COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The historic Union Pacific No. 4141 Engine, a locomotive painted to match Air Force One, has now arrived at its permanent home at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
The engine will remain as the George & Barbara Bush Presidential Foundation starts planning and fund-raising for a multi-year, multi-million dollar expansion. A pavilion will be built around the engine, which is currently blanketed in a deep blue covering to protect it from the elements and construction hazards.
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed plans associated with the museum expansion, says Texas A&M University. The expansion is expected to also include new meeting space and a restaurant. Foundation officials are hoping to complete the project in time for a celebration they're planning in 2024 for the 100th anniversary of Bush’s birth.
Given the months of fundraising, planning, and construction, the university says it is likely to be a year or longer before the public has access to No. 4141.
No. 4141 traveled north past Kyle Field Monday morning on the rail near Wellborn Road pulled by another iconic locomotive, No. 1943 - The Spirit, which honors U.S. military veterans, says Texas A&M. Later on that day, the No. 4141 was lifted off of the trailer and placed on its permanent outdoor pad. The intricate hoist and placement was done with a 1,000-ton gantry lift system, something often seen loading and unloading cargo at deepwater ports.
No. 4141 traveled north past Kyle Field Monday morning on the rail near Wellborn Road pulled by another iconic locomotive, No. 1943 - The Spirit, which honors U.S. military veterans. (Texas A&M University)
"What a historic day for our community," said Chancellor John Sharp. "President Bush loved trains and we love everything associated with the legacy of President Bush. Congratulations to the crew at Union Pacific, our hauling contractor and everyone at the Bush Center at Texas A&M who worked to bring 4141 home.
Carlos DaSilva, project manager for the operation, said the move took about four months to plan and involved a crew of more than 25 workers. "We’ve done a lot of specialized projects," he said. "We’re very proud to be part of this one."
A pavilion will be built around the engine, which is currently blanketed in a deep blue covering to protect it from the elements and construction hazards. (Texas A&M University)
Former CEO of Union Pacific Dick Davidson was instrumental in the creation of No. 4141, says Texas A&M, and he and his wife Trish have made a significant lead gift to jumpstart private fundraising for the museum expansion.
No. 4141 Engine led the Bush funeral train from Houston to College Station in December 2018, when the former president was laid to rest alongside First Lady Barbara Bush. A year later, Union Pacific announced it would donate the locomotive to the museum. The railroad had surprised Bush in 2005 by painting it to resemble Air Force One in connection with a train exhibit there.
In addition to the 4141 engine, a Marine One helicopter will be a part of the museum. According to Max Angerholzer, CEO of the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, the arrival of Marine One is further in the future as some of the Marine Corps helicopters are being retired, which takes several months in part to remove the classified technology aboard.
Last month, the Texas A&M System Board of Regents donated two acres to expand the grounds of the museum for exhibit areas for the locomotive and Marine One helicopter.