JFK and RFK Funeral Trains/train orders

Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

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Postby pennsy » Thu Mar 22, 2007 5:25 pm

Hi Otto,

If you are still interested in paying homage to a fallen model RR colleague this suggestion might just be better in the long run.

I was in Las Vegas the evening that all of the Hotels and Casinos paid homage to Sammy Davis Jr. to honor him after his passing. In Las Vegas, the lights on all the Hotels and Casinos etc. light up the strip as if it were daylight. At midnight, for one minute, 60 seconds, every light on the strip was turned off. An awesome sight. You could have heard a pin drop. You might consider the same for your layout with your other colleagues.
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Postby motor » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:02 am

I was not quite seven years old in June 1968 and had never of Robert F. Kennedy until he died. I'd barely heard of JFK, the last president whose prescense in office is completely hearsay to me. I was too young to understand the meaning of RFK's death and at the time didn't know how either Kennedy died BION, much less the meaning of JFK's death. And I'd never heard of MLK, but I digress.

I never saw the RFK train in person. My mother (then in the middle of divorcing my father) and I watched on TV at my paternal grandparents' in Chester, PA. My maternal grandparents both died before I was born.

The camera at North Philadelphia was pointed up the track at the headlight which took forever to reach the station. I remember being fascinated (remember, I didn't understand the tragedy that had taken place) at the catenary towers, having developed a habit of drawing creative catenary towers, telephone poles, and power transmission towers on the blackboard in my grandparents' basement (what my father called my "office").

Finally the train crawled past and in the obs car there was the casket, visible through the window, and on the back porch, there was EMK, with Chappaquddick 13 months in the future, waving at the mourners crowding the North Philly platform.

The funny (not funny ha ha ha) thing is that we could have joined the crowd at Highland Avenue station 3 blocks from my grandparents to watch that train live. Sad history rolling by. But my mom's never been keen on fighting crowds and traffic.

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Postby Jersey Jeff » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:53 am

Here are some very moving photos of the RFK train from Paul Fusco’s excellent book, RFK Funeral Train.

Click here to read an excerpt from Robert Kennedy: His Life by Evan Thomas.
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Postby motor » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:00 pm

chuchubob wrote:Here's a recent photo of Pennsylvania 120.

http://www.transitspot.com/gallery2/v/u ... 03+23c.jpg

Bob


I clicked on the link and got Parse error: syntax error, unexpected $end in /home/transit/public_html/gallery2/g2data/smarty/templates_c/%%2267447690/%%E9^E95^E95855A0%%ImageFrameHead.tpl.php on line 6

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Postby motor » Sun Jul 08, 2007 9:37 am

Dieter wrote:A supervisor came up with the most delicate and correct solution for the situation; remove a side window in the car, and pass the casket through to it's pedestal. Great. Now the problem was it being a weekend, and finding the right workman (there was a Union issue as well) to do the job. Once they found the right guy(s) for the job, the state of relief was short lived. The man to do the job said he knew how to remove a window, but had to disappear to find the right tools to do the job...........


Wonder how many phone calls were made to that end?

Another unfortunate event during that trip was a man in Philadelphia or that area in Pennsylvania, was electrocuted as the train passed. He climbed up on a box car on an adjacent track for a better view, and made contact with the catenary.


*Fatally* electrocuted?

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Postby Ken W2KB » Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:46 pm

motor wrote:Another unfortunate event during that trip was a man in Philadelphia or that area in Pennsylvania, was electrocuted as the train passed. He climbed up on a box car on an adjacent track for a better view, and made contact with the catenary.


*Fatally* electrocuted?

motor


Electrocution is always fatal. The word is defined as death caused by electricity. So the victim here was cetainly shocked, and if fatal, also electrocuted.
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Postby Red Arrow Fan » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:58 pm

8222 wrote:I may be wrong, but I don't believe the RRs were involved with the JFK funeral. The body was flown from Dallas to DC and remained there.

With respect to RFK, PC participated in moving the body in the NE corridor - I don't recall whether it was to DC from NY(?) or the other way around. The funeral train power was a pair of GG1's and a second set of light GG1's preceded the train.

Again, this is from memory. Your best bet is to get a hold of an old Trains mag from 68.


The lead engine was Penn Central GG1 #4901. I have a photo that my dad took, I just need to get it uploaded. I also have a 2nd photo from that train - the last car going away from us (but it's not a closeup). The obs car was tuscan w/black roof. We saw the train in Sharon Hill, PA.


