Texas Towns Gather on Train Tracks to Honor a President

People started lining up hours early in the small town of Navasota to catch a glimpse of Union Pacific train 4141 and to honor the 41st president.

And they kept coming despite a steady rain.

Schools closed early and the entire town, it seemed, stopped what it was doing.

"This is history, like, passing by,” said 8th grader Colby Edwards.

The experience would last just a moment.

Bettie Smith and her son Phillip drove all the way from Farmers Branch.

"It gives us a chance to honor somebody who did a lot for our country,” she said.

As everyone focused their attention down the tracks, the anticipation only grew.

"This is getting exciting isn't it,” Smith said.

"It's something I've never seen before and I'll probably never live long enough to see another one,” she said.

And soon enough, the sound of the horn signaled the arrival.

Through a window, people could see the casket of George H.W. Bush.

Members of the Bush family were inside and waved at the adoring crowd.

It was no doubt the most important train to ever pass through Navasota, a town of about 8,000 people, founded as a stagecoach stop back in 1831.

"Pretty big deal, yes sir,” said 84-year-old Carl Dry, a Korean War vet who lives in Navasota. "It's a big event for a small rural town like we're in here. Once in a lifetime situation,” he said.

Dean Schober, his wife and son drove from Dallas.

"This is a momentous thing,” he said. “I was a history major in college many years ago and this is something that only happens once in a lifetime."

Soccoro Orozco, a Navasota landscaper, said he came to say goodbye to someone he admired.

"He was a very good president,” he said. “Good heart."

The President's 80-mile journey to his final resting place began in the town of Spring, north of Houston. 

It slowed it small towns like Magnolia, Tomball and Navasota.

The journey ended in College Station where despite rain, thousands gathered along the tracks, many on the campus of Texas A&M University.

"Nothing can stop us from showing up and showing our respects for the family," said Brooke Thomas, a senior at TAMU.

Contact Us