40 & 8s, OWL, and 611.

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Tue Sep 20 07:44:33 EDT 2005

Tom Parham, et. al.,

Thank you very much and also to the many other listers who responded to my query for info on the "Merci Cars."

Albert Burckard

PS1 to all NWHS listers: I am certainly not the local (Hampton Roads) N&W expert but I played one on TV yesterday. WHRO (local PBS TV) interviewed NS CEO David Goode and wife Susan about the loan of their collection of OWL prints to the Chrysler Museum and currently on display there. I was asked to "represent N&W" so I wore my NWHS hat and an NMRA Tidewater Division shirt (loaned to me by Jim Keiper who got me into all this!) and, except for a 10 second response to a question about the N&W, that was my entire TV career! It was great fun and I managed to not embarrass the Society. It was a very short-notice operation or I would have tried to contact some other NWHS folks here in the Hampton Roads area to do it. The 11 minute segment will air shortly, and only locally, on a show called "Norfolk Perspectives."

PS2 to all: Jim Keiper also asked David Goode directly (off camera) about the possibility of 611 returning to excursion service. The answer from the top was "no way." Goode said the insurance costs for doing this would be more than all the other insurance NS now pays for all of its' operations. He also told us about the event which originally prompted him to eliminate 611 service. He said he was at an NS PR event and observed about 50 school children get completely out of control and race headlong across several yards of trackage before their teachers and chaperones could catch them. Although no kids were hurt in this particular event, Goode told us he took this as a "sign from God" (his words) and cancelled 611 excursions the very next day.

----- Original Message -----
From: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
To: nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 5:45 PM
Subject: 40 and 8 Boxcars

Although I'm a native Virginian and now live in the greater Richmond area, I lived some 23 years in Baton Rouge, LA until my retirement in 1996. While there I many times saw the Louisiana "Merci Car" which is displayed under shelter on the grounds of the "Old State Capitol" (now a museum) at 100 Government Street which is downtown just across the east bank levee from the Mississippi River. (Also located across from the "Old State Capitol" is the Louisiana Arts & Science center in Baton Rouge's former 1920s railroad station and W.W.II Fletcher-class destroyer, USS Kidd, DD-661).)

The URL http://www.sec.state.la.us/museums/osc/merci/osc-merci.htm leads to a page describing the restoration of Louisiana's "Merci Car" in 1999. This page and some of the links in it show a number of good pictures of that car. One of those links also is to http://www.wsrhs.org/mercicar.htm which contains pictures of most, maybe all, of the still existing "Merci Cars."

The http://www.wsrhs.org/mercicar.htm URL given in one recent N&W Hist. Soc. "Merci Car" communication leads to a page containing information about the location of most of the states' "Merci cars" but it incorrectly gives the location of Louisiana's car as the state capitol grounds. Louisiana's present state capitol, opened in 1932 and of Huey Long fame -- he was assassinated in its halls, is some several miles away from Louisiana's "Merci Car" which, as noted, is on the grounds of the "Old State Capitol."

Tom Parham


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