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Nostalgia & History > Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .

Date: 03/24/10 05:09
Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: SCKP187

My dad was a brakeman on the Eisenhower Funeral Train, Union Pacific from Kansas City to Abilene, Although I don't remember if he was on the pilot train or the casket train.
While this was quite an honor for him, there were some behind-the-scene requirements that went on as well
*Honorable discharge from a service branch (Navy)
*Background check by Secret Service
*Not just a cleaned uniform, a new uniform
I don't know about all across the route, But I do remember hearing that on the KP route plans were made to spike all switches ahead of the trains and that National Guard was posted on every bridge to avoid any attempt at foul play. These trains did not stop at Junction City for the engine crew change, running straight through with the KC crew using some sort of an official (RFE?) as a pilot.
Attached is a copy of the orders put out for this movement. No. 18 is eastbound Portland Rose, No. 17 is westbound Portland Rose.

On another note, my dad was the conductor on the passenger train that filmed "The Gypsy Moths" in Abilene. The scene is at the very end of the movie with the train westbound crossing Buckeye St. approaching the platform and stops, my dad puts the foot stool on the platform and actor Scott Wilson (Heat of the Night - In Cold Blood - and recently Sam Braun in CSI Las Vegas) boards the train, foot stool goes into the vestibule and dad waves a highball with his lantern (this is a night scene) and away they go. Dad told me they made 3 runs at it, first time they didn't stop in the right place to satisfy the director, second time was good, so they did it one more time so the director was sure he had everything he needed. Unfortunately, none of this is seen in the movie as it fades to black as the engine approaches the depot, but I can see his lantern about 4 cars back in the vestibule. Now that I have made a short story even longer, does anyone out there know about the rest of the crew. I have heard the some were from Kansas City, I don't know if any were from Salina like my dad.

Thanks for looking and listening.

Brian Stevens

Date: 03/24/10 05:12
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: SCKP187

the balance of the orders . . .

Date: 03/24/10 06:13
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: starsandbars

The Kansas Division of the UP had to spike all switches, hyrail daily until train passed, walk the track the day before and position sectionmen at all major road crossings, The also had small metal label flags and based on the color it was your security clearance. MofW officals had yellow and green stripes on thiers.

Date: 03/24/10 06:29
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: ddg

I attended Ike's funeral, Wish I could find some of the old photos my girlfriend & I took. A friend & fellow worker, Gary Lavendar was in the honor guard. He was a Santa Fe Switchman working at Newton when I first met him. He died in the ballast at Emporia a few years ago. He was working as a brakeman on the local, stepped out onto Main 2, & got hit by an eastbound "Z".

Date: 03/24/10 15:07
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: chico

I was a sophmore in high school. I remember that day, and where I was. Interesting to see it left KC in the wee hours.

Anyone know the route from the east, I assume Mopac from St. Louis. Or was it out of Chicago?

Thanks for posting these historical docs.

Edited to add, oops, I see in the post above that it was routed N&W into KC.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/24/10 15:08 by chico.

Date: 03/24/10 15:47
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: scottp

It was C&O from D.C. to Cincinnati, then B&O to St. Louis. C&O/B&O were affiliated by that time, and their officials (originally) took the family's desire for a low-key operation so far as to put out phony information that the train would go over the B&O out of D.C.! Then the true version came out, and many people saw the train pass over the C&O in the middle of the night.
He died just short of the 25th anniversary of D-Day, and I remember CBS re-ran the 1964 TV special "D-Day Plus 20" where Ike and Walter Cronkite visited Normandy.

Date: 03/24/10 19:28
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: starsandbars

When it passed thru Lawrence, Kansas must have been about 90 people that had waited hours to say good bye as the train slowed down and passed

Date: 03/25/10 10:48
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: switchlock

Ike's train is on my to do research list. If I ever do it, there are some neat details here that you guys provided. I was about 7 and vaguely remember Ike's passing but knew nothing of the train or services.

Date: 03/25/10 20:33
Re: Eisenhower Funeral Train Flimsies . . .
Author: 567Chant

I recall a somber, haunting head-on aerial photograph on the cover of 'Life' magazine.

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