Union Pacific locomotive 4141 returns to College Station

Union Pacific locomotive 4141 returns to College Station
via The Eagle | by Megan Rodriguez

The Union Pacific No. 4141 Engine, a locomotive painted to match Air Force One, rolled in to town Sunday morning so it could be taken to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

A blanketed No. 4141 was pulled into College Station behind another iconic UP locomotive, No. 1943 — The Spirit, which honors U.S. military veterans. Sunday evening, No. 4141 will be lifted off its rails by two, 500-ton cranes, placed on a 12-axle trailer and driven across the west campus of Texas A&M University to the museum.

Each of the 12 axles carrying No. 4141 is capable of handling 79,000 pounds, according to an A&M System press release. The locomotive weighs 315,000 pound. The caravan will include six police escorts and other support vehicles.

Supor Services LLC is handling the move. Project Manager Carlos DaSilvia said the company has moved the original Statue of Liberty torch to a new museum and removed a ditched commercial airline from the Hudson River in 2009. Its hydraulic trailers are usually transporting equipment for the oil, gas and wind industries, the A&M press release said.

In 2005, Union Pacific Railroad surprised Bush by painting one of its locomotives to resemble Air Force One and naming it No. 4141 to honor the 41st president. It was brought to College Station in connection with a train exhibit at the museum.

No. 4141 Engine returned to College Station in December 2018. It led the Bush funeral train from Houston to where the former president was laid to rest alongside former First Lady Barbara Bush.

In 2019, Union Pacific announced it would donate the locomotive to the museum. CEO of the George & Barbara Bush Foundation Max Angerholzer said the time gap between the announcement and now is due in part to the pandemic but also just the result of many moving parts as the project comes together.

Last month, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents approved a $1-per-year lease, essentially donating two acres to expand the grounds of the museum for exhibit areas for the locomotive and eventually a Marine One helicopter. The land is in front and to the south of the library and museum.

The exhibits are to be part of a multi-million dollar expansion being planned by the George & Barbara Bush Presidential Foundation, according to the A&M release.

Officials said Sunday that they want to complete the new exhibit with the locomotive and helicopter in time for a 2024 celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Bush’s birth.

Throughout his adult life, Bush often recalled fondly riding and sleeping on trains as a boy, the release explains. Trains also carried Bush to his service as a naval aviator in World War II and back home. He also used trains for “whistle-stop” campaign events during his presidential runs in 1988 and 1992. In 2005, Bush said that if No. 4141 Engine had been around during his presidency, “I might have left Air Force One behind” and ridden the rails more often.

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