News, Culture & Society

George H.W. Bush’s final journey will be by train as his casket is taken from Houston to Texas A&M

George H.W. Bush has begun his final journey this afternoon, as his casket is being taken by train 70 miles from Houston to Texas A&M in a clear-sided baggage car so mourners can pay their respects before he is laid to rest. 

Following an emotional service at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Bush was taken by hearse to Spring, Texas, where a joint services military honor guard carried his casket onto the special train that will take him and family members and close friends to College Station. 

The locomotive carrying his body was painted to resemble Air Force One, and Bush joked that if it had been around during his presidency, he may have preferred to ride the rails rather than take to the skies.

‘I might have left Air Force One behind,’ Bush quipped during the 2005 unveiling of 4141, a blue and gray locomotive commissioned in honor of the 41st president and unveiled at Texas A&M University.

The train’s sixth car, a converted baggage hauler called ‘Council Bluffs,’ has been fitted with transparent sides to allow mourners lining the tracks views of Bush’s flag draped coffin. 

As Bush’s casket was loaded onto the train, members of the Bush family, including George W., his wife Laura, his daughters Jenna and Barbara, watched somberly.  

After the motorcade arrives in College Station, it will take Bush to his presidential library at the university, where he will be laid to rest at a private ceremony next to his wife, Barbara, who died in April, and his daughter Robin, who died at age 3 in 1953. 

George H.W. Bush has begun his final journey today, as his casket is being taken by train 70 miles from Houston to Texas A&M in a clear-sided baggage car that hails from the golden era of railroads

The hearse carrying the body of President George H.W. Bush arrived at a Union Pacific facility north of Houston shortly before 1pm local time, where his casket will be placed on a special train that will take him to the city where he’ll be laid to rest

The Plexiglass door will allow the public to see Bush's casket as it hauled on the route through Texas 

The Plexiglass door will allow the public to see Bush’s casket as it hauled on the route through Texas 

Members of the Bush family place their hands over their hearts as they watch the casket of George H.W. Bush be carried onto a special train that will take him to his final resting place in College Station 

A Union Pacific locomotive, painted to look like Air Force One,  will carry former President George H.W. Bush to his resting place in College Station, Texas

A Union Pacific locomotive, painted to look like Air Force One, will carry former President George H.W. Bush to his resting place in College Station, Texas

The journey through five small Texas towns should take about two and a half hours. It will deliver the casket from suburban Houston to College Station. Pictured: Bush in 2005 at the unveiling of the locomotive 

The journey through five small Texas towns should take about two and a half hours. It will deliver the casket from suburban Houston to College Station. Pictured: Bush in 2005 at the unveiling of the locomotive 

The former president’s hearse was accompanied to the train station in Spring, Texas by Secret Service detail.

Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the Bush family, says a Secret Service car is following the hearse as it travels from Houston to the city of Spring, where the casket will be placed on a special funeral train that’s headed to Bush’s presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station.

The 70 mile journey takes the Bush family  through five small Texas towns is expected to take about two and a half hours.

McGrath says Bush’s Secret Service detail will remain with him until 6am Friday.

The train is expected to arrive in College Station by mid-afternoon, and a private burial ceremony will follow.

Joining Bush on the train are his relatives, including son George W. Bush and his family, who left St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston following a funeral that was attended by about 1,200 mourners.

Among those in attendance were Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bush’s longtime friend James A. Baker, country singer Reba McEntire, The Oak Ridge Boys, football player J.J. Watts and basketball player Yao Ming.

Baker choked up as he delivered a moving tribute to his friend, saying ‘he’s been my friend and he’s been my role model.’ Baker served Bush as White House chief of staff and secretary of state.

Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the Bush family, says a Secret Service car is following the hearse as it travels from Houston to the city of Spring, where the casket will be placed on a special funeral train that's headed to Bush's presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station

Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the Bush family, says a Secret Service car is following the hearse as it travels from Houston to the city of Spring, where the casket will be placed on a special funeral train that’s headed to Bush’s presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station

The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried by a joint services military honor guard. President Bush will be buried at his final resting place at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University

The flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush is carried by a joint services military honor guard. President Bush will be buried at his final resting place at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M University

A young spectator waves an American flag along the route where the casket of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush will travel aboard the Union Pacific funeral train

A young spectator waves an American flag along the route where the casket of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush will travel aboard the Union Pacific funeral train

The train is expected to arrive in College Station by mid-afternoon, and a private burial ceremony will follow

The train is expected to arrive in College Station by mid-afternoon, and a private burial ceremony will follow

People line the road as the hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush heads to the Union Pacific train facility

People line the road as the hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush heads to the Union Pacific train facility

Police on horseback salute as the hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush

Police on horseback salute as the hearse carrying the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush

As Bush’s hearse made its way from Houston to Spring, mourners lined the streets as they paid their respects to America’s 41st president on Thursday afternoon. 

