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Troops being transported on 40 ET 8 boxcars

World War I American doughboys aboard the antiquated 40 ET 8s
enroute to the front lines. 
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Transportation Musuem.

The boxcars used in the French Gratitude Train were a particularly appropriate choice.  In World War I and World War II “Yanks” were transported to the front lines in these dual purpose railroad cars, known as 40 ET 8s.  The wooden boxcars, built between 1872 and 1885, measured twenty feet long and nine feet wide.  The cars could accommodate forty men or eight horses, creating memorable journeys for many soldiers.  The boxcars also served to transport captured American soldiers to POW camps and Jewish citizens to concentration camps.