On March 18, 1983, eight people linked arms and knelt on the railroad tracks on Mason Street just north of Mulberry Street in peaceful protest of a white train said to be carrying nuclear weapons from Texas to a submarine base in Bangor, WA. They were probably wearing one of the buttons shown below.
These trains, used to move nuclear weapons from the 1950s to the 1980s, looked entirely ordinary, except for a few key details. They featured multiple heavily armored boxcars sandwiched in between “turret cars,” which protruded above the rest of the train. The turrets had slit windows through which armed DOE guards peered out, prepared to shoot to defend the train. Some guards had simple rifles, while others reportedly had automatic machine guns and hand-grenade launchers. The trains were highly resistant to attack and unauthorized entry, offered a high degree of cargo protection in event of fire or serious accident, and they were painted white.
When news of the 1983 white train spread through the county, “peace blockades” were established along the route. One online article said that as many as 450 cities and towns, along the route, were involved. In Fort Collins, the train came within feet of the eight protestors, who were dragged from the track and arrested by city police officers.
One of the protestors was John Kefalas, now a Colorado State Senator representing District 14.