Railway Preservation News

Mortuary cars .
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Author:  M Secco [ Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Mortuary cars .

How many of the 118 AC&F modified mortuary cars are still around and where ? They carried 171,539 of our deceased military including civilian federal employees back home after WW2 .
Please read 'Last Train Home' an article in the magazine American History , February 2018 issue . Quite moving to say the least .

Author:  Larry Lovejoy [ Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Not sure if this is exactly the same article as referenced above, but it covers the topic.


Unfortunately, it also includes a maddening array of pop-up advertisements…..

/s/ Larry
Lawrence G. Lovejoy, P.E.

Author:  Ron Goldfeder [ Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

There was also an article on this subject in Railroad History #212, the journal of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, "The Last Ride." See rlhs.org under publications for info on copies.

Author:  Les Beckman [ Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

One of the military mortuary cars survives in Jasper, Indiana:

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPi ... id=4704351

This was one of the cars that ended up at the U.S. Navy's weapons base in Crane, Indiana. Eventually acquired by the Spirit of Jasper excursion train. Note the door on the end where the coffins were placed in the car for transport. The car has been extensively remodeled. The Naval station there at Crane once had some additional cars and I'm not sure what happened to them.


Author:  M Secco [ Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Thanks Les

That's exactly what I was looking for. What an honor to have such a railcar that brought our people back home to their families .
Any more out there ?


Author:  car57 [ Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Possibly one here in Cheyenne but i haven't got inside to try to ID it yet, its a hospital car of some sort just a car body on the ground. I have long thought that these should be treated with far more respect.There is also a hospital car body in Boulder its future very uncertain, it also came from Cheyenne.

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Careful with the generic term "hospital car". There was a whole second fleet of them built by AC&F for the Korean War, since the WWII cars were still toiling away in mortuary service. If these cars you speak of have arch roofs, they are from the later fleet.

Author:  Thomas Cornillie [ Mon Dec 11, 2017 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

This website offers additional information on the types of cars used in this service:


It also has a photo of a car on display in Conway, South Carolina.

Author:  M Secco [ Mon Dec 11, 2017 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Hey Dennis ,

Thanks for that tip about what to look for .

Can anyone put up pictures of the cars mentioned above ?
It would be much appreciated not to mention educational .

I would kinda like to see IRM get one . Unless I'm wrong ,displays that represent our military/veterans, I believe are sorely lacking in railway museums .

Author:  isaksenj [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Pay this site a visit: World War II Fallen Servicemen Repatriation Program - November 1947

http://members.trainweb.com/bedt/milrr/ ... repat.html

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

M Secco wrote:

Can anyone put up pictures of the cars mentioned above ?
It would be much appreciated not to mention educational .

OK, here is a photo of the later ACF cars


They look like lightweight cars, but I suspect they are really traditional construction with more modern roofs. I couldn't find much info, they get conflated with the rebuilt Pullman cars, but maybe that's because I did find one reference to a 1945 built date. I suspect as WWII wound down, the Army decided to rebuild the older cars into mortuary cars, and keep these on hand for future conflicts. Be that as it may, some were sold surplus; the Monon rebuilt quite a few to reequip their passenger trains during the fifties.

Author:  David Notarius [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Hi Guys; I believe some of the ex US Army Hospital cars that were acquired by the Texas State Railroad in Rusk Texas, back in the 1980's, may have also seen service as Mortuary cars. Back in the early 80's, one of the TSR crew members told me he believed one of the cars they had was used in this service, it gave him the creeps every time he went near it. He also believed it was haunted. I was never sure if this guy was pulling my leg. I think some of the cars were acquired for parts and some or all may have been scrapped by now, but it might me worth checking if any of the ex Army cars that were on the Texas State Railroad were used in Mortuary service. Have fun everyone, David Notarius, Freezing in the Fenlands of Cambridgeshire, UK

Author:  car57 [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

I know my cars...the Cheyenne ones are clerestories. Photos soon

Author:  wilkinsd [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

I believe we are conflating mortuary cars with hospital ward cars. The mortuary cars had blanked over windows, while the hospital ward cars did not.

Author:  Dennis Storzek [ Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mortuary cars .

Yes, but they were the same cars. The mortuary cars were rebuilt from the older hospital cars at the end of the war. I doubt there are any of the mortuary cars left unmodified. Some hospital cars seemed to have survived, although I don't know if any of those are unmodified, either. I seem to recall the museum in Green Bay has a rebuilt Pullman style hospital car, but I can't find any info on it.

I should use this opportunity to correct a misstatement I made earlier. I always associate the arch roof AC&F hospital cars with the Korean War, but apparently they were built in the waning days of WWII, likely in preparation for the massive casualties expected from the invasion of Japan, which thankfully never took place.

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