Dexter Filming Locations: The Train Car


The location: The Train Car.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A railroad car.

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. On the tracks in an industrial area of Miami, littered with steel girders and gravel.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 6 (of Season 2), "Dex, Lies & Videotape".

    The police, who are hunting for the "Bay Harbor Butcher" (Dexter), get a call from an ex-con named John Henry, saying he has just escaped from the "Butcher".

    Dexter knows it wasn't really him, of course.

    When they get there, the man says that the "Butcher" knocked him out, and when he woke up, he was tied up in a train car. He slipped out of the ropes and escaped.

    Dexter is asked by Lundy to check out the interior of the train car. From the evidence (such as rope), Lundy concludes that it probably wasn't the "Butcher", but rather a copycat vigilante inspired by him.

    Later, Angel tracks down a suspect, one Ken Olson, who had a personal grudge with the train car victim.

    Dexter realizes that if the vigilante crime goes unsolved, Lundy will bring in the Feds and make his life more complicated, so he breaks into Olson's house, looking for evidence so Lundy can put him away.

    Once inside, he finds proof that Olson is the copycat vigilante. But when Olson unexpectedly comes home, Dexter takes him captive and Olson admits to several past murders.

    He wakes up inside the same train car, plastic-wrapped to Dexter's killing table.

    We see the train car again when the police return there, after dark, and discover the dismembered remains of Olson.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. A train car.

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. This scene was shot on the tracks near the south end of Miner Street, about half a mile south of the intersection of Miner & 22nd Street, in the Los Angeles harbor at San Pedro. That jetty of land is located between the Cabrillo Marina on the west and the Ports O'Call area to the east.

    Here is an aerial photo of the location. And here is a map link.

    To give you a sense of direction, the camera is looking east as Dexter's minivan pulls onto the scene (second photo from the top).

    Use of a long lens results in foreshortening, which makes the buildings in the background to appear much closer than they really are. Those warehouses and that water tower you see in the background (in the third photo from the top) are actually across the channel, on Signal Street.

    ( Although it isn't visible in the scene, there is a small boat marina along the west side of Miner Street on this otherwise industrial wharf, just a few yards west of the filming location. )

    Don't bother trying to drive down Miner Street to the location to sight-see. Not only is it a somewhat rough, industrial area, but an opaque fence separates Miner Street from the train tracks (to the east) where they filmed the scene, and a gate stops you from veering east to the filming location. (Although I did get a kick out of a sign on a modest building along the way on Miner Street that read: "Dill Pickle Yacht Club".)

    ( They shot a number of other scenes in San Pedro for the second season, including the gang murder, the tagger scene, Little Chino's party house, and Paul's funeral church.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. It was difficult, but eventually the items visible in the background gave away the location.

    In one scene, you can glimpse the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the background (to the left, in the fourth photo down), which told me it was somewhere in San Pedro. Then it was just a matter of searching the wharf area for the right combination of railroad tracks, warehouses, steel girders and a water tower - all visible in the scene. It took a lot of time, but I eventually tracked it down.

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