North East Rails
History of the 1947 Freedom Train
Original Freedom Train with an Honor Guard Detachment of 29 United States Marines in their dress blues who guarded the train and served as interpreters. The Red, White and Blue Diesel Electric Streamliner traveled on a 37,160-mile tour which began in Philadelphia on September 17, 1947, travelling to all 48 states, and ended on January 22, 1949 in Washington D.C. It was the only train-set ever to operate in every state, operating on 52 different railroads. Over 3 million people went aboard the Train during its stops in 326 cities and towns across the land. At many of the stops, people waited in line more than six hours to go aboard. The highest single-day attendance was 14,615. The Freedom Train housed America's most precious documents and other national treasures, including the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, one of the 13 original copies of the Constitution, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, the Iwo Jima flag, the German and Japanese surrender documents that ended World War II, a precious original of the Magna Carta, written in 1215.
The red,white and blue locomotive, a 2000 h.p. Alco-GE PA-1 numbered 1776 (b/n 74696, 8/47), was sold to Gulf, Mobile & Ohio in 3/49 and became GM&O 292. When it was retired and traded in to EMD in the early 1960's, the commemorative Freedom Train plaques it had carried were saved, and are at the Casey Jones Museum in the former GM&O shop town of Jackson, Tennessee (901) 668-1222. The train opened in Philadelphia and left September 17, 1947. - BILL FARMER email@example.com
From John F. ("Fritz") Milhaupt:
PRR donated 3 of their P70R celestory-roofed cars, which were returned to their original appearence after the Freedom Train. Blardone & Tilp's "Pennsylvania Railroad Passenger Car Painting and Lettering" has a photo of the train, and lists the consist as follows.
All passenger cars were heavyweights:
1. ATSF Baggage Car #1896
2-4. Pennsy P70R coaches #3465, 3489 and 3510, with windows plated over. (historic document display cars)
5-6. Pullman 6 compartment/3 double bedroom sleepers "Glen Fee" and "Penn Square"
7. Pullman 3 compartment/2 drawing room/observation/lounge "Central Plains"
The Pullmans were used to carry and house the Marine Corps guards and the site managers who accompanied the train.
|Photos by James L. Armitage|
ALCo PA-1 - Delivered new from Schenectady; built 8/47, B/N 74696; Sold to the GM&O in March, 1949 as their #292. GM&O #292 was retired in the early 1960s.
Santa Fe Baggage Car # 1896 - Carried supplies & equipment; Returned to ATSF in February or March, 1949.
Pennsy P-70R coaches #3465, 3489 and 3510 - Displayed historical documents and memorabilia; Returned to Pennsy in February or March, 1949. Restored to their regular appearance and returned to regular service.
All provided by Pullman to house and transport the Marine Corps guards who accompanied the train.
I strongly recommend the 17-page article by Mary Jayne and John Z. Rowe in the July/August/September 1997 issue of "The Railroad Press" (Published by The Railroad Press, 1150 Carlisle St., Suite #444, Hanover, PA 17331-1100).
John F. ("Fritz") Milhaupt, Webmaster of the Pere Marquette Historical Society Web
|Home Site Map Search Contact|
North East Rails © Clint Chamberlin.