The Presidental Train - W3WTE

This is the story of the special railroad car system of the White House away from home. Read the story by W8SU!

Donald Nichols wrote:
In it he (W8SU) wonders about the fate of the Myer and the Crew Car Morn. Both still exist. At present they are at the center of a felony investigation with one person already under arrest. The person in custody applied for state funds for the cars' restoration. However nothing of the such was done and that is where felony theft charges come in. Due to the legal problems, nothing is being done for the Myer and so it is going downhill fast. I last saw it in October and believe that it is now beyond being able to be saved. One of the set of trucks for it or the Morn were scrapped and another sold to another group. I don't know if it was the Myer's or the Morn's that were scrapped.

I was the person who arranged for it's saving back in 1987 when NASA had it up for disposal, and worked on it when it was at the Gold Coast RR Museum. I also went to Steamtown as a consultant when the museum was going to have it restored using FEMA funds for damage caused by Hurricane Andrew.

Morn is the crew car for the Myer. It was built out of Hospital Unit Car USA 89426 and carried 87426 in Presidential service. W3WTE operated out of that car. It was later replaced by 89501, a Hospital Ambulance Car built in 1952 as part of a 52 car order as a replacement car for the Morn, Myer, and 50 other cars sent to S. Korea.

The PA amp actually resided in the Myer after it was rebuilt in 1951. Reason for that was so that the mic signal would go to the Myer where it would be split between the radio and the rear speakers. In otherwords, it traveled two trainlenghts to go up 6 feet. The Myer could send it out by phone as the car was equipt to handle landlines also. By radio or phoneline it would be sent to DC where it was recorded in the basement of the White House. The same radio equipment used in the Myer was also in place in the WH and Panama. After the shakedown run in 1951 with 1401 (leased from the B&O) which was used from 1941 to 1952, the Myer took the lead spot in the train behind the locos. The Morn followed the Myer. Both cars ran vestibule to vestibule for greater security. Both cars were off limits to all but those with clearances. No interior pictures of the Morn while in service have ever been found. By orders of the Col in charge. We had to guess and then get confirmation to make up a set of drawings for the interior of the Morn. Even that was fun as the WACA/WHACA/WHSA were a tight lipped group to outsiders. I'm an honorary member of the retired Florida group and have a letter on file out of the White House allowing me to talk to them about the designs of the cars. I cannot discuss operations of it though. Even though I have shown them an Army training film of the WACA group and the cars, planes, and train with the equipment installed. We know of atleast 3 different set of equipment over the 20+ years in service of the Myer.

Along with voice comms, the Myer could also handle code traffic. Even had a seperate room for decoding and encoding with a Model 39 in it. Along with a code safe. The door to the crypto room was 4" thick and sound deadened. Door had a triple combination lock that could only be unlocked from in the hallway. Person inside also had bars over the exterior window. To get out, the person would have to call the PBX room next door.

The Army Depot was Fort Holabird. That is where the Myer, Morn, and 89501 spent most of their time when not on the road.

The Press Car was car number 32. While we have seen interior pictures of the car, we never have been able to track it down.

 

 

Cleveland QSL courtesy of Glenn Laser
The White House QSL from the estate of W2QXO, K4TXD

Tribute courtesy of W8SU
Info courtesy of Donald Nichols


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