September 18, 2014

Elyria
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Replica of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train to visit Lorain County

A replica of the Lincoln Funeral Train will visit Wellington this weekend. PHOTO PROVIDED

A replica of the Lincoln Funeral Train will visit Wellington this weekend. PHOTO PROVIDED

WELLINGTON — David H. Kloke spent years researching and building a detailed replica of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train.

Admittedly nuts about trains, it was something else that drove his dedication to the project.

“Mostly it’s about Lincoln,” the master mechanic and former construction trades worker said Tuesday by phone from the Elgin, Ill.-based shop of his nonprofit Historic Railroad Equipment Association. “He was the guy who inspired me to build the locomotive.”

Kloke’s replica of the Leviathan, the steam engine that pulled Lincoln’s funeral train from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Ill., in April 1865, will visit Lorain County this weekend for train buffs and riders alike, courtesy of the Lake Shore Railway Association, which is sponsoring the visit.

Kloke’s admiration for the assassinated 16th president is due largely to what Kloke said was Lincoln’s little-recognized efforts that led to construction of the Transcontinental Railroad linking the eastern and western halves of America.

“Lincoln worked on that long before he was elected president,” Kloke said. “He had a vision for this.”

Due to railroad regulations, the engine won’t travel on active rail lines. Instead, it’s re-tracing the Lincoln funeral train route on highways courtesy of a tractor-trailer rig, said Jack Siffert, association president.

“It’s a very exacting replica,” Siffert said. “He’s such a stickler for detail and accuracy.”

Kloke echoed Siffert’s words. “Everything is going to be correct or we’re not going to do it,” Kloke said.

The tour of the replica will generate funds to help Kloke and a small but dedicated band of paid and volunteer workers to design and build an equally exacting likeness of the remainder of Lincoln’s funeral train for a 150th anniversary Washington-to-Springfield trip in 2015.

The Illinois group is using model makers’ detailed likenesses along with precise drawings to re-create the train car that carried Lincoln’s body, as well as a third car used to carry an honor guard, family members and others.

Kloke estimates it will cost close to $500,000 to build the Lincoln funeral car alone. Current federal railroad safety and construction codes require the replica to have a steel rather than wood frame.

That is why railroading groups such as the association are sponsoring stops for the locomotive, which will pull passenger cars along a stretch of the 20 miles of private tracks owned by the Wellington-based group.

The organization is offering 11 scheduled runs during the weekend, although more could be added if demand warrants, Siffert said.

The actual Lincoln funeral train was seen by about 3 million people as it passed through Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City before heading west into Ohio and Lorain County in the early hours of April 29, 1865.

“It was the biggest presidential funeral ever,” Kloke said. “There was never one bigger before or after.”

So many bonfires were lit on rail line sidings by those waiting to glimpse the passing train that the train’s way was illuminated well enough that its headlight wasn’t needed, Siffert said.

The body of 11-year-old Willie Lincoln accompanied that of his father back to Springfield, Ill. The child died in 1862 in Washington from typhoid fever and was initially buried in the nation’s capital.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.

If you go:

  • Cost for the Leviathan rides are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $5 for children 12 and younger.
  • Train trips are scheduled for 2, 3:30 and 5 p.m. Friday, 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30, 3, and 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and noon, 1:30, 3 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
  • Anyone wanting to ensure a seat for a particular time is urged to purchase tickets in advance by phoning (440) 731-9163.
  • To learn more about the Leviathan, the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train, or donating to the project, visit www.leviathan63.com or www.the2015lincolnfuneraltrain.com/
  • For more on the Lake Shore Railway Association, visit lsra.org.


  • Phil Blank

    Train nuts read this one.
    And old Union Pacigic steam train, Big Boy, No. 4014 a 6,300 horsepower steamer bring rebuilt out in Cayenne Wyo.
    news.yahoo.com/huge-big-boy-steam-locomotive-coming-back-life-073258235.html

  • Michael

    Dates are missing from the article. One link gives no worthwhile info.,.,. from the other (www.leviathan63.com) Wellington OH on April 18-12, 2014

  • Scout

    Bless your heart Michael-did you read the article. Both the website and the Chronicle story mention this weekend as the time to see this train in Wellington.

    ‘… will visit Lorain County this weekend for train buffs and riders alike’ (from the body of the article in the Chronicle).
    Of course one would have to look at a calendar…..????

  • Sis Delish

    Gee. Another opportunity lost for the Elyria Train Depot… thousands of tourists, just miles away…

    • Godfather

      Ok debbie downer.

      • Sis Delish

        Why, if it isn’t Mr. Congeniality hisself.

        Probably a good thing the Train will remain in Southern Lorain (County). It would most likely be stolen if it came North.

        • whobeboo

          Wow!!! What a thoroughly miserable person you must be. I personally think that this is a great opportunity to spend some quality time with the grand children and have an educational experience at the same time. You sound like one of those bagger types who are afraid to go out of the house, and if you should venture out, you are armed to teeth,

          • Godfather

            MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY SIR.

          • Sis Delish

            So, what’s stopping you or anyone else from traveling to Wellington to do so? FoxNews?? LOL

          • golfingirl

            With her “grand children,” as in great kids.

            Or with her grandchildren, as in her childrens’ children.

            Oh well, doesn’t really matter. Only missed it by a whole generation.

        • Phil Blank

          We used to have one in Lorain years ago, and they beat it to death and stripped off what they could.
          It sat at Oakwood Park right on Grove Ave, the north end of whats also known as RT 57.

          • Sis Delish

            I remember it well… and it is but a memory.

            To the other commenters, please, no autographs.

          • golfingirl

            I remember that too.

            Right across from the “Pic Way” Shoe Mart.

            Shiny yellow lights that blinked all night.

          • Tom Adkins

            NKP 384 is currently under preservation/restoration also in Wellington. Proceeds from this weekends Leviarthan event will help fund the restoration.

          • golfingirl

            Nice to hear. I have several photos on that train as a child.

            Before they put the fence up around it.

          • ekwaykway

            The fire engine too on the West side of the park just South of the fountain.

        • Godfather

          you are not a human, more like a dollop of pond scum pretending to be one.

          • Sis Delish

            Remind us please, just how is it you like your Pond Scum prepared?

          • golfingirl

            Hmmmm…. where have I heard that line before?

            Oh yes, it was from one of those “other” websites where you stole that line.

      • Starryeyes63

        Sticks and stone may break our bones…….. But hollow points explode on impact.

    • Jeff

      Just more cow farts coming out of her mouth

      • Godfather

        Amen!!!!!!!!

  • Brian Dembinski

    Tickets are available for sale on our website at http://lsra.org/

  • Phil Blank

    I did a search for “Big Boy No 4014″ and found the UP web site with all the info.
    They also have a route schedule on the right side of the page, but its too far for any of us to go see it pass by.
    http://www.up.com/aboutup/special_trains/steam/locomotives/4014.shtml

    • Joe Smith

      Surprised you didn’t gets some links to porn sites with a search like that…LOL

  • GreatRedeemer

    Perhaps it’s a fine point but when I read the headline I think a replica of the entire funeral train including cars.
    “Replica of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train to visit Lorain County”

    When I read the article, its clarifies that it is “Kloke’s replica of the Leviathan, the steam engine that pulled Lincoln’s funeral train”

    Not the funeral cars but the engine.

    • Tom Adkins

      The engine is in Wellington this weekend. The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train will be here next April. This event is to promote next years big event.

  • Tom Adkins

    Yes it is.