Even before the age of rapid, easy air travel, presidents still needed to get around the country as quickly as possible.
Train was the fastest, simplest alternative, and so a special presidential locomotive was employed.
The Ferdinand Magellan was specially redesigned for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942, with engineers reinforcing it with armor to protect him against assassination attempts, and ensuring the wheelchair-bound president was able to freely move around.
Roosevelt was the first of four presidents to embark on whistle-stop tours of the US on the train.
President Harry S Truman’s surprise victory in the 1948 presidential election was largely credited to his decision to embark on an epic four month whistle-stop campaign tour — taking his plain-spoken style to towns across the US.
The train was taken out of retirement by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, who on his Heartlands tour consciously mimicked Truman, delivering speeches to supporters in packed train stations from the back of the car.
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These days when the president of the United States wants to get around they will use their fleet of high-tech cars, planes or helicopters.
But there was a time when the best way for Americans to get around was on the huge network of railways that covered the US — and the president was no different.
Though presidents had travelled the country by rail since the 19th century, it wasn’t until 1942 that they got their own specially designed railway engine: The Ferdinand Magellan.
This is its story.
A specially redesigned luxury armored train for presidents to travel in style and safety.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt had travelled across the depression-ravaged US on trains to pitch his ‘New Deal’ to voters in the 1930s.
But with World War II raging, his security team in 1942 decided …read more
Source:: Business Insider