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Merci Train 40 & 8 Boxcar
Merci Train 40 & 8 Boxcar

Since the wheels of the boxcars were design for the French narrow gauge railroads the "40 & 8" boxcars were hoisted onto flatcars for their overland journey in the U.S..  The boxcars being shipped to each state had to be carried on American flat cars making the load too high in some cases to clear the tunnels and bridges.  The Southern Railroad carried the boxcars bound for the Southeast.  The Alabama “40 & 8” Boxcar arrived in Montgomery, Alabama at 6:00 AM on February 11, 1949. 

The Alabama “40 & 8” boxcar was given to the state of Alabama on February 11, 1947.  The “40 & 8” boxcar was then given the Huntsville American Legion Post 237 and "40 & 8" Voiture1012.   The “40 & 8” boxcar was park on American Legion Post 237 property behind the Hullabaloo Club on South Memorial Parkway. The boxcar remained on the property after the property was sold to an individual.  In 1968 the Madison County Sheriff department raided the “40 & 8” boxcar and destroyed 12 slot machines being stored in the old “40 & 8” boxcar 

 

The “40 & 8” boxcar had been used to store old slot machines.  The American Legion Post 237 had voted to give the city of Huntsville the “40 & 8” boxcar in 1965.  The city did not know that the “40 & 8” boxcar was given to them and did not removed the boxcar from the lot.  The “40 & 8” boxcar remained on the property on South Parkway until approximately 1970 when it was moved without the approval of the Huntsville American Legion or "40 & 8" Voiture1012 to a nursery school on South Parkway.  In April of 1974 the “40 & 8” boxcar was moved to Cathedral Caverns to mark the entrance to the national landmark on Alabama Highway 63 near Grant, Alabama.  The “40 & 8” boxcar being expose to the weather and neglected was in need of repairs.  On July 17, 1980 the American Legion Post 237 request that the “40 & 8” boxcar be move from Cathedral Caverns to the Huntsville Depot and Museum.  The “40 & 8” boxcar had been sitting at the entrance of Cathedral Caverns for over ten years when in 1985 the “40 & 8” boxcar was moved from Cathedral Caverns to the Huntsville Transportation Museum, which is part of the Early Works Family of Museums by the Alabama National Guard at the request of James Record Chairmen of the Madison County Commission.            

 

At the Huntsville Depot the “40 & 8” boxcar was repaired and brought back to the fine state it was in when it arrived in Alabama. The "40 & 8" Voiture1012 requested that the “40 & 8” boxcar after it was repaired be moved into the Round House to protect the “40 & 8” boxcar from the weather.  The Huntsville Depot said that there was not room in the Round House therefore the “40 & 8” boxcar would be left outside.                                                                              

 

The American Legion Post 237 and "40 & 8" Voiture1012 in agreement with the Huntsville city council requested that the “40 & 8” boxcar be moved to the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum where the “40 & 8” boxcar will be displayed inside the Museum building.  The “40 & 8” boxcar in 2000 was moved from the Huntsville Depot to the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum located at 2060A Airport Road in Huntsville.  The “40 & 8” boxcar is now on display inside the Museum.  Inside the “40 & 8” boxcar is displayed artifacts from the First World War.  Many of the “40 & 8” boxcars were allowed to deteriorate over the years. 

 

U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum
2060A Airport Road • Huntsville AL 35801
(256) 883-3737
info@memorialmuseum.org