Bush Funeral Train departs Spring, Texas

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Bush's casket on board UP's Council Bluffs passenger car.
CNN screen capture
Presidential seal on rear of UP office car Kenefick.
CNN screen capture
UP No. 4141 waits to depart Spring, Texas.
CNN screen capture
SPRING, Texas — Capping days of services and events marking the passing of the 41st President of the United States, the 11-car funeral train carrying the body of President George H.W. Bush and his family and friends departed Union Pacific’s Westfield Auto Facility at 1:02 p.m., Thursday, bound for the Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The funeral procession left St. Martin’s Episcopal Church about 11:36 a.m. and arrived at the loading site an hour later. Before the procession arrived, a military honor guard and band stood at attention, the sound of two locomotives idling in the background. As the pall bearers removed the casket from the hearse, the band struck up “Hail to the Chief, America the Beautiful.” President George W. Bush and his brother Jeb, stood at attention with their right hands over their hearts, then boarded UP office car Lone Star.

Bush’s casket was loaded on board the flag draped car named Council Bluffs, former postal storage car No. 5769 that had been converted into a baggage recreation car for special trains run to U.S. political conventions in 2000. One of the sliding side doors was removed and in its place was a clear panel from which the flag-draped casket could be seen by spectators. The presidential seal was added to the side. The trip is expected to take about 2 and a half hours.

Leading the train is UP SD70ACe No. 4141 painted like Air Force One and in commemoration of the president and his library and museum. According to CNN, the unit is to be retired after this trip. Another recently painted SD70ACe, No. 9096, was second in the consist that included in order, a power car, domes City of Portland and City of San Francisco, coach Lone Star, dome coach Harriman, diner Overland, sleeper Portola, diner City of Denver, dome lounge Walter Dean, and business car Kenefick.

A pilot train with two units made its way ahead of the special.

A presidential historian speaking to CNN said Bush had planned the menu for the funeral train.
The historian also said Bush’s affinity for railroading started in 1942 when his father, Prescott Bush, accompanied him to Penn Station to see him off for his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II. The train is the first presidential funeral train since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1969.

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