BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Today the historic Union Pacific No. 4141 Engine, a locomotive painted to match Air Force One, is reaching its final destination at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
A blanketed No. 4141 pulled into College Station on Sunday morning behind another iconic UP locomotive, No. 1943 – The Spirit, which honors U.S. military veterans. Later today No. 4141 will be lifted off its rails by two, 500-ton cranes, placed on a 12-axle trailer and driven — carefully — across the west campus of Texas A&M University to the museum.
“What a historic day for our community,” said Chancellor John Sharp of the Texas A&M System. “President Bush loved trains and we love everything associated with the legacy of President Bush. Congratulations to the crew at Union Pacific, our hauling contractor and everyone at the Bush Center at Texas A&M who worked to bring 4141 home.
No. 4141 traveled north past Kyle Field on the rail near Wellborn Road about 10:40 a.m. The UP crew moved it to a sidetrack near F&B Road. Downloadable video b-roll is available here: https://vimeo.com/tamumarcomm/download/526990325/db97544ffd
The locomotive’s move Sunday night from the railroad track to the museum is a massive undertaking.
Each axle of the 12-axle trailer is capable of handling 79,000 pounds. The locomotive weighs 315,000 pound. The caravan will have six police escorts and other support vehicles to ensure safe, secure transport.
The company handling the move, Support Services LLC, has worked on many unique, heavy-duty projects. It 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 transport by the oil, gas and wind industries.
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 here alongside First Lady Barbara Bush.
A year later, Union Pacific announced it would donate the locomotive to the museum.
Last month, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents donated two acres to expand the grounds of the museum for exhibit areas for the locomotive and eventually a Marine One helicopter. The exhibits are to be part of a multi-million dollar expansion being planned by the George & Barbara Bush Foundation. Foundation officials want to complete the project 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. 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.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation with a budget of $6.3 billion. The System is a statewide network of 11 universities; a comprehensive health science center; eight state agencies, including the Texas Division of Emergency Management; and the RELLIS Campus. The Texas A&M System educates more than 151,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $1 billion in FY 2019 and helped drive the state’s economy.
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