The Historic Railroad Equipment Association, the nonprofit organization behind the construction of the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train, is hosting an open house at Kloke Construction, the shop where this and other historic replicas are being built, on November 4, 2012 from 11:00am-4:00pm.
Dave Kloke is a master mechanic and owner of Kloke Construction and Kloke Locomotive Works, LLC. Several years ago he built a fully functional replica of an 1860s steam locomotive, the Leviathan 63. This engine has been seen at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, IL, and at other locomotive and historic events across the U.S.
Kloke and his team are now working to construct a replica of the Lincoln funeral car that will be part of a commemorative ceremony in 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination and historic journey from Washington, DC to Springfield, IL by train. “I wanted to build the train for educational purposes, so people could get an idea what it felt like for the thousands of people who witnessed the Lincoln funeral train in 1865,” Kloke said.
He and a team of railroad and history enthusiasts are helping to recreate this historic experience with the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train. In addition to the funeral car itself, Kloke will also be building an officer’s car replica. The team is currently raising funds to help build the train and facilitate the journey it will make to DC in 2015 so that it can recreate the historic trip to Springfield. Due to modern-day train traffic and the inefficiencies of an 1860s train replica, the trip will not be made entirely by rail. But where possible, the team hopes to run the Lincoln Funeral Train along some of the same track the original train traveled.
Bill Werst, executive director of the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train project, explains, “Not many people realize that something of this historic magnitude is being built right here in Elgin. We’re excited to open our doors and let them become part of the history that we’re building.”
Kloke Construction, located at 1325 Spaulding Road, Elgin, IL 60120, will host an open house on November 4, 2012, between 11:00am and 4:00pm. The public is invited to tour the shop and see the Leviathan 63 in person, as well as get a sneak peek at the work currently being done on the officer’s car and the funeral car.
More information about the project and how people can get involved or donate is available at www.The2015LincolnFuneralTrain.com.