via KBTX | By Andy Krauss | Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 2:24 PM CDT|Updated: 19 hours ago
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – The historic Union Pacific 4141 locomotive arrives in College Station Sunday morning where it will be put on display at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum for the enjoyment of the public.
It is famous for leading Bush’s funeral train to College Station from Houston in 2018 to where the former president was laid to rest alongside his wife, First Lady Barbara Bush.
“It’s incredible for all of us at Texas A&M I think because we celebrate the legacy of President Bush here, especially at the Bush School of Government & Public Service where we have about 400 graduate students who want to be President Bush one day,” Dean of the Texas A&M Bush School of Government & Public Service Dean Mark Welsh said. “It’s a very exciting day to have the 4141 train coming home to College Station.”
“This is extraordinary,” George & Barbara Bush Foundation CEO Max Angerholzer said. “This means a lot to the foundation. It means a lot to the presidential library and museum. It means a lot to the Bush School and Texas A&M. We’re so extraordinarily happy. I think this is also really, really important for the Bryan-College Station community, and we’re just happy to be a part of that.”
The train was painted to match Air Force One and renamed in 2005 to honor the 41st president of the United States. The locomotive was dedicated to President Bush to honor his lifelong love of trains, which he used for “whistle stop” campaign events during his presidential runs in 1988 and 1992.
“President Bush did use a railroad trip in both campaigns, so it kind of harkened back to the days of LBJ and Truman,” George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum Director Warren Finch said. “He did campaigning through Georgia and North Carolina from a locomotive, and he loved train travel.”
“George Bush loved people, and he loved communicating,” Angerholzer said. “I think for him, the opportunity as a political candidate and as a president to get out and see people, constituents, and the country was important to him. I think he always loved trains because he felt like that was one more way to connect with people and bring the country together by making them feel like they were a part of what he was doing.”
Union Pacific No. 4141 arrived in College Station around 10:30 a.m., pulled in behind another iconic UP locomotive, The Spirit No. 1943, which honors U.S. military veterans. About eight hours later, the 315,000-pound train car was suspended in midair for about 20 minutes while crews took it off the tracks by two 500-ton cranes.
Carlos DaSilva is the project manager for Supor Heavy Haul, LLC, the company handling the move that has worked on many unique, heavy-duty projects, including the removal of the commercial airliner that landed in the Hudson River and later became known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.”
“We have always specialized in doing things others can’t,” DaSilva said. “Going forward, we always have the best equipment that we can possibly get our hands on to make sure that we’re running the safest equipment on the roads and with rigging.”
Union Pacific announced they would donate the locomotive to the museum in 2019. Bringing 4141 to College Station consisted of a huge collaborative effort among Union Pacific, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents, the Bush School, the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum, the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, and Supor Heavy Haul, LLC.
“We’re all very aware of President Bush’s fondness of trains, his love of trains,” Union Pacific Railroad Senior Director of Public Affairs Richard Zientek said. “This is a way of honoring his legacy and definitely an opportunity for Union Pacific Railroad to honor our commitment to bringing the 4141 home here for President Bush.”
Officials hope it will attract more people to town and potentially become a lasting symbol for the community.
“You think about this town and how important railroad is to College Station, right? That’s the history of this town,” Angerholzer said. “It was a railroad station, so I think this is going to be an important symbol for the library and for the City of College Station moving forward.”
“This is a big railroad town. The tracks go right through the center of Bryan and College Station,” Finch said. “There’s a lot of history of railroading here, and the locomotive will add to that history.”
The exhibit at the museum that will feature No. 4141 is expected to officially open in 2024 for President Bush’s 100th birthday celebration.