THE TRAIN CAR. DESTROYED.


Twin Peaks fans have long been curious about the fate of the train car, best seen in the Pilot, that was host to the murder of Laura Palmer and the near murder of Ronette Pulaski. Early rumors suggested a wealthy Japanese collector had acquired the car and had it shipped to his homeland. This rumor was popular in the early and mid-nineties, especially as an intense fervor by Japanese fans for anything Twin Peaks related had lead to fake Laura Palmer funerals, complete series marathons on television and special airfare package tours of the filming sites costing thousands of dollars per person.

Later, reports that the car was decommissioned and sent to Astoria, Oregon for restoration seemed entirely feasible, especially as the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie have long claimed just that. Erroneously it seems. The museum previously has said that "the 1915-built Barney & Smith car company coach #273 was the coach used in the filming." In our previous post about this topic, reader 'Falling Through Space' (who has recently visited the Astoria restoration site) reports: "...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."

Our desire to find out the fate of this important piece of the history of Twin Peaks has now paid off. We have recently received this letter:

"Hello, my name is Drew. I'm a volunteer at the Northwest Railway Museum in Snoqualmie, Washington... while researching the history of the museum, ...intrigued with the mystery of what happened to the wood coach (the watchman's car) where Laura Palmer was killed. Yesterday, I asked one of the engineers at the museum if he knew what had happened to the car. As he put it, "It's making Toyotas". Awhile back, the museum went through its collection of cars. Some found new homes. The cars that were beyond hope of restoration were scrapped. Sadly, Laura Palmer's car was one of the latter."

Well, there you go. It seems the Northwest Railway Museum simply made an honest mistake from the start claiming the car we are all looking for was sent to Astoria for restoration. We are now trying to find any paperwork related to the destruction of the car and more testimonials concerning the train car from our favorite show. Is the story over? Are we 100% certain of all this? No! We would love to be proven wrong! However, at this point it seems that it's up to anyone who disagrees with our findings to prove it's existence. Send us a picture. We would love it if this historic prop was still around somewhere, perhaps being lovingly restored. Or hopefully, hiding somewhere deep in the woods, waiting to be discovered.

Thanks to Drew Black and 'Falling Through Space'.

***UPDATE***
Douglas from February 24th magazine has supplied us with photos that apparently show the train car being stripped:






8 comments:

Tonya J said...

You know, there's something to be said for preserving the heritage of film, and that includes iconic buildings, cars, trains, props. I hate when things this valuable are destroyed, lost, or allowed to just sit in rust and disrepair. Yeah, I don't know what's worse, that it's gone or might be somewhere mildewing away.

But as a cinephile, hope it gets found and taken care of. Thanks for letting us know.

Jerry Horne said...

Thank you Tonya. It's good to hear from you.

jlyon1515 said...

I think the confusion is coming from the fact that there were TWO traincars used. One for the pilot and one for FWWM. Couldn't that be causing some of the confusion? That would surely explain why the museum though the traincar used in the "film" was a combination car, when you can clearly see in the pilot that it's not.

Thoughts?

Jerry Horne said...

The same car from the Pilot is used in FWWM. Yes, two cars were used in FWWM and it looks like the car with the sliding door may have been sent to Astoria (See the pictures in the first post by 'Falling Through Space') However, when fans ask, 'Where is that train car from Twin Peaks', 99 out of 100 times they are referring to the car seen prominently in the Pilot. I certainly don't claim to be an expert on this issue, like most of us I'm relying on information from others. However, after sifting through everything, having people on the ground at Astoria (I will be going there soon) and having an inside contact at the museum - It does not look to good.

jlyon1515 said...

True. When FANS ask where the train car is, they are referring to the one from the pilot. I just know that form talking with local folk, they confuse the pilot film with the FWWM film a lot. They are always interchanging events between the two. That's all I was saying. Sometimes they think they are talking about one thing, but really they are incorrect.

So unfortunately, the people that should be the definitive source, don't necessarily know what they are talking about. :)

Jerry Horne said...

I totally understand what you're saying. There seems to have been confusion from day one about which car the museum thought the fans were asking about - the one seen in the Pilot, not the one seen for 5 seconds in FWWM! The Pilot train car always seemed REALLY run down, it's perhaps no surprise it was beyond restoration.

Anonymous said...

It would be wonderful if the car had been preserved for the sake of fans. However.. a rotting old train car is a rotting old train car no matter what sentimental value it may have. It was in pretty bad shape to start with - and that was nearly 20 years ago and would most likely be a pile of rust and mold today. It would be nice to be able to go see it, but how and where were they supposed to keep it around just to be trotted out whenever fans of a TV show that lasted less than 1 1/2 seasons wanted to look at it for a minute, take a few pictures, sigh, and then trundle off for pie and coffee?

Thomas Quimby said...

I have the privilege of salvaging this old school rail car there's a lot of good stuff I got out of here I have both ends witch are in really awesome shape yet and all copper from roof all handles knob latches and hardware out of here 2 there was only a few seats that were in OK shape it was used as a chicken coop for many years and was and added bonus I didn't know about when I went to look at the pre1900's house and barn to salvage I don't know where to start looking for whoever that restores railcars or is just into stuff like this in genre life you could point me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated 3209051383 thomas quimby I am in central Minnesota. Also I know where there are two more of these rai l cars after talking to one of the local farmers his dad bout 2 when this guy I got mine from bought his and he said he knows for a fact that the railcar that I have was moved in there over 70 years ago this guy was pushing 90 years old to and he said there sitting on his farm in the back 40 I do not know what kind of shape there in but if there any better than the one I got there in extremely salvageable condition compared to mine granted I was able to save a lot of the stuff ou t of the one I got any help would be great my plans were to bring it back to my shop and rebuild this thing just smaller cause the roof was pretty bad on it buy I'm gonna do what I can to not see this part of American history just get thrown away witch seems like that's what's happening now days