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Saving AFT #111

Only one former AFT car that over 7 million Americans passed through has escaped the scrapper's torch.

If you visited the AFT, you walked through half of this car. As did Hank Aaron, Buzz Aldrin, Walter Mondale, Alf Landon, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, the Apollo-Soyuz Cosmonauts, John Wayne, Lady Bird Johnson, and dozens of other luminaries.

This car served as the "exit" car on the AFT and was also one of two cars supplying electrical power for the AFT's trainset. (It served the same role on the 'Discovery Train' for the National Museums of Canada immediately following its service on the AFT.) It was the last car that millions of Americans and Canadians passed through on their trips through each train.

The car has seen all 48 contiguous states and every province in Canada with tracks (coming within 600 miles of the arctic circle at Churchill, Manitoba) -- not bad for a car that started life as a lowly baggage car -- one of dozens of identical cars built by American Car & Foundry for the New York Central Railroad.

If there is a better-traveled railcar in the world, we'd like to know about it!

Please email if you know the original car number from its days on the New York Central.

 
 

The car is seen here at Omaha in May, 2001.

With the help of the Museum of America's Freedom Trains, the car is now with the Pacific Railway Preservation Association in Portland, OR.

Upper two photos: Mr. Dave Varilek at Omaha, NE ~2002.

Thanks go to the following for helping make preservation of the car a reality (and saving a significant part of North American railroading history in the process!):

Walter Ferguson, major contributor
Mary Jayne and John Rowe, major contributors
Bobby Skillman, AFT alumni, contributor
Bob Sowers, AFT alumni, contributor
Bill and Tina Hoban, Bill is AFT alumni, contributors
Al Phillips, AFT alumni, contributor
Tracy Shaw, AFT alumni, contributor

 
 

Charles Hepperle, MAFT supporter, contributor
Skip Waters, event organizer, 25th anniversary of the AFT in Texas, contributor
Tom Irion, AFT 4449 volunteer, contributor
Carol & Bob Patterson, contributors
Kevin & Brenda Anderson, contributors
Dave Varilek, Empire Builder Private Cars, who made the car available after acquiring it from the Union Pacific!!
Terry Kimzey, for the PRPA (and for a LOT of hard work and problem solving).
Larry Wines, MAFT founder
Todd Schannuth, negotiations

Photo: Todd Schannuth. Fremont, NE. February 2003.

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