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 Merci Train

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KleineDicke

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Location : Deep in the Heart of Texas (Houston)

PostSubject: Merci Train   Sun Nov 22, 2009 11:59 pm

I came across this today.
http://www.mercitrain.org/
I had no idea there were so many fourgons franšaises in the US.

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Bill Wray

"It is one of the happiest characteristics
of this glorious country that official utterances are invariably
regarded as unanswerable."
-Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty (HMS Pinafore)
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Spule 4



Location : Tennessee, USA

PostSubject: Re: Merci Train   Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:00 am

Bill-

What is amazing are the number of cars that still exist. I first learned about this about ten years back, never heard of it before then. A little known bit of American-France relations, back in happier times.

American-French relations went down hill when we gave the French Jerry Lewis and they replied with the Renault Dauphine....

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Garrett
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KleineDicke

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Location : Deep in the Heart of Texas (Houston)

PostSubject: Re: Merci Train   Mon Nov 23, 2009 2:49 am

Spule 4 wrote:

American-French relations went down hill when we gave the French Jerry Lewis and they replied with the Renault Dauphine....

Not sure who got the worst of that deal.

I'm going to be driving through Austin next week- I think I'll try to go see the Texas car.

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Bill Wray

"It is one of the happiest characteristics
of this glorious country that official utterances are invariably
regarded as unanswerable."
-Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty (HMS Pinafore)
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mikeyh

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Location : Dordogne France

PostSubject: Re: Merci Train   Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:33 pm

You learn something everyday on this forum (well i do anyway!). Must find out more about that.

mikey
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KleineDicke

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Location : Deep in the Heart of Texas (Houston)

PostSubject: Re: Merci Train   Sun Nov 29, 2009 5:24 am

I visited the Texas car today in Austin. It's fairly well protected under cover, but not looking as well as the photos I've seen. It might be undergoing a restoration, as the provinces' crests have been removed. The most interesting feature is the handbrake - looks like it was borrowed from a stagecoach. Anyway, I'll post some photos when I get back home.

_________________
Bill Wray

"It is one of the happiest characteristics
of this glorious country that official utterances are invariably
regarded as unanswerable."
-Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty (HMS Pinafore)
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KleineDicke

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Location : Deep in the Heart of Texas (Houston)

PostSubject: Re: Merci Train   Wed Dec 02, 2009 9:12 pm

As promised, here's some photos from my visit to the Merci Train car in Austin, TX.

First, this photo comes from the Merci Train website and is dated 2003. I include it for comparison with the current condition.
Image hosted by servimg.com

Here it is on 28 November 2009:
Image hosted by servimg.com
You can see the provincial crests are missing, although overall the car appears to be in good shape, especially considering its age.

Another angle:
Image hosted by servimg.com
You might notice the electrical conduit going into the car; I think there might be lights inside the car. The steps and platform at the door indicate that perhaps the car is opened to the public at times.

The small obelisk has inscriptions on each of three sides;
Image hosted by servimg.com
they say:
En Temoignage de Reconnaissance
Voie de la Liberte 1944
Sainte Menehoud (likely the area whose residents donated the contents of the car)


On the end of the car is this plaque:
Image hosted by servimg.com

An interesting detail is the hand brake on the car; Here you can see the handle and the racheting mechanism to lock it in:
Image hosted by servimg.com

And here is the brake shoe; it appears to be wooden:
Image hosted by servimg.com

All in all, an interesting bit of history. I was unable to visit the museum where the contents of the car are displayed - that will have to wait for my next trip to Austin, probably next spring.

_________________
Bill Wray

"It is one of the happiest characteristics
of this glorious country that official utterances are invariably
regarded as unanswerable."
-Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty (HMS Pinafore)
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