Before commercial flights became common in the 1950s, BNSF predecessor Santa Fe Railway’s “Super Chief” was the main transportation for Hollywood’s stars. The Super Chief was the railroad’s premiere Pullman sleeping car train that ran daily from Chicago to Los Angeles.
With West Coast terminals in California, top-notch service and train cars completed with air conditioning, gourmet meals and private bedrooms, the luxury train became a hit with celebrities. Guests like Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra and Bette Davis helped the Super Chief become known as the “Train of the Stars.”
In addition to celebrity passengers, movies, television shows and commercials have been made about the railroad or were filmed on railroad property. In 1939, the western film “Dodge City” debuted in Dodge City, Kansas, along the original Santa Fe Transcon mainline. A few years later, Judy Garland starred in the MGM film “The Harvey Girls,” an adaptation of a Harvey hotel/restaurant operation set in the Southwest.
Read more about how BNSF and Hollywood’s histories intersect here.