The historic Union Pacific No. 4141 Engine, a locomotive painted to match Air Force One, will arrive this spring at its permanent home at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
According to Texas A&M, the University System Board of Regents approved a $1 per-year lease on Thursday, essentially donating two acres to expand the grounds of the museum.
The acreage will eventually house an exhibit area for a Marine One helicopter as well as the locomotive, Texas A&M University said. The helicopter and locomotive are to be part of a multi-million dollar expansion being planned by the George and Barbara Bush Presidential Foundation.
"Texas A&M is proud to host these icons of the Bush presidency," Chancellor John Sharp said. "We do everything we can to keep alive the memory and accomplishments of this wonderful president and public servant."
George H.W. Bush
The No. 4141 Engine led the Bush funeral train from Houston to College Station in December 2018, when the former president was laid to rest at alongside First Lady Barbara Bush.
According to Texas A&M, Union Pacific announced that it would donate the locomotive to the museum a year later.
The railroad surprised Bush in 2005 by painting it to resemble Air Force One, Texas A&M said.
Texas A&M University said Dick Davidson, the former CEO of Union Pacific, and his wife, Trish, made a significant gift to jumpstart private fund-raising for the museum expansion.
"It is fitting this significant piece of history will now make its permanent home at the Bush Center at Texas A&M," Max Angerholzer, CEO of the George and Barbara Bush Foundation, said. "The train meant the world to President Bush. We are grateful to the entire Union Pacific team, especially Chairman and CEO Lance Fritz, for this special gift."
George H.W. Bush
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed plans associated with the museum expansion, which is expected to also include new meeting space and a restaurant, Texas A&M said. Foundation officials said they want to complete the project in time for the 2024 celebration of the 100th anniversary of Bush's birth.
Texas A&M said pandemic-related precautions will delay any public celebration associated with this spring's arrival of the No. 4141 Engine.
Due to security precautions, the arrival date will not be announced, Texas A&M said.
The arrival of Marine One is further in the future, Angerholzer said.
Marine One is the call sign for any Marine Corps helicopter carrying the president. Some of the helicopters are being retired, which takes several months as classified technology is removed from onboard.
In 2005, Bush said that if No. 4141 Engine had been around during his presidency, "I might have left Air Force One behind" and ridden the rails more often, Texas A&M said.
According to Texas A&M, Bush recalled fondly riding and sleeping on trains as a boy.
Trains also carried Bush to his service as a naval aviator in World War II and back home, Texas A&M said. He also used trains for "whistle stop" campaign events during his presidential runs in 1988 and 1992.
"Union Pacific is proud and honored that the UP 4141 is one step closer to being on permanent display at the Bush Library," Scott Moore, the Chief Administrative Officer and Senior Vice President of Union Pacific, said. "President Bush's love of trains is well known and we are pleased that we can be a part of honoring his legacy."