​​Grande Voiture du Texas

La Societe des Quarante Hommes et Huit Chevaux

The Society of Forty Men and Eight Horses

G R A N D E   V O I T U R E   D U   T E X A S


Earl R. Bennett, Sr. (July 10, 1932 - Nov. 14, 2013) Founder and Owner of
mercitrain.org, represents the driving force behind the Merci Boxcars in the United States. 
His interest, enthusiasm, and sharing attitude affected many persons to jump onto his movement and keep this important, yet rarely spoken of, snapshot in history. 

With the support and willingness to continue to research the Merci boxcars, we are slowly discovering their contents, history, and physical appearance.  A number of years ago we decided it was important to authenticate the original cars.  As visits were made around the United States, it soon became quite apparent that colors, provincial shields, logos, and even the USA seal varied from one car to the next.  This set into motion the visitation, documentation, examination of historic media, and analysis of boxcars.  The one individual with the most knowledge of the physical appearance of the cars was Pamela Todd (Red Lodge, MT).  As we collected more and more data we eventually were led to the North Dakota Historical Society and Mr. Brian R. Austin who had painstakingly digitally reproduced the appropriate provincial shields, logos, USA seal, and both English and French banners displayed on the original boxcars.  This original artwork formed the basis for additional research with corrections and color changes being made in order to again reproduce the original shields.

It is our hope you will enjoy the beauty of these historical boxcars and their contents.  We invite you to visit our webpage (http://mercitrain.org) to learn more and to enjoy this important part of history.

On behalf of

Suzanne and Wayne Wingfield, Estes Park, Colorado

The Texas Merci Boxcar recently received new Provincial Shields of the historic regions of France as designed by artist Robert Louis of France. 

The shields now on the Texas boxcar are accurate reproductions of the original shields, many of which have been lost to time. 

Other than the shields and a few coats of paint over the years the Texas boxcar is in original condition as it came as part of the French Gratitude Train of 1949. 

The accurate reproduction of these shields could not have been done without the dedicated research of many people who have been acknowledged below. 

The Grande Voiture du Texas is very grateful to those who made this correct restoration possible. 

A photo of each plaque will be added as time permits.

Gratitude Train replacement shields.  Details below for packages.

​Contact me with any questions or for quotes on individual items or partial orders.


David Knutson, Grand du Texas                                                                                Working to help get our 1949 boxcars 

Phone:  512-736-2377                                                                                                     accurately restored to their original 

​E-Mail:  davidknutson@sbcglobal.net                                                                       historical design.