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President Gerald R. Ford inaugurates the
American Freedom Train
December 19, 1974
at Alexandria, VA.

Speaking from 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.

"This exhibit 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 really represents."

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.

Photo: Ford Presidential Library collection.

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The 1975-1976 Bicentennial American Freedom Train1976 American Freedom Train Timeline1976 American Freedom Train Roster1976 American Freedom Train Galleries1976 American Freedom Train MemorabiliaForumStoreNewsLinksContact
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