Back in 2005 the Union Pacific renumbered one of their EMD SD70ACe’s to 4141 to match George H. W. Bush’s presidency and painted it in a scheme inspired by Air Force One. Here is a photo I took of it on display in College Stations shortly after the official unveiling ceremony.
Now sixteen years later Union Pacific has donated the 4141 to the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station where it will be on permanent display once a shelter has been completed on the Library grounds. The UP’s Jenks Shop in North Little Rock has removed the locomotive’s prime mover, main generator, traction motors, and other internal parts to ready it for delivery while reducing the weight from over 200 tons to 160 tons.
Sunday March 21st was designated as the day to use the UP 1943 to pull the tarped 4141 up to College Station from Spring, TX and to then transfer it from the rails to a special trailer to be moved to the Library grounds. On Monday the 22nd the locomotive would be lifted from the trailer and placed on its permanent display track at the site to the south of the Library’s main entrance. The shelter to protect the locomotive will then be built around it and the tarp not removed until the official ceremony hopefully this fall.
I was tasked by an involved customer to document the two-day event. Ultimately I delivered over 300 still photos from the ground and air along with time lapse video. Here are thirty-two of my most favorite photos taken of the equipment and teamwork involved in accomplishing the task without any issues or injuries. Robert Holzweiss, Deputy Director of the Library, had volunteered to be my assistant and his help was invaluable. Robert and I arrived before 9:00 am and attended a job briefing while the UP 1943 and 4141 were on their way from Spring. The pair made good time and arrived on site at F&B Road and FM 2154 at 10:39 am.
The crew today was the same as for the Bush funeral train back in 2018; engineer June Nobles and conductor Randy Kuhaneck. Both are military veterans and considered it an honor to first bring President Bush home and now his locomotive. Here is Randy on the right letting the roadmaster use his radio shortly after the arrival of the special.
After shoving the 4141 into the house track off of Main Two and parking the 1943 back on the main, Randy and June dismounted and took their vests off so their shirts could be seen as they took in the view of the 4141.
And then this final pose with the 4141 before video interviews with both myself and the Bush Library communications group.
When we were done June and Randy took the 1943 as a light engine on to Hearne where they tied it down next to the yard office before going off duty. A Form “B” work area had been established earlier and two 500-ton cranes were set up to lift the 4141 onto the special transport trailer in this drone view after I had setup and started the time lapse camera.
The company hired to accomplish the move, Supor Services LLC, was the same company that successfully recovered US Airways Flight 1549’s Airbus A320 from the Hudson River and then transported it to a warehouse for study. Their personnel worked with great precision as they rigged up for the lift.
All was checked and double checked and then the two computer controlled cranes started the lift around 6:15 pm.
A good sized crowd had gathered by word of mouth and news coverage from this day as the event had not been publicly announced in advance.
The move from rail to trailer took around thirty minutes as the evening shadows began to lengthen.
A few minutes past 7:00 pm a southbound train was cleared through the work area on Main One, and if as to represent UP’s participation the lead unit was a nearly new and clean Tier 4 SD70ACe.
I retrieved the time lapse camera and once everything was secured, the tractor coupled up to the transport trailer and a few minutes before 8:00 pm started to slowly back up towards F&B Road. The 12-axle trailer could be hydraulically raised and lowered in addition to all the wheels turning independently to facilitate tight turns. All these features came in handy as the trailer was backed up onto F&B Road.
The traffic lights above were rotated on their cross arm to create the needed clearance for the 4141 to fit underneath.
Around 8:15 pm the “over the road” portion of the move began under watchful eyes.
While the locomotive convoy took the long way around, Robert and I took a shortcut so as to be ready for its arrival at the Library. At 8:46 pm I used the parking lot lights to illuminate the scene while framing up this view of the 4141’s arrival with the library in the background.
After the tractor and trailer were parked in the Library’s loading dock area for the night, Robert and I were done with Part One. Part Two would begin after 7:00 am Monday morning as I made my way up to the roof of the Library to set up my time lapse camera once again. The day started around 8:00 am as the trailer was driven up the ramp to the unloading spot.
In this view with the trailer almost in position you can see the display track on the other side where the 4141 will be placed.
Once the trailer was in position it was locked down and the fourth jack was put in place and the cross beam installed at the rear of the locomotive.
Around 1:30 pm when the lift time was imminent I relocated to the work area for the best close up views.
Here the lift cables are being attached to the 4141.
A Supor Services team member checks to make sure the rear cross beam is level.
Supor Services’ Project Manager Carlos Da Silva on the right watches carefully as the lift operator used his remote panel to begin raising the 4141.
In a few minutes the trucks have raised above the trailer bed. Note one of the chocks that had been welded in place on both sides of the center wheel in both trucks.
The 4141 moved laterally and was carefully lined up over the display track.
The level of concern and concentration in the group was high at this moment, but everything was going smoothly.
The operator lowered the unit to within a few inches of the rails for the final alignment.
Levels and tape measures were once again applied to make sure all wheels touched down at the same moment.
Carlos got into position to manage the last few inches of the lowering process.
Communication between Carlos and the lift operator was intense as the 4141 touched down.
And then the realization that it was done, and without a hitch. the ex-UP 4141 was now solidly on Library ground.
One last view from the roof of the Library as I turned off the time lapse camera.
Everyone did a fabulous job of accomplishing this move without any issues. It was a pleasure and a privilege to watch and record the work as it was done. Now Supor Services’ equipment will be dismantled and the fence moved in around the locomotive to protect it while the building is built around it. The tarp will be removed as part of the ceremony that will take place hopefully in the fall of 2021.