The U.P. “George Bush 41”

Word was floating around that the Union Pacific’s #4141 was parked over at the U.P. yard in Addis, Louisiana today. This is the locomotive that pulled the funeral train of the late President George H. W. Bush to Texas during his recent funeral. Naturally I felt compelled to investigate, so my friend Ron Findley and I headed over across the Mississippi River late this morning. Arriving in Addis, we found the prize, along with locomotive #1943, the “Spirit of the Union Pacific”.

Here’s the U.P. #4141, the “George Bush 41” parked at the edge of the yard for all to see:

UP #4141 "George Bush 41"

This locomotive is an Electro-Motive SD70ACe, and it was manufactured in Canada in June, 2005. Below is a close-up view of the cab. The Bush Presidential Library plaque is seen on the side of the hood.

UP #4141 "George Bush 41" Cab

The weather in this area has been terrible lately, with thunderstorms and such almost daily. But today we were rewarded with sun and beautiful blue skies . . . perfect weather for a bit of railfanning.

The 4141 was paired with another interesting locomotive, an SD70AH #1943, and it’s named “Spirit of the Union Pacific”. This locomotive pays tribute to our military.

UP #1943 "Spirit of the Union Pacific"

And below is a close-up view of the rear of the 1943. Note the POW-MIA remembrance.

UP #1943 - POW*MIA

This pair of locomotives is indeed an impressive sight, and I’m thrilled that we were fortunate to see them. Even though the U.P. has published that the locomotives are touring their system for their employees to view, they were very hospitable to the crowd of “civilians” that encroached upon their property today.

New Meets the Old

One of those new newfangled diesels meets a steam locomotive at the Chicago Union Station. The time is January of 1943, and that modernistic train is the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy’s Denver Zephyr.  This train ran between Chicago and Denver, with service commencing in 1936,  and running until 1973.  The route was 1,034 miles and the train generally covered the distance in 16 ~ 16-1/2 hours.

Photo by Jack Delano

Steam and diesel engine at the Union Station, Chicago, Ill.

Washing the #3034

Jack Delano has ventured down to the locomotive servicing facilities to see what goes on there.  And here we see Viola Sievers washing down the running gear of C&NW steamer #3034 at the end of its run.  Washing the locomotives was not only for the pride of the fleet, but also so that the machine could be properly inspected for problems and defect.

With the war going, the manpower shortage created thousands of jobs for the women, and they stepped up to even the toughest and dirtiest jobs that had to be done.

Viola Sievers Washing #3034

C&NW Freight . . . the End

Some of my favorite rail images came from a gentleman named Jack Delano.  While not specifically a rail photographer, he left his mark back in the early 1040s with a series of photographs he captured while employed by the Farm Services Administration as part of their photography program.  Two of the railroads he covered extensively were the Chicago and Northwestern, and the Illinois Central.

One of the things I really like about his photography is the way he captures the human element into many of his compositions.  In this image, we can study the unique interior of this freight crew’s C&NW caboose as they are making the run between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa.

Freight train operations on the C&NW between Chicago and Clinton, Iowa

Best Friend of Charleston

Back in the summer of 1973 I attended the NMRA national convention in Atlanta, Georgia, aptly named Peachtree ’73.  It was a fine convention, and in addition to the usual fare, the convention hosted a double-headed steam excursion.

But there was another steam-up that caught my attention as well.  And here it is: a working replica of the Best Friend of Charleston locomotive, along with several coaches.  It was interesting to see it ramble down the street.

Best Friend of Charleston, Atlanta, Ga.

The original locomotive, built in 1830, was said to be the first U.S. built locomotive for actual railroad service.  Unfortunately it suffered a boiler explosion six months after being placed in service.

This replica is one of two that exist.