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Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train – The Congressional Limited – Trains in the Movies!

Hitchcock’s Strangers On A Train – The Congressional Limited – Trains in the Movies!

Pennsylvania’s express train between New York and Washington D.C. was featured in Alfred  Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.

CW: Robert Walker; Walker and Farley Granger in Lounge Car; Walker leaving the train at Danbury, Conn aka Metcalf.

The 1951 American psychological thriller film noir was based on the 1950 novel Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith.

LtoR: A preview of my new book Trains Boats Planes in the Movies; Display for Strangers playing at the Florida Theatre in Tamps – Air Cooled.

CW: Granger and Walker in Pullman Drawing Room having lunch; Granger getting off train while Hitchcock is boarding with a cello; Poster.

Director Producer Alfred Hitchcock shot the hit movie in the autumn of 1950 and ti was released by Warner Bros. on June 30, 1951.

CW: Dining Car Waiter; Walker; Granger and Walker.

The film stars Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, and Robert Walker, and features Leo G. Carroll, the director’s daughter Pat Hitchcock, and Laura Elliott.

CW: Granger and another passenger in Observation Parlor Car; Granger at Penn Station; Walker at Danbury station aka Metcalf.

The film is honored as one of the great thrillers. It is number 32 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Thrills.

Video: Walker meets Granger in the Club Car.

  • The story concerns two strangers who meet in the club car of the Congressional Limited which operated daily by the Pennsylvania Railroad between Washington D.C. and New York. A young tennis player (Farley Granger) and a charming psychopath (Robert Walker). The psychopath suggests that because they each want to “get rid” of someone, they should “exchange” murders, and that way neither will be caught. The psychopath commits the first murder, then tries to force the tennis player to complete the bargain.

CW: Penn Station entrance hall; Ticket counters; Entrance stairway and escalator; Main hall at Penn Station which was demolished a decade or so after the film was shot there.

Hitchcock and his cast and crew decamped for the East Coast on October 17, 1950.

  • For six days, they shot at Penn Station in New York City, at the railroad station at Danbury, Connecticut—which became Guy’s hometown Metcalf—and in spots around Washington, D.C.

CW: Observation Parlor Car Congressional Ltd; Platform entry; Granger and Walker.

All the interiors aboard the train were filmed at Warner Bros. in Burbank, California.

CW: Danbury (Metcalf) Station; Businessmen in Parlor Car; Penn RR Engine; Ruth Roman and Granger.

Scenes aboard various trains were in the Club Car Lounge, Pullman Drawing Room, Parlor Car, and Observation Car.

Robert Frank photos of actual businessmen onboard the Congressional Limited in the late 1950s to be featured in a separate post. 

The interiors reflected new designs for the Congressional Limited. Especially the Club Car Lounge where Granger and Walker meet.

The Pennsylvania Railroad upgraded its fleet of trains following WW 2.


Strangers on a Train, Film Noir. Thriller, Alfred Hitchcock, Patricia Highsmith, trains in movies, 1951, Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker, Leo G. Carroll, Pat Hitchcock, Laura Elliott. Penn Station, Congressional Limited, Pullman Company, Pennsylvania Railroad
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