Former President Bush's Final Train Trip has Nebraska Ties

Former President George H.W. Bush aboard the Bush 4141 Union Pacific locomotive. (Photo courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad)
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December 4, 2018 - 3:30pm

Former President George H.W. Bush’s journey to his final resting place in College Station, Texas will come aboard a train with Nebraska ties. The Bush 4141 locomotive is part of a special, customized Union Pacific Railroad presidential funeral train.   

The Bush 4141 locomotive was unveiled in 2005 and has been part of working trains for Omaha-based Union Pacific for most of the time since. It will lead former President Bush’s three-car funeral train from Houston to College Station, Texas, where he’ll be laid to rest next to his wife Barbara at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library there. UP’s Mike Iden, the recently retired head of Car and Locomotive Engineering for the company, says the locomotive’s blue, gray and white color scheme was chosen for a reason.

Former President George H.W. Bush operating the Bush 4141 locomotive. (Photo courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad)

“The original goal was to come up with a locomotive which had a presidential color scheme and early on the decision was made by the group to basically replicate the color scheme used by the Air Force One jet aircraft,” Iden said.   

After the locomotive was unveiled, President Bush had a request.

“President Bush said, “Can I run it?” and we made the decision to bring him into the engineer’s seat on that side of the cab and give him a little training and of course our engineer was directly behind him, but at that point the former president operated the locomotive for about two miles,” Iden said.   

Bush 4141 locomotive used to carry former President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place in College Station, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Union Pacific Railroad) 

The President’s final trip from Houston to College Station will take about three hours and pass through a number of small towns. Union Pacific Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations Scott Moore says the funeral train is a fitting tribute to the former president.  

“It’s an opportunity for a large swath of the population to pay their final respects to someone who has done so much for our country and by having a train like this pulled by a locomotive specifically about this man is just really unprecedented,” Moore said.    

The last time a train was used to transport a former president’s body was in 1969, when President Eisenhower’s body was taken from Washington D.C. to his final resting place in Abilene, Kansas.     

Editor's Note: The quotes used in this story came from interviews provided by Union Pacific Railroad.



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