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Pacific Coast Railway on Film

Diamond Jim

A 1935 Film featuring the Original PCRy

The 1935 motion picture Diamond Jim featured scenes shot on the original Pacific Coast Railway, which ran from San Luis Obispo in the north to Avila/Port San Luis and Los Olivos in the south. PCRy Nos. 106 and 110, both Consolidations, are featured. Here is a clip from YouTube showing a staged collision to test the durability of the "first steel passenger coach," filmed near what is now the city corporation yard south of Prado Road in San Luis Obispo. In actuality, the "steel" coach is a PCRy wooden coach (103) masqueraded with fiberboard and fake rivets. The wrecked wooden coach (101) had been structurally weakened for the wreck while the 103 was anchored to the rails.

The diamond stacks and square headlights on the locomotives are also, of course, fake. No. 106 was destroyed three years later after being hit broadside by a gasoline truck and consumed by the resulting fire.

the film is starring Hollywood's most unheralded leading actor of the 1930's into the 1940's, Edward Arnold. Frank Capra's favorite villan (see Meet John Doe and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). He billed above Cary Grant in The Toast Of New York.