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The Smoke Stack

Essex Steam Train.. In the movies

Posted on July 14, 2017

If you’ve ridden our train sometime during the past ten years, you may have sat in the same seat as Indiana Jones and walked in the footsteps of Steven Spielberg!

According to J. David Conrad, VP and Chief Mechanical Officer at Essex Steam Train & Riverboat at the time of filming, “…hordes of set designers, landscape artists, lighting and sound technicians, costumed extras, caterers, assistants, gaffers and grips…” descended on Essex Station on a hot July day in 2007.

During that 12-hour day shooting for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Conrad reported that the train made short moves for cameras along the station platform as the regular Essex Steam Train service was maintained on another track.

For train enthusiasts interested in which cars and engines were used for the shoot, Steam Locomotive #97, Parlor Car “Great Republic”, Passenger Coach #s 503, 501 and 602, L&NE Gondola Car for generators and a Caboose were used. The public rode on Track 5 that day where Steam Locomotive #40 and Diesel Locomotive #0901 were used.

The Leatherheads

Though not filmed onsite in Essex, car No. 502 (which is used for our annual North Pole Express) was disassembled, and parts were sent to South Carolina for video shooting. Parts included 50 seats, 20 light fixtures, baggage racks and radiator covers to make the film’s 1920s interior train scenes true to the period.

The Leatherheads is a romantic comedy set in the early years of professional football, and it was written by George Clooney who also starred in the film with Renee Zellweger.

River of Dreams

Our train makes a small appearance in Billy Joel’s video:

Other forms of media which include sightings of Essex Steam Train are included in the following list:

It Happened to Jane (1958)
Ragtime (1980)
Malcolm X (1992)
Amistad (1996)
Leatherheads (2007)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2007)
Freedom (2012)


Mourning Becomes Electra (PBS, 1978)
Billy Joel’s “River of Dreams” music video (1994)
Lomax: The Hound of Music (PBS, 2007)
Boardwalk Empire (2011)
Connecticut State Tourism commercial (2012)
Z: The Beginning of Everything (2016)

Photo Shoots:

J. Crew catalog
Victoria Magazine article
Stephen King’s The Dark Towers: The Waste Lands mass market paperback book cover
National Geographic Travel article
Fossil catalog and web
Anthropologie catalog
Modern Bride fashion article
Vogue Magazine article featuring P. Diddy and Natalia Vodianova by Annie Leibovitz

If you haven’t yet made the trip to Essex Station for a train ride (or combination train-and-boat ride including our vintage Becky Thatcher riverboat), or if you want a repeated experience, purchase your tickets today!

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