A US Army Hospital railcar at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, Miami, FL, 2011.

(Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)



A variety of Hospital trains operate around the world, employing specialist carriages equipped as hospital wards, treatment rooms, and full-scale operating theaters.


World War II

During World War II, the United States utilized a number of Hospital cars as transport for wounded military personnel. Built 1944-1946, these cars became surplus and were retired immediately after the war. Many of the cars saw little or no service.


Monon's Hoosier

With production delays after World War II, the Monon Railroad bought and converted Hospital Cars into the streamlined Hoosier passenger train at their own shops while waiting for modern streamlined cars to arrive from companies like Budd, ACF and Pullman. Twice-daily service between ChicagoIllinois, and IndianapolisIndiana was suspended through World War II, but was restored in 1946. The service was streamlined starting on August 17, 1947, with full conversion from Hospital cars completed that November.

In 1958, the railroad petitioned the Indiana Public Service Commission to discontinue its passenger trains. The Hoosier made its final run April 9, 1959, with little fanfare.


Postcard photo of the Monon train The Hoosier leaving Dearborn Station in Chicago for Indianapolis.

(Audio-Visual Designs, Earlton, NY, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Vintage Film

In 1947, the Monon Railroad produced a documentary film entitled "The Birth of a Train". The film documents the conversion of hospital cars into a modern streamlined passenger train by the Monon's own shops. The cars became baggage cars, dining cars, lounges, etc. The film depicts original hospital car interiors and everything that was done make the cars ready for reconstruction, as well as completion and actual use by passengers.