Elgin, Ill. - May 12
There was a flurry of activity at the Coles County Fairgrounds on May 4 as "Those Train People" prepared to display the Lincoln Funeral Car for three days in Charleston, Ill.
More than 1,400 area students toured the car between Tuesday and Thursday. On each of those days, students gathered around the Funeral Car's platform to first hear from John Hay, one of Mr. Lincoln's private secretaries (portrayed by LFT Volunteer Dale Moorhouse). "Mr. Hay" gave students a short presentation about the car and its important role in the nation's history. Then it was time for the young people to step aboard -- and back in time -- as LFT Volunteer Bob Wonderling answered questions and guided them through the day's living history lesson.
On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, the Funeral Car was also open for public tours. Nearly 3,500 citizens and visitors to Coles County immersed themselves in the world of April/May 1865, filing quietly past a replica of President Lincoln's coffin and admiring both the craftsmanship and dedication that is evident throughout this one-of-a-kind tribute to American history.
Special thanks to Diane Ratliff, Rob Ulm and the many Coles County residents and volunteers who made our first tour stop a truly memorable one. We look forward to visiting Charleston again.
Crowds gather to see the Lincoln Funeral Car in Springfield, Ill., May 1.
Elgin, Ill. - May 8
By midday Friday, May 1 a sizeable crowd had gathered at the Amtrak station in downtown Springfield. They watched as a crane first offloaded the four trucks (rail wheel sets) bearing red-and-blue pedestals and polished brass eagles from a flatbed trailer and gingerly set them in place on temporary track. Every so often a train would go by on the mainline not 20 feet away, its whistle reminding everyone of the weekend’s significance.
Then the crowds were ushered to a safe distance and the crane began its most delicate work of the day – lifting a replica of the rail car that carried President Lincoln’s body home and joining it to the rail wheels for an historic display. Throughout the remainder of Friday and well into the wee hours of Saturday morning, people came to see the car, ask questions of the crew and, of course, take photos.
Upon fulfillment of our obligations Saturday morning, the crane returned and the car was prepared for transport to the Crowne Plaza hotel, where it was officially opened to the public. Sunday saw two tour groups and hundreds of visitors tour the car, as it remained at Crowne Plaza through early evening.
Our visit to Springfield was a success and was the ideal start to our 2015 tour. We would like to thank the following individuals and organizations, for without their support we would not have been able to debut the Lincoln Funeral Car in Springfield:
Elgin, Ill. - May 22
Just over one year ago Leviathan No. 63 won the hearts of many northern Ohioans when she steamed along the Lorain & West Virginia line at Wellington. The event went over so well, in fact, that Lakeshore Railway Association was eager to host not only Leviathan but the entire Lincoln Funeral Train this Memorial Day weekend. As we prepare for what will no doubt be another successful outing for "United States," Lakeshore Railway Assocition will also earn bragging rights as the first location where Leviathan will operate as part of the entire Funeral Train display.
Lincoln Funeral Train Volunteer Dale Moorhouse, who portrays John Hay, one of Mr. Lincoln’s private secretaries, will once again offer in-character presentations about the train and Mr. Lincoln's commitment to railroad expansion.
Wellington will be our final tour stop in May. More information about this event, including ride times and tickets, can be found at lsra.org.
Donations still needed for Lincoln Funeral Car
Our tour is off to a flying start, but there is still work to do. Builder Dave Kloke hopes to improve upon the Lincoln Funeral Car's already impressive historical accuracy by adding a period wood stove and the crew needs to make some minor adjustments that will allow for easier loading and unloading. In addition, our long-term goal is to complete another passenger car that will serve as an educational space.
Historic Railroad Equipment Association is a registered nonprofit, so your contribution is tax-deductible and will be used to improve and maintain this one-of-a-kind example of living history.
Please see our donations page for information about how to share in our Journey into History.
Thank you for your support!
LFT Volunteer Dale Moorhouse (portraying John Hay) addresses students and visitors during our recent stop in Charleston, Ill. See the local coverage here!
"Those Train People" - A project of
The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train
People wait in line to tour the Lincoln Funeral Car in Ashland, Ohio. See the local coverage here! (Photo taken from the Leviathan 63 by crew member Jim Somerville.)
Elgin, Ill. - June 24
Leviathan #63 made repeat visit to Galesburg (Ill.) Railroad Days last month,accompanied this time by the Lincoln Funeral Car.
Miss your chance to grab an official Lincoln Funeral Train T-shirt at one of our events? No worries! This summer we're building an online version of our Leviathan Store. Check back here for updates!
Visitors wait to tour the Lincoln coach in Painesville, Ohio.
Elgin, Ill. - July 1
It has been a wild and wonderful two months on the road and, while we love sharing the Lincoln Funeral Train will all of you, our crew is taking a well-earned break during July.
Since May 3, more than 15,000 people have toured the Lincoln Funeral Car in six Midwestern cities. That's a lot of moving, cleaning, packing and unpacking! We will be back on the road in August, when we will visit the North Carolina Transportation Museum. In the meantime, if you're curious about just how our crew members work their magic so you can step back in time aboard the Lincoln Funeral Train, check out this wonderful aerial video, courtesy of B LPHOTO.
Elgin, Ill. - May 18
Ashland, Ohio earned a notable title this week as the first community to host the entire 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train – locomotive, tender and Lincoln Funeral Car. More than 600 area students and several thousand other guests got an up-close look at Leviathan No. 63, our Civil War-era steam locomotive, and “United States,” the recently completed rail car that offers visitors a chance to experience what it was like to file past President Abraham Lincoln’s coffin in 1865.
Lincoln Funeral Train Volunteer Dale Moorhouse, who portrays John Hay, one of Mr. Lincoln’s private secretaries, was on hand to offer in-character presentations about the train. By early evening on both display days, the line of people eager to immerse themselves in living history stretched far beyond the car and into the Ahsland County Fairgrounds parking lot.
“This is incredible; what a wonderful experience for the community,” said David Kloke, builder of the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to share this train with so many people. And we’re just getting started!”
The train will next visit Wellington, Ohio, where that location will also receive a 2015 “first” – the locomotive will operate for the first time this year. Tours of the Lincoln Funeral Car will also be available. You can find out more about this event at lsra.org, and remember to keep checking the Lincoln Funeral Train schedule; we’re still adding events for 2015!
Check out the new video footage!
Elgin, Ill. - June 8
More than 5,000 people turned out to see the Lincoln Funeral Train in Painesville, Ohio during its June 6-7 visit. President-elect Lincoln's inaugural train passed through the northern Ohio community in 1861 and, four years later, his body once again passed through aboard "United States," the rail car that was to have served as his state coach but instead earned a much more solemn place in American history.
Thank you to Tom Pescha and all the volunteers who helped make this event a memorable one. Sincere thanks as well to Painesville residents and visitors -- many of whom patiently waited over an hour to tour the Lincoln Funeral Car. You are why we do this.
Local coverage of the event can be found at http://www.news-herald.com/general-news/20150607/lincoln-train-car-generates-big-crowds
Our next appearance will be at Galesburg (Ill.) Railroad Days.