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THE 1947 - 1949 FREEDOM TRAIN

GIVING WHEELS TO THE DREAM

It surprises many people to learn that the 1947 Freedom Train was not a government project.

Certainly, it could not have happened without impetus, encouragement and support from the Truman Administration and others in Washington. But the train was funded and operated by a nonprofit national organization, created to produce the most important part of the National Rededication effort.

That group was the American Heritage Foundation, and their task was without precedent in all of history. Never before had any nation contemplated sending on tour its most precious treasures, its most important national symbols. Not only was that the task, but safeguarding the irreplaceable objects and providing for their interpretation to those who would see them were also necessary.

If you doubt the ability of those chosen to achieve the task, read on.

The cooperation, participation and enthusiasm of the railroads was crucial -- and the rail industry delivered in every way:

The brand-new PA-1 locomotive:

The American Locomotive Company (ALCO) of Schenectady, New York, had agreed since the inception of the idea to furnish the train's motive power. This pledge supplied the legendary PA-1, co-built with General Electric.

The train's seven cars:

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway loaned a baggage car for the train's equipment car. The Pennsylvania Railroad loaned the cars that would become the Freedom Train's three display cars, and the Pullman Company lent the three cars that would accommodate the staff for the journey.

The individual railroads and the Association of American Railroads cooperated fully in meeting the train's need for frequent interchange and priority over the regular traffic of each railroad to meet its display schedule. The train ran on 52 different railroads and had Presidential priority.

Distinct professional design:

ALCO assigned talented young designer Chester Mack to design the train's presentation scheme. Defying all conventions of the sooty, coal-smoke world of 1940's railroading, Mack selected white as the principal color for the train, with red and blue striping, rather than the obvious choice of dark blue with red and white stripes.

The sparkling train that resulted was stunning.

Text by Mr.Larry Wines.

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