HOUSTON – Former President George H.W. Bush's casket will be transported by train Thursday.
The rail route goes from Spring, Texas through Magnolia, passes Navasota and ends in College Station. It is approximately 70 miles long and takes about 2 1/2 hours to travel. It is expected to arrive at 3:45 p.m.
In 2005, when Union Pacific Locomotive No. 4141 was unveiled, it marked only the sixth time in history that Union Pacific painted a locomotive something other than their traditional colors. The design is intended to symbolize national pride using the same colors as Air Force One.
Throughout history, trains have played a big role in transportation and that included times when presidents passed. Union Pacific said the processions for presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Abraham Lincoln were done by train. Lincoln was assassinated before the unveiling of his custom-painted locomotive, according to Patricia Labounty, Union Pacific Railroad Museum's collections and outreach manager.
“There's a generation in 1968 with Robert Kennedy that I watched as a child. People saw that trip from New York ending in Arlington. It's an opportunity for a large swath of the population to pay their final respects to someone who's done so much for our country and to have a train like this pulled by a locomotive specifically about this man is really unprecedented,” said Scott Moore, Union Pacific Senior Vice President.
Labounty said we frequently use a phrase that references their historical role in the transportation of presidents and may not realize it. The term POTUS, the president of the United States, was developed by train operators organizing the trip for President Benjamin Harrison in 1891.