The American Freedom Train toured the country in 1975–1976 to commemorate the United States Bicentennial.Within the train’s 10 display cars, converted from New York Central and Penn Central baggage cars, were over 500 precious treasures of Americana. Included in these diverse artifacts were George Washington's copy of the Constitution, the original Louisiana Purchase, Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of Oz, Joe Frazier's boxing trunks, Martin Luther King's pulpit and robes, and even a rock from the moon.
The train was pulled by three locomotives including the SP’s #4449, pictured above, which is now owned by the city of Portland and which I had the distinct pleasure of working on for one day tracking down a steam leak. Honestly when I entered the Brooklyn Roundhouse and saw the engine, I broke down and cried. It was so beautiful and it just destroyed me that somebody out there cared enough to preserve it. The guys at the shop seemed to understand: I think they’d seen it before.
The Virginia & Truckee railroad had a McKeen motorcar to offer passenger service without the expense of running a full train locomotive. The portholes were designed in imitation of ocean liners, which were the ultimate in luxury travel in those times. Old car #22 later ended up as the Super Chief diner in Carson City, Nevada, later to become Al’s Plumbing Supply before being donated to the Nevada State Rail Museum where it has been restored. Check out that rear lounge!
Go for a ride May 10th in Carson City Nevada!