Cheering and waving crowds have lined the route of the special funeral train carrying George H.W. Bush to his final resting place this afternoon, as his casket journeys 70 miles from Houston to Texas A&M.
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.
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 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.
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.
Crowds have lined the route of the special funeral train that is taking former President George H.W. Bush to the city where he’ll be laid to rest. The casket of the 41st president is visible through large windows on the side of the train car
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
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
Men salute the president while standing on an orange tractor as women take photos of the passing train
The train then embarked on a slow roll to his presidential library in College Station, passing thousands of people who stood along the tracks. Many of them held up their phones for pictures
The Plexiglass door on both sides of the car will allow the public to see Bush’s casket as it hauled on the route through Texas
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
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
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.
Thousands stood along the tracks, as many of them held up their phones for pictures and watched from highway overpasses.
One of the first small towns to greet the train was Pinehurst, where Andy Gordon, took his 6-year-old daughter, Addison, out of school so she and her 3-year-old sister, Ashtyn, could witness the moment firsthand.
‘Hopefully, my children will remember the significance and the meaning of today,’ said Gordon, 38. In Addison’s hand were two small American flags.
At one point, state troopers hovering in a helicopter ordered people to get off the tracks as the train approached
People who turned out to pay tribute are leaving coins on the tracks to be flattened into keepsakes.
Fifty-five-year-old Doug Allen of Cypress left eight coins on the tracks before the train passed through the small town of Pinehurst. The train left his three quarters, three dimes and two pennies flattened and slightly discolored.
He says he only thought of the idea a few moments before the train passed and his wife and her friend found the coins in their bags. He says, ‘It’s something we’ll always keep.’
A 54-year-old Texan who served in the U.S. Air Force during ‘Operation Desert Storm’ is among the many people who turned out to watch the special funeral train carry former President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place.
Kevin Gulley, who lives in Cypress, traveled to nearby Pinehurst on Thursday to see the train carrying the casket of his former commander-in-chief. It is taking Bush’s body for burial in the family plot at his presidential library in College Station.
Gulley wore a blue jacket with ‘U.S. Air Force’ embroidered in gold lettering on the back and had a button reading ‘Looking Great for ’88″ on his lapel. He said he wanted to pay his respects to Bush.
Gulley stood waiting next to his son’s former football coach, 56-year-old Bill Powers. The two ran into each other here waiting for the train.
Powers says, ‘It’s what he wanted because he wanted everybody to be together.’
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
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 locomotive of the train is named 4141 in tribute to George H.W Bush serving as the 41st President of the U.S.
Ryder Davis, 3, watches the memorial train for President George H.W. Bush pass through Pinehurst, Texas, atop the shoulders of his father, 27-year-old Matthew Davis, on Thursday
Firefighters stand on their truck and salute along with other attendants on an overpass as the train carrying the body of former president George H.W. Bush travels past on the way to Bush’s final internment
Proud Texans held up the Texas State flag as the special train carrying the 41st president journeyed from Spring, Texas to College Station following a service at his favorite church in Houston
People cheer as they get a glimpse of George H.W. Bush’s casket as the train rolled onto College Station on Thursday
Young children wave flags and hold a ‘thank you sign’ as the train rolls pass on the route from Spring, Texas to College Station
People pay their respects as the train carrying the casket of former President George H.W. Bush passes Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018, along the route from Spring to College Station
The train is expected to arrive in College Station by mid-afternoon, and a private burial ceremony will follow
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.
Layla Perez holds a balloon with a message for former U.S. President George H.W. Bush along the route where the Union Pacific funeral train will carry his casket
Family members, including former President George W. Bush, were also aboard the train headed to Texas A&M University
People waved American flags and cheered as the number ‘4141’ train passed by on its roughly 70-mile (115-kilometer) journey from the Houston suburb of Spring to College Station
Crowds gather to watch the train carrying the 41st president to his final resting place on Thursday afternoon
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
US Military cadets get into position to form an honor cordon, as they wait for the arrival of the hearse carrying former US President George H.W. Bush in College Station
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.’
It was one of the few times the company has painted a locomotive any color other than its traditional yellow.
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
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 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 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 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
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.
The train rolled past the flashing lights of fire trucks, some hoisting American flags from their ladders, and past state troopers who saluted from the side of the tracks
The train’s sixth car, a converted baggage hauler called ‘Council Bluffs,’ was fitted with transparent sides to allow the mourners lining the tracks views of Bush’s flag-draped coffin
Former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush walk to observe the departure ceremony as the flag-draped casket of former President George H.W. Bush
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
James Baker, a longtime Bush confidant who served him as White House chief of staff and secretary of state, said of the late president that ‘he’s been my friend and he’s been my role model.’ A tearful Baker embraced George W. Bush after his eulogy
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
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.
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
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
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