History behind train that will transport former President George H.W. Bush's casket

Union Pacific No. 4141 will take former president to College Station


HOUSTON – Former President George H.W. Bush's casket will be transported Thursday to his final resting place in a one-of-a-kind train.

The former president's casket will travel in the Union Pacific No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive. The railroad route travels through Spring, Magnolia and Navasota before stopping at College Station.

From the College Station railroad stop at Wellborn Road and George Bush Drive, Bush's casket will be escorted to Texas A&M University, where he will be buried on the grounds of his presidential library. Bush will be buried alongside his wife, former first lady Barbara Bush, who died earlier this year. Bush's daughter, who died of leukemia at 3 years old, is also buried at the library.

The Union Pacific train, which was unveiled in 2005, marked the sixth time a train bore colors other than the iconic Union Pacific "Armour Yellow" paint. The colors of the train are emblematic of Air Force One.

The train features symbols paying tribute to Air Force One, including the American flag and "sweeping lines of forward motion representing progress," according to Union Pacific.


The train's number, 4141, also pays homage to Bush, the 41st president of the U.S.

Although the train symbolizes a piece of history, it has also been used to carry shipments to all 23 states Union Pacific serves.

"The powerful locomotive continues to lead the way today, a fitting tribute to celebrate President Bush’s lifelong service to our country," a fact sheet from Union Pacific states.


Patricia Labounty, the Union Pacific Railroad Museum's collections and outreach manager told KSAT's sister station in Houston, KPRC, that trains have played pivotal roles in presidential history.

In fact, the term POTUS, shorthand for president of the United States, was developed by train operators in the 1890s as they planned a trip for President Benjamin Harrison, Labounty said.

Additionally, Labounty said President Dwight Eisenhower and President Abraham Lincoln's funeral processions were by train.