The Significance Behind George H.W. Bush's Request For A Train Take Him To His Final Resting Place

Former President George H.W. Bush will get a Texas send-off Thursday before arriving at his final resting place in College Station.

After a service at his church in Houston, Bush will be transported to a train station in nearby Spring, Texas where he will be moved into Union Pacific Engine 4141, a train built especially for the 41st President.

Bush will traverse wooded country through Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Grimes counties before reaching Brazos County and College Station, where he’ll be taken to the Bush Library at Texas A&M University, and his final resting place next to his late wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Robin, who died at age 4 from leukemia.

Bush will be just the eighth U.S. President to ride a train on his funeral procession. He follows Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, and Dwight Eisenhower.

Bush began taking train rides as part of his 1992 reelection campaign.

“I love the American people, and this train trip is fantastic,” he said at the time, according to a report by the Austin American-Statesman. “You get outside of that Beltway, you take your case to genuine Americans.”

The 4141 locomotive will depart from the Westfield Station at 1 p.m. local time. It will travel a Union Pacific route that goes northwest through part of Kein and on into Tomball, Stagecoach and Magnolia.

The train will make its way through outposts like Todd Mission, Plantersville, and Stoneham before heading to Navasota, which is the only Texas town besides Houston and College Station to see Bush's funeral procession as well as Barbara’s last spring.

The train will then move northward through two more towns, Millican and Wellborn, before finally stopping next to Texas A&M’s Kyle Field.

The 4141 engine was originally built as a postal storage car for Union Pacific. It was later painted in the same colors as the Air Force One that Bush once traveled. It was unveiled to the family in 2005.

The 4141 will be paired with 11 train cars and a second locomotive, according to Union Pacific spokesman Tom Lange.

Since the announcement of the late president’s funeral procession last weekend, the rural county of Grimes, which has approximately 30,000 residents, has been preparing for this final journey of Bush.

All schools in the funeral track will let out early on Thursday for students and parents to honor the former president. Many businesses will also shut down.

“With the significance of the occasion and the potential impact to our area, we know that this may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for those that choose to pay their respects along the route if able to do so,” wrote Dr. Stan Musick, superintendent of the Navasota Independent School District, which encompasses a large swath of-of the train route. “While we know this is short notice to families to make arrangements for an early dismissal, we also want to allow for folks to make the most of this educational opportunity for our Country, the Brazos Valley area, and Navasota ISD.”

Barbara Bush, the former first lady who passed away last April, is also buried at Texas A&M near the library. Her procession took her by car through Northwest Houston and along U.S. 290 before turning north on State Highway 6 and through Navasota into College Station.

There will be a high-security presence along the route, including Secret Service strategically placed from Spring to College Station.

The train is expected to arrive in College Station at 3:45 p.m. local time Thursday.

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