The Texas Merci Boxcar replaced the Provincial Shields of the historic regions of France as designed by artist Robert Louis of France in February 2017. 

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 in column right.

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


Earl R. Bennett, Sr. (July 10, 1932 – Nov. 14, 2013) Founder and Owner of, 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 ( to learn more and to enjoy this important part of history.

On behalf of

Suzanne and Wayne Wingfield

Estes Park, Colorado