In 1999 Dave Kloke began work on construction of a full sized working replica of a 1980s steam locomotive. Considering the fact that Kloke had no experience working with trains the feat was remarkable. As it turned out, the train, known as Leviathan, looks very much like the steam engine that carried Abraham Lincoln’s body from Washington, DC to Chicago, IL. The similarity lead Dave to undertake a new project, to build a replica of the funeral car which made that sad trip.
Next April the engine and the car will be used to reenact the journey taken 150 years ago when the body of the great American president was brought home. The project is truly a labor of love as Dave and his team of volunteers race to finish the car in time.
A replica of an original locomotive and Lincoln’s funeral car will leave Washington, DC, April 21—150 years to the day after the original train steamed out of Washington—and will arrive in Springfield, Illinois, on May 2. In 1865, Lincoln’s funeral train arrived in Springfield on May 3.
The plan is to retrace Lincoln’s funeral route as closely as possible, but in some places there are no longer any rails and in others we’d be competing with commercial traffic, which would be like taking a horse and buggy onto the Interstate. We are working with railroads in Washington, Baltimore and Springfield, and we plan to roll into Springfield under our own power.
Read the full story: Lincoln Funeral Train Project