40 & 8 Boxcar
This 40 & 8 Boxcar is one of forty nine cars that comprised the Merci or Gratitude Train, a gift to the American people from the citizens of France. Pennsylvania received it at a ceremony in Harrisburg on February 6, 1949. All forty-eight states received a boxcar filled with gifts, ranging from humble offerings to priceless art and antiques. The District of Columbia and the Territory of Hawaii shared the forty-ninth car. Gifts of sacrifice from individuals conveyed each donor's depth of gratitude to America for liberating France in two World Wars and for sending the friendship train. A $40 million food relief effort carried out by American volunteers in 1947, which saved many French citizens from starvation.
The 40 & 8 Boxcars, so named because of their capacity to hold either 40 men or 8 horses, transported soldiers and horses to
and from French battlefields during World War I. Many World War II soldiers rode the boxcars as well. The Merci Train boxcars
now stand as a tribute to the sacrifices and bravery of American veterans who served in France in two World Wars and as a symbol of friendship and gratitude between the people of the United States of America and the Citizens of France.