Map of the railroad lines around Hill Valley.

" "Mr. Eastwood," Seamus suggested, "why don't you sleep her tonight, and tomorrow — well, I can't take you all the way into town, but I'll take you as far as the railroad tracks, and you can follow them to town." / That was awfully nice of them. But Marty didn't want to be a bother. / "Hey, look," he said, "I don't want to put you out. I'll walk. No problem." / "Sure'n he can walk," Maggie agreed. "It's only fourteen miles." / Marty looked at Mrs. McFly. / "Did you say fourteen miles?" / He could feel his feet ache already."
—From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 60)
" Luckily for Marty, Seamus's generosity had won out over Maggie's practicality, and he's gotten a ride to the railroad tracks. Instead of having fourteen miles to go, now he only had six. Six miles wouldn't be that bad, would it? / Marty looked down the tracks, a set of red iron bars that looked like they met on the horizon — a horizon that didn't show any sign of the town of Hill Valley. He realized there was only one way to find out how long six miles could be. / Marty started to walk down the railroad tracks."
—From Back to the Future Part III by Craig Shaw Gardner (quote, page 61)

The Central Pacific Railroad (1862-1891) was the railroad company that transported passengers across California.


The Central Pacific Railroad made stops in Hill Valley, Fresno, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California. Locomotive 131 belonged to the Central Pacific Railroad. After spending his first night in 1885 at the McFly Farm, Marty followed the railroad tracks the next morning to get to Hill Valley.

As well as the main line, this railroad also had a spur that ran to Shonash Ravine. It was a long, straight, level track that was used by the train that Dr. Emmett Brown and Marty "borrowed" to push the DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour before falling off the unfinished bridge and plunging into the ravine. After the bridge was completed in 1886, the spur continued on the other side of the ravine, and was still in use in 1985.

Behind the scenes[]

  • In 1885, the Central Pacific was under the operation of the Southern Pacific Railway, but the Central Pacific name wasn't dropped until 1891 when it was fully merged with the Southern Pacific. San Francisco was the end of the line, and just after Sacramento was a stop at a town named Lathrop. Lathrop is Doc's middle name as revealed in the animated series.[1]