In a rare sight in United States history, President George H.W. Bush’s body is being taken to his final resting place via a funeral train called UP 4141, and the public will be able to see the train as it moves along its route.
Union Pacific has a website that lists a lot of information about the Bush train, including route, a map and times. The train’s path will take about 2 and a half hours to bring Bush to his burial spot.
The former president’s casket is viewable to the public standing outside through a special car in the train.
Former President George W. Bush shared a picture on Instagram from inside the train.
“Union Pacific is honored to participate in the funeral procession for President George H.W. Bush. The funeral train leaves Union Pacific’s Westfield Auto Facility Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. and should arrive at College Station across from Kyle Field at 3:25 p.m. The Westfield Auto Facility is not open to the public,” the site reports.
However, the public will be able to view the train elsewhere along its route.
Here’s what you need to know about Bush funeral train 4141:
1. The Bush Funeral Train Will Continue to His Final Resting Place at the Bush Library
You can see the Bush funeral train route map above. It was released by Union Pacific. The public gathered along the train route to pay its respects to the former president.
The City of College Station has released information about parking and road closures:
“The Union Pacific train carrying President George H.W. Bush from Houston to College Station is scheduled to arrive on Thursday at about 3:45 p.m. An arrival ceremony — for family and invited guests only — will take place on the west side of the railroad tracks (across from the Texas A&M Hotel & Conference Center) before the President’s funeral procession continues to his final resting place, next to First Lady Barbara Bush and daughter, Robin, on the grounds of the Bush Library Complex,” a news release says.
“ROAD CLOSURES: Per orders from the United States Secret Service, the following roadways will be blocked to vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic beginning at midnight on Thursday, Dec. 6: Wellborn Road, from University Drive to George Bush Drive. George Bush Drive, from Wellborn Road to Harvey Mitchell Parkway (FM-2818). All streets leading to West Campus.”
As for spectator parking, the site explains, “Texas A&M University Transportation Services is allowing free event parking at six campus locations, including the University Center Garage across from Rudder Tower…Spectators are strongly discouraged from parking illegally in any neighborhood and from blocking any roadway. The College Station Police Department will take all necessary steps to ensure neighborhood streets have adequate emergency vehicle access and safe conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.”
2. Bush Train 4141 Was First Unveiled in 2005 & Uses the Colors of Air Force One
Union Pacific also provides some background on the train, which is designed to resemble the way Air Force One looked during Bush’s presidency. “The UP No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive was unveiled October 18, 2005, during a ceremony near the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas,” it reveals.
“This marked only the sixth time that Union Pacific painted a locomotive in colors other than the traditional UP ‘Armour Yellow’ paint. The custom-painted locomotive incorporates the colors of the Air Force One used during Mr. Bush’s presidency and symbolizes national pride and strength. It bears the number 4141 in honor of the 41st president. The locomotive’s rear panel features elements from Air Force One’s wings and tail, including the American flag and sweeping lines of forward motion representing progress.”
3. The Bush Funeral Train Weighs 420,000 Pounds
Union Pacific also provides details about the train itself.
UP continues, “The SD70ACe locomotive measures 15 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 420,000 pounds with a full tank of diesel fuel. Its fuel tank holds 4,900 gallons of diesel. The UP No. 4141 is equipped with a 4,300 horsepower engine and can travel up to 70 miles per hour.”
Union Pacific explains that George H.W. Bush was a supporter of rail. “In September 1992, and again in October, George H.W. Bush took two campaign trips by rail totaling five days across six states – the most extensive presidential campaign trip since 1964 and the longest rail trip for an incumbent president since Truman. By 1992, only a handful of premium rail passenger cars were still in existence, including those loaned by Union Pacific for President Bush’s train: the Selma, Walter Dean, City of Portland, Challenger, Overland, City of Los Angeles, Sunshine Special, Portland Rose, Texas Eagle, and City of Salina. Security kept crowds away from the tracks, to the disappointment of the president.”
4. Eisenhower Was the Last President Whose Body Was Transported by Funeral Train
Union Pacific explains, “From the 1840s to the 1940s, if a president needed to travel in the United States he went by train. It wasn’t until the end of Franklin Roosevelt’s administration in 1945 that an aircraft was configured for presidential use. Until that time, presidents traveled by rail for business, to campaign, and for some, at the end of their lives en route to their final resting places.”
Which presidents used funeral trains? Abraham Lincoln was the first. “In 1864, the U.S. military began building a private rail car for Lincoln. The car was finished in February 1865 but he never had the opportunity to use it. Lincoln was shot April 14, 1865. His funeral train departed Washington, D.C., April 21 on its 180-city, seven-state journey to Springfield, Illinois. His body, along with the casket of his son Willie who had died three years earlier, was carried in his private rail car,” the UP press kit says.
Other presidents whose bodies were transported by funeral trains are: Ulysses Grant, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower. Ike was the last before Bush: In 1969.
5. People Will Be Able to Glimpse the Bush Train
The City of College Station website also explains where people can best watch the processions. “There are three locations (indicated in light blue on the Transportation Services map) where viewing will be safe and ideal, and College Station Police Department recommends you arrive at one of these locations as far ahead of the train’s estimated 3:45 p.m. arrival as possible,” it reads.
“For those wanting to safely view the train — led by the blue-and-white 4141 engine — carrying President Bush as it slows to a stop, spectators are urged to stand on the east side of Wellborn Road (behind perimeter fencing) either in front of the Kyle Field parking lot (Lot 62) or between that location and George Bush Drive.”