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Newport News Now

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Newport News Now is a daily e-newsletter that launched in March 2016. Articles that ran in our newsletter between March 2016 and March 2018 are available on these pages. Newsletters produced beginning in April 2018 can be viewed on our new daily newsletter page.

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Oct 05

Lee Hall Train Station Foundation Restores U.S. Army Hospital Rail Car

Posted on October 5, 2017 at 9:55 AM by Communications Department

The Newport News Department of Public Works is helping the Lee Hall Train Station Foundation to restore a U.S. Army military hospital rail car.  The rail car transported thousands of wounded troops to medical facilities on the Virginia peninsula and beyond during conflicts from World War I through the Vietnam era.

Each 85-foot car was a “hospital on wheels” incorporating a completely stocked kitchen, pharmacy unit, sterilizing equipment, ice-activated air conditioning and automated heat control devices. The hospital rail cars were most commonly used during World War II when air transportation was limited. By the Korean War, the use of air evacuation had increased, but hospital rail cars still played a critical role. Several of these hospital cars were utilized at Ft. Eustis, and after being decommissioned were stored on the military post. 

The Foundation received one of the cars that is rusted and in need of restoration. A team of Public Works maintenance specialists and mechanics is working on the project creating templates, cutting and welding the metal, and recreating rivets. Once the exterior of the car is complete, they will begin restoration on the interior. Work on the car began in the spring and is scheduled to continue through the end of the year. The car is being placed at the Lee Hall Depot to serve as a visual reminder of the sacrifices military personnel made for their country.
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