Bush Funeral Train schedule set

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UP veterans unit No. 1943 hustles the Bush funeral train consist southward toward Houston on Sunday.
Zach Pumphery
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — George H.W. Bush, the last president who served in World War II, will make his final journey Thursday — by train.

Union Pacific says the special Bush Funeral Train will run from its Westfield Auto Facility at Spring, Texas, on the north side of Houston to College Station at a location across from Kyle Field. The special is scheduled to depart at 1 p.m. and arrive 70 miles later at 3:25 p.m. The train is the last portion of the multi-day funeral that begins in Washington, D.C., and moves to the Bush family church in Houston on Thursday.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, UP hustled SD70ACe No. 4141, painted like Air Force One and named for Bush and his presidential museum and library, from storage in North Little Rock, Ark., to Houston, and specially-painted veterans unit No. 1943 led the funeral train consist from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to Houston.

Presidential funeral trains began with Willliam Henry Harrison in 1841 and ended with Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1969, according to Bob Withers’ landmark 1996 book, “The President Travels by Train.” Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train followed most of his 1861 route from Illinois to Washington, D.C., in reverse and lasted almost two weeks. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s 1945 funeral train from Warm Springs, Ga., to Washington, D.C., was perhaps the best known of these moves that have been forgotten by all except presidential history fans.

Bush campaigned by train in the Midwest and Southeast in his unsuccessful re-election bid for the White House in 1992. For that train a CSX unit was repainted 1992 and emblazoned with a giant American flag on its sides.

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