The inside of the train boasts of an opulent dining room, several lounges and even a business car lounge, capturing the glory of the golden era of railways. 

Bush’s funeral train will be the eighth in U.S. history and the first since Dwight D. Eisenhower’s body traveled from the National Cathedral in Washington through seven states to his Kansas hometown of Abilene 49 years ago. Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train was the first, in 1865. 

Robert F. Kennedy was never president, but he was running for the White House when he was assassinated in Los Angeles in 1968. 

RFK’s body was later transported to New York City for a funeral Mass and then taken by private train to Washington for burial at Arlington National Cemetery. Thousands of mourners lined the tracks for the 200-plus-mile journey. 

Union Pacific originally commissioned the Bush locomotive for the opening of an exhibit at his presidential library titled ‘Trains: Tracks of the Iron Horse.’ 

George H.W. Bush has begun his final journey today, as his casket will be taken by train 70 miles from Houston to Texas A&M in a clear-sided baggage car that hails from the golden era of railroads. The locomotive of the train was named 4141 and painted to resemble Air Force One 

George H.W. Bush has begun his final journey today, as his casket will be taken by train 70 miles from Houston to Texas A&M in a clear-sided baggage car that hails from the golden era of railroads. The locomotive of the train was named 4141 and painted to resemble Air Force One 

The inside of the train boasts of opulent dining rooms, several lounges, sleepers and business lounges, capturing the glory of the golden era of railways. This car, named the City of Portland, served as a diner and was built in 1955. According to Union Pacific, it was nicknamed 'the Flying Banana' and the “Saffron Whiz,” due to yellow color scheme, which has since become a tradition for Union Pacific 

The inside of the train boasts of opulent dining rooms, several lounges, sleepers and business lounges, capturing the glory of the golden era of railways. This car, named the City of Portland, served as a diner and was built in 1955. According to Union Pacific, it was nicknamed ‘the Flying Banana’ and the ‘Saffron Whiz,’ due to yellow color scheme, which has since become a tradition for Union Pacific 

This car was built by American Car & Foundry in 1955 as dome lounge No. 9009 and named The City of Francisco in 1993. It is the only dome lounge in the Union Pacific Heritage Passenger Fleet that is still configured for end-of-train service, according to Union Pacific 

This car was built by American Car & Foundry in 1955 as dome lounge No. 9009 and named The City of Francisco in 1993. It is the only dome lounge in the Union Pacific Heritage Passenger Fleet that is still configured for end-of-train service, according to Union Pacific 

The Overland was built in 1949 by the St. Louis Car Company as lunch counter cafe and lounge No. 5015. It was rebuilt as a 36-seat diner in 1988. It received a wood interior upgrade in 2005

The Overland was built in 1949 by the St. Louis Car Company as lunch counter cafe and lounge No. 5015. It was rebuilt as a 36-seat diner in 1988. It received a wood interior upgrade in 2005

The Portola deluxe sleeper was built in 1949 as a 12 roomette and four bedroom sleeper cabins. It was remodeled in 1965 to be an 11-bedroom sleeper. It went through another remodeling in the 1980s and received a wood upgrade in 2004 

The Portola deluxe sleeper was built in 1949 as a 12 roomette and four bedroom sleeper cabins. It was remodeled in 1965 to be an 11-bedroom sleeper. It went through another remodeling in the 1980s and received a wood upgrade in 2004 

The Harriman Lounge was built in 1955 as dome lounge No. 9004. It was remodeled and named Harriman in 1988. This car received a full wood interior upgrade in 2006. The car is named in honor of American railroad executive Edward Harriman

The Harriman Lounge was built in 1955 as dome lounge No. 9004. It was remodeled and named Harriman in 1988. This car received a full wood interior upgrade in 2006. The car is named in honor of American railroad executive Edward Harriman

The Lone Star business car was built in 1950 by Pullman Standard and was rebuilt in 1957. It was originally named for Native American Chief Pocatello,  Shoshoni tribal chief who allowed Union Pacific to build railways across Native American territory into Idaho. The car was renamed in 2001  

The Lone Star business car was built in 1950 by Pullman Standard and was rebuilt in 1957. It was originally named for Native American Chief Pocatello, Shoshoni tribal chief who allowed Union Pacific to build railways across Native American territory into Idaho. The car was renamed in 2001  

The Kenefick car served as business car, built in 1950 and named after John Cooper Fenefick in 1988. The trainmaster rose through the ranks at Union Pacific to become VP of Operations and later president of the railway company 

The Kenefick car served as business car, built in 1950 and named after John Cooper Fenefick in 1988. The trainmaster rose through the ranks at Union Pacific to become VP of Operations and later president of the railway company 

