Hello Dolly 1969

20th Century Fox

Well HELLO, Dolly! Pennsylvania Railroad #1223, a D16sb class 4-4-0 stars in this splashy, lavishly-costumed musical. Built in 1905 at Pennsy’s Juniata Shops in Altoona, PA for passenger service, this Belpaire-fireboxed beauty was painted up as New York Central & Hudson River Railroad (NYC&HR) #15 for the movie.

Along with a string of passenger cars, the high-stepping PRR #1223 was borrowed from excursion service at Strasburg Railroad and towed to Penn Central’s ex-NYC Hudson River line (east bank) for filming.

In addition to the opening credits, NYC&HR #15 and train featured prominently in a musical number 34 minutes into the picture. More about that later. All Aboard for Yonkers!

NYC&HR #15 struts her stuff along the Hudson River as small boys wave at the fireman in this nicely-framed shot.

It’s 1890 in New York City as the movie opens on the Fox backlot. In shot are three horse-drawn trolleys as well as an elevated railway in the distance. A close up view of a Metropolitan New York Line horse car as Matchmaker Dolly Levi (played by Barbra Streisand) passes out cards.


Dolly sashays down the platform at Grand Central Terminal about to board the train to Yonkers. Train “details” abound — loading the baggage car (curiously located mid-train), de rigueur baggage cart, candlestick posts on the pilot of NYC&HR #15, and the ornate station itself – Poughkeepsie Metro-North!

Many thanks to Craig Leask and his very helpful blog post on Hello Dolly. The following paragraph is lifted directly from his post, as I couldn’t write it any better than his words:

“The opening train station scenes were filmed at the Poughkeepsie Metro-North station. This building, constructed in 1918, was designed to be a miniature version of New York City’s Grand Central Station. The historic building retains its 1918 architectural style and was deemed ideal for the use in the movie of its ticket windows and track side platforms to introduce Dolly and her trade in the musical number “Just Leave Everything to Me”.”


Finally at 6 1/2 minutes in, the opening credits begin:

  • 1. Overhead view of the train crossing a bridge.
  • 2. Spuyten Duyvil? What’s a Spuyten Duyvil?
  • 3. Passing under an arch stone bridge, #15 smokes a horse and buggy.
  • 4. Two spooning lovers ignore the passing 3 car consist at Breakneck Ridge tunnels.

Also, a nod to Louis Armstrong in the above image. The Great Satchmo.


More views along the Hudson.

  • 1. There’s no mistaking that squared-off Belpaire boiler in this classic fireman pose.
  • 2. Well-framed view as the train coasts past a tugboat.
  • 3. Close up of the cosmetic box fitted around the Pennsy-style high headlight.
  • 4. Dolly’s train pulls into Yonkers, NY.

A good chunk of the movie left off HERE

Now 34 minutes into the film, Dolly and ensemble prance about during the “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” bit. Garrison, New York stood in for Yonkers including the 1892-built depot. The building still exists, however, Metro-North (the commuter line) built a new station just to the south.


Charging out of the Garrison tunnel, NYC&HR #15 and train swoop beneath an overpass and come to a stop at the Garrison/Yonkers station. I like that superfluous Yonkers sign on the left. Now southbound towards New York, the railroad has tacked on an extremely snazzy, open-air observation car on the rear end.


A couple views from the fireman’s side show the 4 car train now with the baggage car in the “proper position” behind the tender. Look at all that detail to the left of the locomotive — Fox spent some serious coin decorating the town of Garrison to fit the 1890’s motif.

Engineer’s side camera shows the #15 coming to a stop with the “Hello Dolly” car spotted perfectly for the passengers to board.

How to board so many people, quickly? Why, two trainmen simply throw a couple levers and just like that, you have side steps to get on. Pretty cool, huh?


Charge!!! A cast of hundreds in period costume lunge for the last car. Note the beautiful fixtures and upholstery inside the Hello Dolly.

Close up view of the observation platform that pulls back to reveal a drumhead labeled, “New York Central & Hudson River” in script lettering. Look at all that fancy red pin striping!

The pull back turns into a very tall crane shot, which gives us a great view of Yonkers/Garrison and the Hudson River.

The rest of the movie left off HERE

Pennsy #1223 is still with us at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (across the street from Strasburg Railroad). The 4-4-0 was used on Strasburg excursion trains from 1965 to 1989 when it was given back to R.M. of PA and placed on static display.

Here’s what IMDb has to say about Hello Dolly:
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064418/

If you have ANY information about this movie you’d like to share, please contact me at: Lindsay.Korst@gmail.com, or leave a comment.  Thanks and enjoy the blog!

THE END

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