Spirit Railcar Project

An internet railroad experience…

“What if we could send a model railroad passenger car across the United States?”

Nick Ozorak, Project Coordinator

How it Works

1. Apply

Fill out this form to receive the railcar.

2. Host

Take photos of the car on your layout or at a local railroad or museum!

3. Send

Send the car to its next host in the mail using the included address!

Where is “Wandering Spirit”?

Meadville PA - FJ&G


‘Wandering Spirit’ is on the home rails of the Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad layout by Nick Ozorak. It is currently awaiting decals to rename it and undergoing initial testing.

Note: For privacy, map shows only the town the car is currently located in and not a specific address.




  • It’s never been done before! Specifically, most of our model trains are limited to running in our basement. Wouldn’t it be neat to follow one that travels across the country, just like the real private cars do?

  • The goal is to have the car travel to all 50 states. That said, it could cross a few oceans as well.

  • Nobody knows. The key is to keep the car moving to as many people in as many states as possible. The journey is the destination.

  • There is no cost to apply for the railcar. We’re doing this for fun and to bring attention to our hobby! The only cost is to mail the car to someone else, but I can provide a small stipend for shipping if your money is tight.

  • Contact us to see if your railcar is one we can use. At this point, we are most inclined to use another passenger car.

The Railcar - Wandering Spirit

  • The car is a Labelle 1905 Observation car made from basswood. Project manager and car owner Nick Ozorak bought the car on eBay. The seller did not know anything about the history of the car before he bought it at a swap meet.

  • That is the color it was painted by the car builder. However, seeing as how it coincidentally matches the paint scheme of its home railroad (the Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville R.R.), we’ll keep it!

Requesting the Railcar

Hosting the Railcar

  • #1 Take photos! Here are some suggestions:

    • A ‘selfie’ of you with the passenger car.
    • Photos of the car on your layout or display.
    • Photos of the car at your local tourist railroad, museum, or train display.
    • Be creative!

    #2 Use the car on your train layout:

      • If you model HO Scale, run the car on your layout.
      • If you model N Scale or smaller, set the car up as a ‘monument’ on your layout
      • If you model S Scale or larger, put the car on a flatcar and run it on your layout.
      • If you do not have a model railroad, take the car with you to a tourist railroad, museum, or on any train ride.

    #3 Send us your photos and story about what you did with the car. Then request an address to ship the car to its next host.

  • You may keep the railcar for up to one week before sending it to its next host railroad.

  • No. This car is part of a larger goal of spreading the history and joy of railroading. If you keep it, that prevents us from reaching our goal.

  • If you model N Scale or smaller, set the car up as a ‘monument’ on your layout. If you model S Scale or larger, put the passenger car on a flatcar and run it on your layout.

  • Don’t worry. Real-life railcars can be damaged on their cross-country journeys as well. If the car can still move, just leave it as-is. If you are comfortable repairing the car, feel free to carefully attempt a repair. If you are not comfortable repairing the car, contact us and we’ll determine if it should be sent back for repairs.

Sending the Railcar

…or Contact Us via email for any questions or comments.

(412) 376-5365