The Overland diner was build in 1949 and used as a lunch counter cafe before it was rebuilt in 1988 as a 36-seat diner. It received its most recent upgrade in 2005

The Overland diner was build in 1949 and used as a lunch counter cafe before it was rebuilt in 1988 as a 36-seat diner. It received its most recent upgrade in 2005

The Walter Dean lounge car was built in 1955 and named after a dining car waiter, who served Hollywood legends Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. Dean also served President Harry Truman during his 'Whistle Stop Campaign' in 1948. Dean died in 1999, staying with Union Pacific even after passenger service ended in 1971

The Walter Dean lounge car was built in 1955 and named after a dining car waiter, who served Hollywood legends Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. Dean also served President Harry Truman during his ‘Whistle Stop Campaign’ in 1948. Dean died in 1999, staying with Union Pacific even after passenger service ended in 1971

It was one of the few times the company has painted a locomotive any color other than its traditional yellow. 

After a brief training session during 4141’s unveiling 13 years ago, Bush took the engineer’s seat and helped take the locomotive for a 2-mile excursion.

‘We just rode on the railroads all the time, and I’ve never forgotten it,’ Bush said at the time, recalling how he took trains, and often slept on them, during trips as a child with his family. He also called the locomotive ‘the Air Force One of railroads.’

Bush, who died last week at his Houston home at age 94, was eulogized Wednesday at a funeral service at the National Cathedral. By evening, his casket was at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston.

The funeral train has been part of the official planning for his death for years, Bush spokesman Jim McGrath said.

Union Pacific was contacted by federal officials in early 2009 and asked, at Bush’s request, about providing a funeral train at some point, company spokesman Tom Lange said.

‘We said, ‘Of course and also we have this locomotive that we would want to have obviously be part of it,” Lange said. 

President George H.W. Bush's extended state funeral began its final stages on Thursday in Houston, Texas , with the second imposing church memorial in two days

President George H.W. Bush’s extended state funeral began its final stages on Thursday in Houston, Texas , with the second imposing church memorial in two days

A military honor guard carries the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush after a funeral at St. Martin's Episcopal Church

A military honor guard carries the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush after a funeral at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church

The train's sixth car, a converted baggage hauler called 'Council Bluffs,' has been fitted with transparent sides to allow mourners lining the tracks views of Bush's flag draped coffin. Pictured: Workers prepare for Bush's departure ceremony on Thursday

The train’s sixth car, a converted baggage hauler called ‘Council Bluffs,’ has been fitted with transparent sides to allow mourners lining the tracks views of Bush’s flag draped coffin. Pictured: Workers prepare for Bush’s departure ceremony on Thursday

He noted that trains were the mode of transportation that first carried Bush to his service as a naval aviator in World War II and back home again. 

Eisenhower was the last president to travel by train regularly. A key reason was his wife, Mamie, who hated to fly. During the 1952 campaign, Eisenhower traveled more than 51,000 miles and made 252 stops. 

And while he often flew, his wife rode the train the whole time, Union Pacific said.

Still, when Bush beat Democrat Michael Dukakis and won the presidency in 1988, both candidates used trains to make some campaign stops. Bush also occasionally traveled by train in 1992, when he was defeated by Democrat Bill Clinton, including making Midwest stops aboard a train dubbed ‘The Spirit of America.’ 

Bush was president from 1989 to 1993, navigating the collapse of the Soviet Union and expelling former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces from oil-rich Kuwait.

After a brief training session during 4141's unveiling 13 years ago, Bush took the engineer's seat and helped take the locomotive for a 2-mile excursion.

After a brief training session during 4141’s unveiling 13 years ago, Bush took the engineer’s seat and helped take the locomotive for a 2-mile excursion.

Bush, who died last week at his Houston home at age 94, was eulogized Wednesday at a funeral service at the National Cathedral. By evening, his casket was at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston 

Bush, who died last week at his Houston home at age 94, was eulogized Wednesday at a funeral service at the National Cathedral. By evening, his casket was at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston 

View through the window of a train car that carries former American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's coffin towards its burial on April 14, 1945

View through the window of a train car that carries former American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s coffin towards its burial on April 14, 1945

The first president to use a funeral train was President Abraham Lincoln in 1865

The first president to use a funeral train was President Abraham Lincoln in 1865

George H.W. Bush will be taken by the train from Houston to Texas A&M's campus in College Station, which will be about a two and a half hour journey. Pictured: Locomotive 4141 outside the university's football stadium in 2005

George H.W. Bush will be taken by the train from Houston to Texas A&M’s campus in College Station, which will be about a two and a half hour journey. Pictured: Locomotive 4141 outside the university’s football stadium in 2005

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.