to around 1975 for our local train operation. We then moved on to our main line, but this has been our storage area for many many years."


"We leased this land in 1956 from the Puget Power Company who has the dam and the facilities around here."


"We now use this for storage and will soon have a new storage area in the north part of town here."


"This car here was used in Twin Peaks for the television series and up to that time, our watchman lived in here."


"He is now passed away."




The plot thickens. Reader 'Falling Through Space' sent us this information:

As a TP fan interested in visiting all the sites used in the filming, I would, of course, be interested in seeing this car. I read about the car having been sent to Astoria in the blogs, and received the following form letter from the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie [excerpted]

"This is the answer provided to the 2002 Twin Peaks Festival organizers. As you see below, the 1915-built Barney & Smith car company coach #273 was the coach used in the filming.

'Twin Peaks Festival” attendees gathered in the upper Snoqualmie Valley in 2002. As always the question was: “What happened to the railroad car where Laura Palmer was killed?”

.................................................................................................

After much research with long-time members and volunteers the truth comes out. The Northwest Railway Museum had two cars that were almost identical in appearance; one was used for “Twin Peaks” the other was "almost identical" to the actual car {emphasis on Almost} used for the filming. The writer of this research paper was not in the area when the program was being filmed. But after asking and talking with long-time members who were involved with the project we learn that the Twin Peaks film crew used Spokane Portland and Seattle car #273, a combination passenger-baggage car. The 273 was de-accessed and sent to a railroad museum in Astoria, Oregon.

So, I visited the Railway Museum when I was up there a couple of weeks ago, then headed off to Astoria to see the car.

I'm afraid that the car in the pictures you show, the car everyone is looking for, is not in Astoria. Car SP&S #273, as stated in the letter from Snoqualmie, is a combination Baggage/Coach, and looks barely anything like the car from the Pilot. It would seem that their information is off a bit. Here is a link to the Astoria Railroad Preservation Association's webpage dedicated to SP&S #273

In the top corner is a rather small photo of #273, which shows enough for any TP fan to notice that it's not the right car. I took a couple pictures of the car while I was there and posted them in a thread at the TPG.

Pilot:

FWWM:

This car was used in one small shot at the very end of FWWM, where Ronette fell out. If you look closely at the car from the pilot, you will not see the large sliding door that Mike was knocking on/Ronette fell out of/Bob carried Laura out of. They used two cars in the filming.





My question is, if #273 isn't the car from the Pilot, which car was, and where is it now?

14 comments:

jlyon1515 said...

Note the black tarp on the top. Because this is part of the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad Museum, they put tarps down over some of the older train cars. They must have lifted up and folded it on top to film this scene.

Also, contrary to rumors, this train car was NOT bought by some Japanese fan and shipped to Japan. It was decommissioned and sent to Oregon.

Anonymous said...

I got it the same way recently: being restored somewhere in Oregon.

falling through space said...

As a TP fan interested in visiting all the sites used in the filming, I would, of course, be interested in seeing this car. I read about the car having been sent to Astoria in the blogs, and received the following form letter from the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie [excerpted]

"This is the answer provided to the 2002 Twin Peaks Festival organizers. As you see below, the 1915-built Barney & Smith car company coach #273 was the coach used in the filming.

'Twin Peaks Festival” attendees gathered in the upper Snoqualmie Valley in 2002. As always the question was: “What happened to the railroad car where Laura Palmer was killed?”
...
After much research with long-time members and volunteers the truth comes out. The Northwest Railway Museum had two cars that were almost identical in appearance; one was used for “Twin Peaks” the other was "almost identical" to the actual car {emphasis on Almost} used for the
filming. The writer of this research paper was not in the area when the program was being filmed. But after asking and talking with
long-time members who were involved with the project we learn that the Twin Peaks film crew used Spokane Portland and Seattle car #273, a combination passenger-baggage car. The 273 was de-accessed and sent to a railroad museum in Astoria, Oregon.

So, I visited the Railway Museum when I was up there a couple of weeks ago, then headed off to Astoria to see the car.

