Bush Museum Readies For Spring Arrival Of Union Pacific 4141
The historic Union Pacific Locomotive No. 4141, a train painted to match Air Force One, will arrive in Bryan-College Station this spring to its permanent home at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
On Thursday, The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved a $1 per-year lease, essentially donating two acres to expand the grounds of the museum. Eventually the acreage will house an exhibit area for a Marine One helicopter as well as the locomotive. They are to be part of a multi-million dollar expansion being planned by the George & Barbara Bush Presidential Foundation.
“Texas A&M is proud to host these icons of the Bush presidency,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “We do everything we can to keep alive the memory and accomplishments of this wonderful president and public servant.”
No. 4141 led the Bush funeral train from Houston to College Station in December 2018, when 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. The railroad had surprised Bush in 2005 by painting it to resemble Air Force One in connection with a train exhibit there.
Former CEO of Union Pacific Dick Davidson was instrumental in the creation of No. 4141. He and his wife Trish have made a significant lead gift to jumpstart private fund-raising for the museum expansion.
“It is fitting this significant piece of history will now make its permanent home at the Bush Center at Texas A&M,” said Max Angerholzer, CEO of the George & Barbara Bush Foundation. “The train meant the world to President Bush. We are grateful to the entire Union Pacific team, especially Chairman and CEO Lance Fritz, for this special gift.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed plans associated with the museum expansion, which is expected to also include new meeting space and a restaurant. Foundation officials want to complete the project in time for a celebration they plan in 2024 for the 100th anniversary of Bush’s birth.
Pandemic-related precautions will delay any public celebration associated with this spring’s arrival of No. 4141 . Due to security precautions, the arrival date will not be announced.
The arrival of Marine One is further in the future, Angerholzer said. Marine One is the call sign for any Marine Corps helicopter carrying the president. Some of the helicopters are being retired, which takes several months in part to remove the classified technology aboard.
In 2005 Bush said that if No. 4141 had been around during his presidency, “I might have left Air Force One behind” and ridden the rails more often.
He had 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.
“Union Pacific is proud and honored that the UP 4141 is one step closer to being on permanent display at the Bush Library,” said Scott Moore, the Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President of Union Pacific. “President Bush’s love of trains is well known and we are pleased that we can be a part of honoring his legacy.”