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DCNRHS' DOVER HARBOR Part of Liberty Limited 2010

posted Dec 11, 2010, 9:39 PM by James Lilly   [ updated Dec 20, 2010, 1:48 PM ]
Our grand Pullman, Dover Harbor, was the fourth car in the 2010 Liberty Limited which operated WAS-
PHIL - WAS on December 11.  The Liberty Limited carried wounded warriors -  soldiers, sailors, and marines who are currently patients at Walter Reed Hospital or Bethesda Naval Medical Center -  for FREE (with a guest even) to Philadelphia for the 111th Army vs. Navy football Game.  
 
Dover Harbor hosted wounded army soldiers, and guests, along with a medical staff.  It was a day out of the hospital, and out of the spotlight, to enjoy two great traditions and American past times, football and railroading.  Breakfast and dinner were served aboard the train.  70 wounded warriors, along with a guest, got to ride this all private car train (19 private cars were on the trip).
 
In support of the trip, DCNRHS donated the use of the Dover Harbor for the train, provided crew, and paid the full $3,500.00+ round-trip that CSX charged DCNRHS to move the car 23 miles to Washington, D.C. so that we could participate in this trip.
 
The Liberty Limited is organized by Bennett Levin, owner of the restored Pennsylvania Railroad E-8's, seen in the photos.  Major sponsors and supporters of the event include Amtrak and Norfolk Southern.
 
Navy won the game 31 to 17.
 
We support our troops!  Dover harbor also participated in 2006!
 
We have compiled some pictures and information from the trip.   You can find it below:
 
Video from the Internet:   
 

2010 Liberty Limited Video - From the Internet

 
 
 DCNRHS Member Hans Plugge provided the following album:
 
 

A compilation of photos from members and others who have graciously shared their photography on this project with DCNRHS:
 

2010 Liberty Limited - A Collection of Photos

 
Other pics and videos:
 

Length          1850 feet

 

Max Speed         89 MPH

 

Number of Cars:       19

 

Wounded Soldiers, Sailors and Marines      70 (Originally 139 signed up but 40 were released for Christmas leave during the week prior to departure)

 

Wounded requiring some level of wheelchair assistance   12

 

Guests of the wounded including, Moms, Dads, Family members, & significant others:      25

 

Military support from Walter Reed:  24

 

Total entering stadium to witness game:             124

 

Car owners on board:                   16

 

Food Preparation and Wait staff:    42

 

Other guests including crew and police:      30

 

Politicians:   0

 

Media:   0

 

Military; other than medical staff and wounded warriors: 0

 

Dinners served:                  250

 

Lunch Served                     160    

(Includes all ground crews from CSX and Conrail in Philadelphia, on site security and police escorts, and SEPTA drivers)

 

Breakfast served:               225

 

Good time enjoyed:            By Everyone

  

Furthest car home base:      Winslow Arizona   (Pony Express)

 

Cars came from: PA, SC, OH, MN, WI, MD, CT, AZ, NJ,

 

Locomotives: 1951 EMD E-8 units Privately Owned
 

Story Circulating on the Internet in December 2010
(DCNRHS is not the source of this story - original author unknown)
 
Here's a 'today' Yule story that occurred 5 years ago ~ AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started in the Christmas of 2004 when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops. "We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett. So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it. Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.

He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard. One car, the elegant Pennsylvania , carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D. C. for burial. "That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played. The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D. C. and Bethesda , in Maryland . "We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment."

Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a trustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea. But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus. No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op." And no Pentagon suits on board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax. The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands. "I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train? The Liberty Limited.

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D. C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later. Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the train to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game. A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.

And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees: From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. From Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.

Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D. C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day. "They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.

Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda . "The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it."

The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be beautiful!' " says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."

It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love. "My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air." Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all - whatever the future may bring."

     

 
 
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