• funeral trains since RFK: anywhere, anytime

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by dt_rt40
The recent media attention on the 50th anniversary of JFK's death got me reading about that of his brother Robert. I had known generally of the RFK funeral train but had never read much about it and of the tragic accident at Elizabeth, where spectators were hit by a northbound train. Searching railroad.net, I found out that a funeral train ran this year for former Senator Lautenberg of NJ.
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I also know that the Royals in the UK have typically had them...but not recently. Presumable when ER II passes away, that will be a very big deal for the UK and might warrant one.

So my question is...other than Lautenberg's, has there been a funeral train, anywhere in the US on any railroad...of a public figure. Certainly, as a reader and watcher of media since the late 80s, I don't recall ever hearing of such a thing. If you google it, you get so many links pertaining to Lincoln or Kennedy it's hard to find anything useful. The wikipedia article, interestingly, focuses on the mortuary trains in London that offered suburban burial to the middle classes of a burgeoning Victorian populace.
  by Freddy
I don't know of any since I starting working in 74, if that helps.
  by edbear
Yes. A funeral train brought President Eisenhower's remains and the funeral party from Washington to Kansas in late March-early April, 1969. There was one interesting sidelight. One of the Nixon daughters was not big on train travel and was apparently climbing the walls of her drawing room on the way back to Washington. So she was hustled off the train in Indiana somewhere and flown back to DC. This was written up in TRAINS MAGAZINE some years back.
  by edbear
Another one. Paul Cherington was President of the Boston & Maine for a short time about 1973. He had previously been a B & M bankruptcy Trustee. He had a much younger spouse (not the first one) and he died at about age 60. His funeral train consisted of RDCs, 6212 with the kitchenette, was one of them. His ashes were brought on the funeral train and they were scattered on some family owned real estate in Meriden, NH (It's near Lebanon).
  by dt_rt40
Thanks Edbear. You know something funny...I knew about the Eisenhower one, but assumed it was before Robert Kennedy's. For some reason I thought Eisenhower had died relatively soon after the end of his presidency...I might have been confusing him with Johnson who died only 4 years after the end of his term.
So Eisenhower was the last major public one of the 1960s, until Frank Lautenberg's. Interesting about Paul Cherington but the president of a regional railroad wouldn't quite reach my criteria for notability.
  by edbear
An RDC train bearing remains and a funeral party certainly was unusual.