ELGIN, Ill. (AP) — A hefty fundraising shortfall has dashed plans to send a replica of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train car to trace the journey that brought the assassinated president's body back to Springfield, Illinois, from Washington.
The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train organization had planned to recreate the trip as part of commemorations in April of the 150th anniversary of the president's death. But fundraising efforts fell $100,000 short of the $250,000 needed.
Master mechanic David Kloke in Elgin, Illinois, has spent about six years building the replica. The train car is still scheduled to be displayed at a May fundraising gala at a Springfield hotel, but it's unclear whether it will have a place in the official commemorative events in the state capital, the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald reported (http://bit.ly/1MU8eRR ).
"We're disappointed, for sure," said Shannon Brown, spokeswoman for The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train, which has backed Kloke in the project. "We wanted to be in Washington."
The replica is made from steel and wood and is 48 feet long and 13 feet tall. Kloke studied drawings and photos to build it with the help of volunteers.
The replica had been slated for display in Washington starting April 15, the day Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. Then, on April 21 it was to recreate the trip from the nation's capital to Lincoln's burial site in Springfield, pulled along by a 19th-century-style steam locomotive that Kloke built years ago.
Whether it can be displayed as part of the official commemorative events in Springfield remains unclear, as the funeral train group has been unable to agree on a location with a separate group organizing the events in the state capital.
The two organizations are also still discussing how to pay for the $16,000 journey from Elgin to Springfield, which will likely involve transporting the replica with semitrailer trucks because of the difficulty of getting rail permits. A state grant that would have covered the cost has been suspended as part of Gov. Bruce Rauner's decision to freeze discretionary spending.
Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com