I'm afraid that the car in the pictures you show, the car everyone is looking for, is not in Astoria. Car SP&S #273, as stated in the letter from Snoqualmie, is a combination Baggage/Coach, and looks barely anything like the car from the Pilot. It would seem that their information is off a bit. Here is a link to the Astoria Railroad Preservation Association's webpage dedicated to SP&S #273:
http://www.astoriarailroad.org/steam/273.html

In the top corner is a rather small photo of #273, which shows enough for any TP fan to notice that it's not the right car. I took a couple pipctures of the car while I was there and posted them in a thread at twinpeaksgazette.com
http://www.2000revue.com/community/
topic.cfm?topicid=1095

This car was used in one small shot at the very end of FWWM, where Ronette fell out. If you look closely at the car from the pilot, you will not see the large sliding door that Mike was knocking on/Ronette fell out of/Bob carried Laura out of. They used two cars in the filming.

My question is, if #273 isn't the car from the Pilot, which car was, and where is it now?

catho said...

fabulous blog

brad d said...

the japanese fan rumor always brings the laughs!

Jerry Horne said...

Brad d - It would seem it's up to someone to prove that in fact a 'Japanese collector' does not have it as it is not in Astoria it seems.

'Falling In Space' - thanks for the information. I hope your research continues.

jlyon1515 - do you have photo proof of the car in Astoria, or are you relying on information from others?

Jerry Horne said...

catho - thank you.

falling through space said...

Jerry, I wanted to mention how great your site is. You have a fabulous collection of information. Love every page.

As for the car, any time someone asks about the "train car from Twin Peaks" they give the information that was given to them. It seems they haven't seen show or they would know that the car we are looking for isn't a combination car, but a full coach. If I could get back up there I would bring in a photo of the car from the pilot, not mention TP at all and make up a story about walking up the tracks with my grampa and he always pointed out this car...blah, blah. I'll have to work on the story :)

I know it's been a while and I doubt anyone at the museum has been there for 18 years, but in the Japanese video Jerry has posted there is an important clue - "our watchman lived here" in the car. I would think they might have a record there somewhere of which car the watchman lived in, and what happened to it. Just a thought. I won't be able to be in Washington before the end of the year, so if anyone else can get any information, please post it.

Thanks again, Jerry for all the great work.

Anonymous said...

This is indeed a mystery. #272 on the Snoqualmie Valley Railroad is a combination car, while the car in some shots does not display the sliding baggage/cargo door. Both cars share the same clelestory roof style.But #273 appears to be older. Note the arched window sills. #272 on the SVR deos not have that style.It may have been rebuilt(modernized) at some point. I don't know. But the car in the series and FWWM is a passenger car.

falling through space said...

Update.

I e.mailed the Northwest Railway Museum again, didn't mention TP, but asked about the car that the watchman lived in and mentioned Mr. Rich Wilkins, who has worked with the Museum for the last 30 years, and offered to send a photo. The gentleman who responded misunderstood me, but mentioned the museum's photo archives. Bingo! Just gotta get our hands on that archive :) We're getting closer.

Falling

Jerry Horne said...

Falling - keep us updated. This is fascinating!!

Anonymous said...

If the Pilot car is the wooden one, it is either SP&S #213 or SP&S #218. Both of which are still located in Snoqualmie. #213 is operated while #218 is now being restored to operating condition.

Jerry Horne said...

Anon - At this point I would need photos. See updated pics in the feature above.

falling through space said...

It's been a while, but I just returned from Snoqualmie and Astoria. Somewhat bad news, car 273 in Astoria is not the car used in the shot where Ronette fell out. That car wasn't used in any filming, and as far as I can tell, not even in the background of any shot. Car 272 in Snoqualmie is actually the more likely candidate. If you will look at the picture above of Mike running toward the door, you will notice at about the level of his waist a canister projecting from the bottom of the car. This canister is in the same location on Car 272, but on 273 it isn't underneath the door, and doesn't look like the same model. I took some close ups in Snoqualmie, but when I got to Astoria this time, the car was covered up really well, nobody was around and I didn't want to start hacking at the tarp (actually I did want to). So I took pictures of the steps to show the area around them. Jerry, I will send the pics through e.mail soon. No other info on the other car. The only people at the museum were an old couple thumbing through old papers and a nice girl behind the counter who was a big help (just not big enough).