Gerald R. Ford inaugurates the
American Freedom Train
December 19, 1974
at Alexandria, VA.
the platform of the former Preamble Express, Ford dedicates the
train to the American people and wishes it well as it prepares for
its journey across the nation.
touches virtually every phase of the American experience... I see
the Bicentennial of 1976 as a rebirth as well as a birthday -- a
rediscovery of our strength and of our potential... This American
Freedom Train will be a fitting symbol for what the Bicentennial
Later in the
ceremony Ford presented George Washington's copy of the Constitution
to Donald Kendall, Chairman of PepsiCo and Co-Chairman of the National
Advisory Board of the AFT Foundation. The document would later be
displayed on the train.
The four cars
of the Preamble Express had already made two transcontinental trips
on a reconnaissance tour for the AFT. Soon they would be incorporated
into the Freedom Train itself, serving as a dining car (affectionately
known to the staff as the "pie car"), a parlor car, hospitality
car and press car.
All four cars
still exist today - one (lounge) at Squamish, BC Canada, the pie
car at the Prince George Railway Museum in BC, Canada, and two --
including the observation car -- at Elbe, Washington.
Presidential Library collection.