On Exhibit For the First Time…

Here at the Historic RailPark and Train Museum, our goal is to restore and preserve the history of the L&N rail line and its impact on Bowling Green’s development. By going through tedious measures to find, restore, preserve, and display these historic railroad artifacts, we are allowing the public to become educated about the value of railroading to Bowling Green. We are fortunate to have our two-story museum in the Historic L&N Depot, exhibiting the facts and history of the Pan-American train, railroad labor, unethical conditions, and other truths that paved the way for Kentucky’s economic development. We also have on exhibit five vintage railcars that have been restored for public viewing and guided tours. While it is an impressive collection, our goal isn’t to be able to have “a piece” of history: it is to create an entire venue of educational development. This is why the restoration efforts of the railcars and the depot are ongoing, where countless minutes, dollars, and work go into bringing back history. Restoration has been primarily focused on three vintage railcars over the past years at the RailPark: the Hospital Car, the 109 Segregated Passenger Car, and the L&N Caboose. Due to the preservation progression, these cars have not been available to the general public. However, thanks to the hard work of our friends of the L&N, we are opening all three of these railcars up for viewing for the FIRST time this weekend! These rail cars are extremely unique, and we are thrilled to announce their exhibition on August 17th-19th, 2023.

The Hospital Car is a very rare rail car, one of 100 Hospital Cars built during World War II to bring the injured troops home. The car was built in 1945 in Missouri to contain living facilities for medical professionals, treatment areas, storage for healthcare supplies, and more. The railcar was gutted following the retirement of medical services to be used as an armory but was donated by the Louisville Naval Ordinance Station in 2011 to be restored as a Hospital Car. The rail car was moved to Bowling Green in 2011 to begin its restoration efforts. After a decade of board members’ fundraising, restoration efforts, local contributions, and more, the Hospital Car has become one of the few restored Hospital rail cars on exhibit in America. The L&N #109 Segregated Passenger Car is an extremely rare railcar, one of two “Jim Crow” combination cars. Since the two-wood side steel car had a baggage section dividing the passenger car into two, the custom car complied with laws created before 1965. This car is an incredible educational resource for the Civil Rights Movement as well as an uncommon, vintage railcar containing rich history. The L&N #109 Segregated Passenger Car was originally a part of the Glasgow railway system, making it native to the state of Kentucky. After being retired from the Glasgow junction and years of weathering, the car ended up in extreme disrepair. But due to its rarity, the need to restore it for educational purposes was essential. After nearly a quarter of a million dollars, the railcar has made major progress in restoration. The L&N Caboose is a Chessie Class C-27. The caboose was manufactured for the fruit industry, being one of 62 refrigerated cabooses built for the task in 1978. The production of refrigerator cars declined during the 1970s era, which led the company to branch out into manufacturing other types of cars. While the L&N Caboose car itself doesn’t match up to the scarcity of the #109 Passenger and Hospital Car, it is still rich with history.

Words cannot amount to the value and significance of these cars, which is why you should come out to the Historic RailPark this weekend to see these vintage railcars. This opportunity will not come around again soon, so make sure you get your tickets as soon as possible to see these railcars on exhibit for the FIRST time. We have put in a great deal of work to make this possible for the Bowling Green community, Kentuckians, and train buffs alike. For our RailPark members: take advantage of your membership and come out for a FREE viewing. We are looking forward to seeing everyone come out to the Historic RailPark & Train Museum this weekend and learn all about what we have to offer!