In 1947, a grassroots movement spread throughout the United States to donate basic necessities such as food, clothing, children’s toys, medicine, and fuel to the people of France whose lives and economy had been devastated by World War II. Nevadans sent two fully loaded boxcars as part of the American Friendship Train.
In response, the French reciprocated the generosity, by sending a gratitude, or Merci Train, with a boxcar for each of the then 48 states with an additional car to be shared by the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories. The French boxcars are referred to as 40 et 8 cars because they can hold 40 men or 8 horses.
Nevada’s car arrived in Carson City to great fanfare on February 23, 1949. Several of the original gifts that were in the car are retained and displayed by the Nevada State Museum, Carson City. In 2002, the car was restored by the Nevada State Railroad Museum, Carson City.
The Merci Car is on temporary display in Boulder City.