Three trains of antique vintage will pass through Lawrence as part of the Eisenhower centennial celebration in Abilene.
A train featuring a 1937 steam locomotive named the "Dwight D. Eisenhower" and staff cars used by Eisenhower in 1944 and 1945 in England will pass through the city, without stopping, at an undetermined time Tuesday morning. The train will leave Kansas City at 7 a.m. Tuesday but cannot exceed 25 mph because of the antique cars. Therefore, it is impossible to set an estimated time of arrival for the train in Lawrence, said Alex Tice, regional director of public relations for the Union Pacific Railroad.
"The older equipment may need some babying," he said.
The train will be powered by a modern Union Pacific locomotive which will pull the Eisenhower locomotive, the two staff cars and other cars that will aid in the braking of the train. The train, which can only travel during daylight, began its 1,400-mile round trip at 6 a.m. today from Green Bay, Wis. Green Bay is the home of the National Railroad Museum, which houses the antique locomotive and staff cars.
The train is due in Abilene on Wednesday.
On Oct. 14, Eisenhower's 100th birthday, two trains will come through Lawrence on the way to Abilene. The first, a Burlington Northern train with a steam-powered engine, will leave Kansas City at 5 a.m. and is expected to reach Lawrence between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., but will not make a stop here.
But the second train, a Union Pacific steam-powered "844," will depart Kansas City at 5:20 a.m., and is scheduled to stop here for 10 minutes at approximately 6:30 a.m. to pick up the 63-member 312th Army Reserve band for a trip to Abilene. The train also will be carrying 500 veterans from World War II and another 500 guests. The entourage will be transported by 13 passenger cars, including a three-level "dome liner."
The trains will depart Abilene at 4 p.m. that day and return through Lawrence between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.