Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shooting trains for HORROR EXPRESS

From: HOLLYWOOD EXILE Or How I Learned to Love the Blacklist
by Bernard Gordon

One of the first sequences I had planned for filming with both of them was at the abandonded Delicias railroad station in central Madrid. Aging and decrepit, the station was no longer in active use by the Spanish rail system except to store obsolete locomotives and carriages, but it was a magnificent structure of wrought-iron arches and columns supporting a glass roof, originally designed and built by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the genius with wrought-iron who built the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It was perfect for our period film set in the year 1906. More than that, we had the use of full-size period trains and locomotives, so we could see our characters climbing in and out of real trains, then see a real locomotive billowing great clouds of steam as it chugged from the station with our characters aboard. Since almost the entire action of our film was on the train, we needed many exterior shots of our minature traversing the snowy wasteland of Siberia. I decided we should establish an authentic, full-size train at the very beginning to convince the audience that all subsequent train shots were just as real. The initial sequence in the station worked out beautifully and gave the film a very handsome and substantial start. The strategy worked - no one complained that our miniatures looked fake.


  1. Bill, any shots of the train station available to post or on-line? Sounds fascinating.

  2. It's now the railroad museum in Madrid filled with vintage steam engines.
    Click here.