The French military used boxcars called forty-and-eights to transport goods and soldiers, first in WWI and again in WWII. The boxcars could hold 40 men or 8 horses, hence the name. This is designated in French on the cars: 40 hommes, 8 chevaux. Sadly, the Germans also used similar forty-and-eights to transport POWs and civilians to concentration camps during WWII.
After WWII, the U.S. sent 700 boxcars full of relief materials to war-torn Europe. In appreciation, the people of France responded with the Merci Train. Forty-and-eight boxcars filled with gifts were sent to each state in 1949. The cars held gifts collected from the people of France, such as wine, clothing, art, furniture, decoratives, and even thank-you letters from children.
France adorned each boxcar with the coats of arms of the French provinces. Louisiana's Merci Train boxcar was repaired and repainted in 1999. Missing coats of arms were recreated. At that time, a mistake was made in the spelling of one French province-see if you can spot it!
The symbol of the Merci Train features a steam engine with flowers that are symbolic of Flanders Field, where many
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Peace • War, World I • War, World II. In addition, it is included in the Merci Train Boxcars series list.
Location. 30° 26.813′ N, 91° 11.317′ W. Marker is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in East Baton Rouge Parish. Marker can be reached from North Boulevard near Third Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baton Rouge LA 70802, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Merci Train (a few steps from this marker); Site of Early Gunsmith Shop (a few steps from this marker); Battle of Baton Rouge (a few steps from this marker); Old State Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Louisiana's Old State Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Marcha de Galvez (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named Old State Capitol (within shouting distance of this marker); Oliver Pollock (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baton Rouge.
More about this marker. Located on the grounds of the Old Louisiana State Capitol.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 2, 2018. It was originally submitted on December 2, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 125 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 2, 2018.