This month, in honor of Black History Month and Presidents Day, we’ve been learning about new ways to teach children of all ages about African American and Presidential history through railroad history with the help of model railroading and Lionel Trains.  In our final installment we look at the somber story of the Lincoln Funeral Train.

In 1865, upon his death by assassination, Lincoln returned home by rail.  The train essentially retraced the 1,654 miles covered in his inaugural route and carried 300 mourners.  It was probably the largest funeral ceremony in the history of the U.S. and the first funeral by rail.  The train passed through over 400 cities and towns across the Northeast and hundreds of thousands of mourners showed up along the tracks to pay their last respects.

Trains carrying the President were normally lavishly decorated.  Red white and blue were the traditional colors for campaign and business travel for sitting Presidents.  A more somber black was found on funeral trains.  Could your young artists come up with some appropriate adornments for one of their models?

Side Bar: Lionel’s exclusive die-cast scale replica of the Lincoln Funeral Train, including the engine, passenger cars, are a great way to experience this somber yet significant moment of US history.

  1. The Lincoln Funeral Train







Lionel Trains


Photo courtesy of Lionel L.L.C. All rights reserved