Nevada trains featured in national commercial |

Nevada trains featured in national commercial

by F.T. Norton
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Paul Miller walks across the tracks at the Nevada State Museum during filming Friday.

Magnetic strips and actors in vintage clothing transformed the Nevada State Railroad Museum tracks and trains into the Golden Spike of 1869 for a national commercial set to air Dec. 26.

“We’re fortunate we knew of this wonderful resource,” said Art Miller, railroad coordinator for Pytka Productions. “We looked around at a dozen places. Some had better scenery, some had one piece of equipment, but here they had it all.”

The company from Venice, Calif., with its 30 crew members and more than 16 extras, spent the day recreating the Golden Spike for a General Electric prime-time commercial. The Golden Spike ceremony happened on May 10, 1869, when officials of the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad met in Promontory, Utah, to drive four symbolic spikes. The meeting of these two railroads meant the joining of a continent.

A confidentiality agreement signed Thursday between the state-owned museum and the production company precluded museum Director Peter Barton from discussing what the commercial will advertise. He said it will be aired during prime time and he believes the budget is in excess of $1 million.

The state is receiving about $10,000 for the day-long use of the grounds and equipment, Barton said.

Sixteen extras, mostly museum volunteers, were used in the commercial. They received a fee for their involvement, Barton said.

“The key thing here is that this shows that this museum is not only an asset to tourists, but also to the motion picture and production industry,” Miller said. “The economic impact of this one day is probably about $30,000.”

Calling it “movie magic,” Barton said Locomotives No. 8 and 22 had their identifying marks covered with magnetic placards that turned them into the steam locomotives “Jupiter” and “119” which met during the historic 1869 gathering.

Despite the nearly 12 hours of shooting, Barton said he’s not sure what status the trains will have in the finished product. Shooting for the commercial has taken place at various locations across the United States, he said.

“This one day of shooting will probably end up being 10 seconds on television,” he joked.

Today, when the Santa Train runs at the museum, Locomotive No. 22 Inyo will still be wearing a magnet making it the 119, Barton said.

“We are keeping them, and we’re leaving them on for the Santa Train. It’s just something different,” he said.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.