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American Freedom Train in Utah, 1975

This page was last updated on August 20, 2011.

(Return to Union Pacific in Utah, 1900-1996)

October 15-19, 1975
The American Freedom Train came to Salt Lake City from Billings, Montana, by way of Butte and UP's Montana Subdivision. It was displayed in Salt Lake City (15th) and at Ogden (19th) before heading back north via UP to Boise, Idaho. (Wikipedia entry)

The following comes from the September 4, 1975 issue of the Ogden Standard-Examiner newspaper:

American Freedom Train to Roll Into Ogden Oct. 19

The American Freedom Train will be rolling into its Ogden exhibit site on Oct. 19, said representatives of the train here Wednesday.

Meeting with city officials and members of the District II Bicentennial Committee was the advance team for the train, headed by Bill Green, Senior director of field operations for the American Freedom Train Foundation.

Mr. Green said during the 11/2-day visit in Ogden the train will be able to accommodate 27,000 visitors at a rate of 1,350 per hour.

Mr. Green said that he appreciated the many efforts on the part of Ogden residents and the bicentennial committee to bring the train to Ogden.

"We are delighted to be able to accommodate Ogden. It will have the briefest stay of any city on the tour so far," he said.

The 26-car train will arrive at its Defense Depot Ogden exhibit site on the afternoon of Oct. 19. The train's crew will set up and open to the public by 6 p.m.

That night the exhibit cars will remain open until midnight.

"We have never closed our doors when there were people still waiting in line. So if need be we will stay open past midnight," said Mr. Green.

On Oct. 20, the train will open at 8 a.m., and has scheduled the hours between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. for school children, he said. It will be open until 10:30 p.m.

Ronald Stephens, chairman of the bicentennial committee, outlined the committees he has set up to the train officials.

In charge of tickets will be Larry Hunter, publicity, Robert Hunter; site, Capt. A. S. Maurstad; transportation and housing, Sandy Ferguson and Mark Darney; displays John Hummel; entertainment, Dan Martino, and security, Lt. Joe Ritchie.

In outlining the requirements for the train's visit, Mr. Green said a minimum of 14 police officers are needed for Oct. 19 and two shifts of 14 men will be needed on Oct. 20. Additional officers will be needed for traffic control and parking.

Capt. Maurstad said that since the DDO is a federal reservation, the local police will not have arrest powers.

Mr. Green said the train carries six U.S. Marshals of its own and anyone needing to be arrested can be turned over to the U.S. Marshals.

Ogden Police Lt. Ritchie said he felt the police officers shouldn't be armed since they will not have arrest powers on the DDO.

At the site, 2,100 feet of railroad track is needed, plus 4,000 gallons of water when the train arrives and 16,000 gallons when its ready to leave, said Mr. Green.

School groups will be able to purchase tickets at $1 each with the rest of the tickets going for $2 each, said Mr. Green.

He said the city must provide rooms for 140 people for two nights and transportation of the train's staff to and from hotels.

The bicentennial committee is also planning numerous entertainment events and displays for train-side activities.

The American Freedom Train is powered by a steam locomotive which visited Ogden earlier this summer.

The train consists of 10 exhibit cars and two showcase cars. Those visiting the exhibits are moved through the cars on a moving walkway.

The exhibits consists of such things as Benjamin Franklin's handwritten draft of the Articles of Confederation, George Washington's personal copy of the Constitution and a piece of the original "Star Spangled Banner" flag.

The cars contain exhibits on exploration of this country, innovations, fine arts, performing arts, sports, and conflicts in this country.

The showcase cars contain the Freedom Bell, a 1904 Oldsmobile, an 1834 steam engine and a 1849 hand-pump fire engine.

A tour of the cars takes 22 minutes.

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