MILO, Maine — Some of its walls are burned black, others marred with deep scratches. Its seat cushions are torn and distended, its floors littered with trash, and its sides flake Pullman green paint to reveal large, ugly, reddish patches of rust.
But more than 60 years ago, the Belford 99 railroad car carried Presidents Hoover, Truman and Eisenhower on whistle-stop campaigns around the Northeast. Built in the middle of one of America’s most prosperous times, the Roaring ’20s, it is a symbol of American industrial might, of democracy and the blue-collar workmen who earned good living wages making and maintaining the Belford and other cars like it.
Now, the historic car has about four more months until it is scrapped, unless owner Lindsey Bell can find someone to remove it from its sidetrack in the Derby village area and restore it to her specifications, she said.