The funeral train that carried President George H.W. Bush in December of 2018 to his final resting place on the Texas A&M campus will be placed on permanent display at his presidential library on the grounds.
According to a press release by Texas A&M , the Union Pacific 4141, which is painted blue, gray and white to mirror the colors of Air Force 1, was brought to College Station for the announcement.
David B. Jones, president, and chief executive officer of the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, said the train will be installed in a year or so near the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and also unveiled a concept for the partially-enclosed display.
“It’s an incredible representation of a key part of my father’s legacy that will now reside outside of the library where Dad’s life is already so beautifully manifested by various exhibits,” Neil Bush, son of the 41st president and former first lady Barbara Bush, said at the announcement.
Union Pacific representatives, Texas A&M officials, Bush family members and other friends of the late president disembarked from the train again Friday for the announcement of its donation by Union Pacific. A relationship with the railroad corporation is “woven into the DNA” of the Bush Foundation and the presidential library, Jones said, with the president and his guests traveling occasionally by train to the library for events.
“It was Bush’s idea to be taken by train to College Station to be laid to rest behind his library, where his wife was buried earlier that year alongside their daughter, Robin. Scott Moore, senior vice president for corporate relations and chief administrative officer for Union Pacific, said the plan had been in place for 12 years. Talks of bringing the train back to the library permanently began almost immediately after the burial,” read the release.
“I think it’s perfect — the president enjoyed that locomotive so much — that it will [have] a resting place here with him,” said Richard Davidson, a friend of Bush who served as CEO of Union Pacific from 1991 to 2007.
Neil Bush said that what drew his father to trains is also what drew him to Texas A&M — a common thread of nostalgia and patriotism, “something that lifts us up.” For the train that represented an iconic capstone to the 41st president’s life to be placed permanently next to his museum “is an amazing tribute to a great man,” he said.
Fundraising will now begin for the structure that will house the train. Jones said it will be located on the property near the museum and the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center.