Terror Train 1980


20th Century Fox

A slasher movie on a train where no one can get away?  Cool!  I remember seeing this one on TV many times growing up (with the more gory details edited out and lots and lots of commercials).  When I finally purchased the DVD and sat down to watch, it turned out be  a surprisingly suspenseful and enjoyable movie! (Plus I couldn’t remember whodunit…)

Anyway.  Everything is filmed at night, so the train scenes are rather dark both inside and out.  The locomotive used (Canadian Pacific 1293, a Class G-5d 4-6-2 product of Canadian Locomotive Company, Ltd.) is still in operating condition and in the fabulous collection of Jerry Jacobson in Ohio:



CP 1293 steps smartly across a steel bridge in Quebec with its trainload of no-doubt terrified passengers.


The members of Sigma Phi Omega (signify nothing) and their sorority sweethearts prepare to board Terror Train at what appears to be a small suburban station stop near Montreal.

For the movie, CP 1293 was renumbered 1881 and the rolling stock repainted in a ghostly black and silver scheme.  (1881 will display the same if the film is reversed.)

The engine and passenger cars were brought up from F. Nelson Blount’s Steamtown collection in Vermont.  Filming was primarily on lines outside of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The director chose not to use CP 1293’s chime whistle, instead substituting a European-style banshee steam whistle — which sounds like a scream.  If you watch the movie trailer, you can briefly hear 1293’s actual whistle.

There is a very good behind-the-train-scenes description by Frederick G. Bailey here:



Conductor Ben Johnson talks it over with a very young magician, David Copperfield; Ben Johnson calls, “All Aboard”.  I think that is scream queen Jamie Lee Curtis to the right.  Her mouth is open already.


David Copperfield shows Jamie Lee Curtis the “cigarette thru a quarter” trick.  Lots of blood, but we DO get a good look at a standard roomette sink, apple-green walls, etc…


A good peek at the engineer in the cab of 1293 talking to his conductor on the phone. This runby past an icy cliff was used several times during the film.


Conductor Ben about to discover another victim — nice view of curtains/ladder in hallway of a “section” sleeper.  Unloading the passengers to try and figure out who’s generating all the carnage.


I love actor Hart Bochner’s contemptuous sneer.  The bad boy of the picture, he has smugly locked himself in his bedroom.  Naturally, the slasher soon offs him.


Lookit how far open Jamie Lee can get her mouth!  She wasn’t called the “Queen of Scream” for nothing.  With clenched teeth, Jamie Lee hoses the mad killer down with fire extinguisher stuff!!


Oh no!  Is it the CONDUCTOR who’s the slasher?  No matter…the villian is presently dispatched from the train into the conveniently-provided river gorge below.  Or is he?  They must have done several takes — notice all the footprints in the snow.


A final coming and going view of our terrifying train before the credits roll.  I love those circular windows in the last car.

See what IMDb has to say about Terror Train:

If you have ANY information about this movie, please contact me at:


About Lindsay Korst

Webmaster, Blogmaster, Ferroequinologist - Lindsay Korst works for a nationwide home improvement center after a 20+ year career supporting computer users. A resident of the Seattle area since 1976, he has had a life-long interest in railroads, particularly those in the Pacific Northwest. He is an enthusiastic participant in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. He and his wife reside in Redmond, Washington.
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