Today is Presidents Day. I just so happened to be going through my archives and thought this would make a fitting post. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to tour the Roseville Rail Yards. Unbeknownst to many in the area, the yards had been hosting a very special guest – UP4141. UP4141 or Union Pacific 4141 is an EMD SD70ACe locomotive owned by Union Pacific, commissioned in 2005 in honor of George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States. Its paint scheme is based on that of Air Force One, with lettering reading “George Bush 41” painted on the sides in honor of the George Bush Presidential Library and President Bush
The unit was removed from active service due to reduced traffic levels stemming from the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and was stored at UP’s North Little Rock shop. The locomotive was briefly removed from storage in 2012 and made a round trip from North Little Rock to Chicago, and was then immediately returned to storage. For a while, it was wrapped for long term storage, but the wrapping was later removed. During February 2018, 4141 received cosmetic touch ups to its paint and then returned to storage.
After the death of George H. W. Bush on November 30, 2018, UP 4141 was brought out of storage and was sent to Houston, Texas on December 1, 2018. The locomotive participated in the funeral train for George H. W. Bush on December 6, running from Spring, Texas to College Station, Texas. Following the funeral, the unit was sent to Omaha, Nebraska, where it was on display from December 9 to 12. UP 4141 later went on a system-wide tour, with stops in Chicago, Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, North Platte, Pine Bluff, North Little Rock, Ogden, Portland, Roseville, and St. Louis. (read more on Wikipedia)
UP4141 was accompanied by UP1943. Union Pacific’s Locomotive No. 1943, The Spirit, was the company’s 16th commemorative locomotive. The Spirit honors the United States’ armed forces and the men and women filling their ranks. Created in collaboration with Union Pacific veterans, the locomotive illustrates the railroad’s connection to the thousands of veterans who helped build America through the centuries. (read more at Union Pacific)
It was a beautiful day and thankfully one of the slower days at the yard. This meant I was able to spend some time chatting with staff while they performed routine maintenance procedures and general “housecleaning” at the yard. I learned a few fun facts about these trains:
- Each locomotive needs about 3500-4000 gallons of diesel to fill its tank. They fill a locomotive’s tank about once every two weeks on average. It takes a full sized tanker truck to do the job.
- Most locomotives are paired in twos. One is called the Mother, the other the Slug. The Mother functions as power generator for itself and the slug. The Slug has no engine, only traction motors. The Slug also carries heavy concrete blocks in place of it’s engine to help provide adequate traction. You can make out a Slug by the absence of the engine side vents at the top. They are also silent of course. 🙂
- The square boxy nose at the front of the locomotive actually serves two purposes. It houses the loo (potty, toilet, etc) and a reservoir of sand. The locomotive can/will dispense sand onto the rails if it senses any slippage of the traction wheels.
Do you have a favorite train? Do you have any fun facts about locomotives you’d like to share? Thanks for stopping by.