True story: The morning after RFK was assasinated, I woke up thinking "I just had a dream that RFK was assasinated!" Then I heard the news that he was. "What the hell?" Then I realized that I must have fallen asleep listening to the radio (late Phillies game, I guess), and was getting news stories pumped into my head as I slept.
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Postby JimBoylan » Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:21 pm

Red Arrow Fan wrote:The obs car was tuscan w/black roof.
It's now the Levin family's Pennsylvania 120.
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RFK Funeral Train

Postby C. Crane » Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:59 pm

The station platforms in Elizabeth at the time were high level.
Most movements that day were delayed or suspended, which is why the public wound up climbing down onto the tracks. There just were no trains coming. Why the authorities did not move them off the track... perhaps there were too many. Maybe they thought all traffic was suspended.

I was waiting alongside the ROW in Metuchen, for a very long time. I was 14 at the time. We saw the eastbound consist roll by, at maybe 60 MPH, it seemed odd, because for 2 hours prior there had been no movements, and in that era, there were always movements.

My brother and I held an American Flag, when the funeral train passed, nearly 45 min. after the ill-fated eastbound, several people on the rear platform, who appeared to be the older RFK children, looked and pointed towards us. You could clearly see the flag on his coffin inside, not far from the rear.
At some point a helicopter hovered overhead, and some time later I saw a picutre in LIFE, LOOK or TIME that I thought was us. I should try to find it.
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Platforms

Postby H.F.Malone » Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:49 pm

Sorry, but the only high level platforms on the PRR between Newark and Trenton in 1968 were at Newark, Rahway and Trenton. Elizabeth was low-level at the time, and the photos/film footage of the incident clearly show that.

Train movements were not suspended until after the people were struck at Elizabeth.
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Re: JFK and RFK Funeral Trains/train orders

Postby RFK Funeral Train » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:10 pm

Hello - I'm new to this board and, as you may be able to tell from my username, I have a very specific interest in Penn Central history.

I'm currently researching Senator Kennedy's funeral. The emphasis is on the train journey and that's where you guys may be able to help.

Essentially: I'm trying to locate people that came to see the Funeral Train on June 8th 1968. I would be very interested in hearing from those of you that have already posted that you witnessed this.

More specifically, though, I was hoping you may be able to help with regards information about Penn Central - is there an archive for the company? Somewhere I may be able to find details about the route of the train (the more specific, the better), and the time of day it passed through key stations, or key individuals involved in the day's planning. Is there anyone here that is particularly familiar with the route that may be able to identify locations if shown photographs? Is there a way of tracking locations through indicators such as numbers painted on posts, bridges, etc? Information such as the above mention of stations with high level platforms is invaluable to my research.

My starting point is Paul Fusco's collection of photographs as mentioned in an above post. I need to use the clues therein to geographically locate the photographs and, hopefully, find the individuals captured on film. ANY specialist knowledge that you have that you think may be of use would be of great use to me.

I'm actually in the UK - although will be travelling to the US shortly - so you may be able to appreciate that I have a tough job ahead of me! Please feel free to IM me if you don't wish to reply here.

Thanks again
Fran
Last edited by RFK Funeral Train on Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: RFK train

Postby Red Arrow Fan » Mon Mar 23, 2009 8:34 pm

Red Arrow Fan wrote:The lead engine was Penn Central GG1 #4901. I have a photo that my dad took, I just need to get it uploaded. ...


Well, in the absence of any other RFK train photos in this thread, here's the photo I was referring to. Please excuse the slight blurriness:

http://img228.imageshack.us/img228/8894/1968b017robertkennedyfu.jpg

(We were stationed somewhere between Sharon Avenue and Calcon Hook Road.)
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Re: JFK and RFK Funeral Trains/train orders

Postby Dr-Asterisk » Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:35 pm

I have a Wabash railroad train order. "It reads all trains and engines will stop at 11:00AM Central Standard Time and remain standing for 1 minute in memorial tribute to John F Kennedy" Signed: Henry W. Large, President Wabash Railroads

Train Order no. 16
From: Moberly Nov. 25 1963
To: C&E Switch Eng492 and Trains Starting
At. Mexico

Any idea what it might be worth?
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Re: JFK and RFK Funeral Trains/train orders

Postby Dr-Asterisk » Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:39 pm

For those of you that would like to see this item.Image
Or a larger one here http://www.lukris.nu/ebay/JFKTrainOrder/TrainOrderJFK.jpg
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Re: JFK and RFK Funeral Trains/train orders

Postby Boosie » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:47 pm

Check this out, from a retired PRR dispatcher who selected the RFK funeral train crew that day:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_N_-W1PmSNqg/SLS_JJru6FI/AAAAAAAAFno/ey47rsDLn9I/s1600-h/2008+BUD+FOLEY+RFK+FUNERAL+TRAIN.jpg
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