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Re-creation of Lincoln rail trip to Springfield, Ill., is scrapped

A re-creation of the rail trip that took Lincoln's body to Springfield, Ill., in 1865 has been canceled.

Plans for a funeral train that would have re-created the 1865 journey that took the president’s body from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Ill., have been scrapped because of a lack of funds.

“We were hoping to secure major sponsorship,” Shannon Brown, a spokeswoman for the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train, told the Los Angeles Times. “Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.”

The plans for the replica 19th century locomotive and funeral car trip had rail fans and history buffs buzzing for a couple of years.

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 A steam locomotive named Leviathan was built by Kloke Locomotive Works, based in Elgin, Ill., about 200 miles northeast of Springfield. That’s also where the finishing touches are being completed for the replica of the president’s funeral car.

“It’s a work of art,” Brown said. “It’s absolutely beautiful.”

The original rail car was built during the Civil War and completed just weeks before Lincoln’s death on April 15, 1865.

“If you can think of Air Force One being on rails, that’s what this car was originally built for,” Brown said. “It was to be Lincoln’s state coach, and he was to use it to travel the country.”

People will still have the opportunity to view the train, Brown said. Organizers plan to move it by highway  to Springfield in time for a reenactment of Lincoln’s funeral May 2 and 3.

The rail car will be displayed at the city’s Crowne Plaza hotel during a May 2 fundraising dinner. Tickets cost $75.

Brown said she hopes the train can be displayed in towns and cities throughout the eastern U.S. in the coming months and years as a “rolling museum.”

In 1865, millions of Americans gathered along the tracks as Lincoln’s funeral train slowly moved through seven states on its way to Springfield, where Lincoln is buried.

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