Chicago, Illinois Nov. 14, 1947: Chicago Welcomes the Friendship Train – 1947. Photo courtesy of Chicago & North Western Railway Archives.



The Friendship Train: The Amazing Story of Drew Pearson’s Own “Little Engine” That Could… E.J.

Map of the First Friendship Train Route through only eleven states (Los Angeles, Calif. Nov. 7, 1947 – New York, N.Y. Nov. 18, 1947)


Girl Scouts pass packages and food for the Friendship Train to Illinois Governor Dwight Green and Miss Friendship in Chicago, Illinois, 1947. Photo courtesy of Chicago & North Western Railway Archives.


My Kind of Town (Chicago) – Frank Sinatra


OTD: November 15, 1947 – November 15, 2017



70 years ago today in Chicago, Illinois, one section of the Santa Fe Friendship Train, Drew PEARSON’ s extraordinary people-to-people humanitarian program to collect food for starving France and Italy after WWII, consisting of 77 cars, left the “Windy City” eastbound on the Pennsylvania Railway (PRR); another section left on NYC.

A week earlier, on November 7, 1947, Los Angeles, California, had launched its actual “Christmas collection drive” with the most razzle-dazzle, star-packed parade and ceremony Hollywood has ever seen thanks to Harry. M. Warner, head of Warner Bros. and Chairman of the Friendship Train National Committee, leaving Glendale station that night with 12 boxcars of wheat, flour, canned milk, sugar, and a soybean product called “Multi-Purpose Food.” Spirits were high on the West Coast. Drew PEARSON was hopeful: His original, personal goal for the First Friendship Food Train – 80 boxcars – seemed feasible…

The California Friendship Train, led by Governor Warren, had the greatest time traveling through the West Coast, collecting foodstuffs again and again: Bakersfield, Fresno, Merced, Stockton, Oakland, where Governor Ingram M. Stainback from the Territory of Hawaii, not yet a member of the Union, and who had flown to Los Angeles on a special “Friendship plane,” presented not one (as originally announced) but two carloads of sugar as a gift of the citizens of Hawaii: Hawaiians had work so hard at pooling their pennies to help the people of France and Italy.

Sacramento added two boxcars so by the time the Friendship Train, now pulling 27 boxcars, hit Reno, Nevada where, thanks to Gov. Vail Pullman’s powerful appeal, urging “all Nevadans to give their share of required food” in a proclamation dated November 1, 1947, the state’s 149,000 residents had managed to fill two boxcars and would have done even better if they just had more time. The Santa Fe Friendship Train was then on to Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri.