Early Saturday morning, the Union Pacific Railroad maintenance facility in North Little Rock sent out another diesel locomotive, something it does on a daily basis. But this unit was special, chosen to pull former President George H.W. Bush's funeral train.
Kristen South, senior director of corporate communications and media relations for Union Pacific, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that UP No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive was being being housed at the Jenks Shop locomotive complex.
"No. 4141 left Arkansas (Saturday) and is now in Houston," South said.
The train will carry the body of the former president on a memorial route from Spring, Texas, to College Station, Texas, about 70 miles away, on Thursday. The trip will take about 2½ hours.
Bush will be buried the same day in College Station, alongside his late wife and daughter, on the site of his presidential library at Texas A&M University, according to a release from the university.
According to a Union Pacific news release, the North Little Rock locomotive overhaul and maintenance facility is the largest of its kind on the Union Pacific Railroad and among the largest in the world. The Jenks Shop locomotive complex employs more than 1,100 workers who perform heavy maintenance on a fleet of 7,000 locomotives that pull more than 2,000 trains each day throughout the western two-thirds of the United States.
Last week, Union Pacific Corp. eliminated about 60 jobs from locomotive and car-repair facilities, South previously said. The job losses are a continuation of Union Pacific's streamlining process under its Unified Plan 2020, South said.
South said the UP No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive has been in storage at the North Little Rock facility.
The special locomotive was unveiled on Oct. 18, 2005, during a ceremony near the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the Texas A&M University campus in College Station.
According to a Union Pacific news release, this marked only the sixth time that Union Pacific painted a locomotive in colors other than the traditional UP "Armour Yellow" paint.
The custom-painted locomotive incorporates the colors of the Air Force One presidential jet used during Bush's presidency and symbolizes national pride and strength, the company said. It bears the number 4141 in honor of the 41st president.
The locomotive's rear panel features elements from Air Force One's wings and tail, including the American flag and sweeping lines of forward motion representing progress.
Since production, the UP No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive has delivered shipments across all 23 states served by Union Pacific.
The last presidential funeral train procession was in 1969 for Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to a Union Pacific release.
State Desk on 12/03/2018
Print Headline: TODAY: Locomotive from North Little Rock to pull Bush funeral train