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Friday December 14th, 2018 1:05AM

The Latest: Bush funeral train finishes its journey

By The Associated Press
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HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on events honoring former President George H.W. Bush (all times local):

3:45 p.m.

A special funeral train carrying the casket of former President George H.W. Bush has rolled to a final stop near his burial site in Texas.

The blue-and-gray locomotive painted to resemble Air Force One arrived Thursday in College Station after a roughly 70-mile (115-kilometer) trip from suburban Houston. Thousands of people lined the train route to pay their respects to the 41st president.

The 12-car train also carried Bush's close friends and family, including former President George W. Bush.

They will now head to the grounds of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum at Texas A&M University for a private burial service. Bush will be laid to rest alongside his wife, Barbara Bush, and their daughter Robin, who died at age 3 of leukemia in 1953.

It was the eighth funeral train in U.S. history and the first since Dwight D. Eisenhower's death nearly a half-century ago.

___

2:30 p.m.

People who turned out to pay tribute to former President George H.W. Bush as a special funeral train carries his body to the city where he'll be buried are leaving coins on the tracks to be flattened into keepsakes.

Fifty-five-year-old Doug Allen of Cypress left eight coins on the tracks before the train passed through the small town of Pinehurst. The train left his three quarters, three dimes and two pennies flattened and slightly discolored.

He says he only thought of the idea a few moments before the train passed and his wife and her friend found the coins in their bags. He says, "It's something we'll always keep."

Officials have been warning the excited crowds to stay off the tracks as the train approaches. At one point, a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter flew overhead and told people to get off the tracks.

Bush will be buried later Thursday during a private service on the grounds of his presidential library in College Station.

___

2:05 p.m.

A 54-year-old Texan who served in the U.S. Air Force during "Operation Desert Storm" is among the many people who turned out to watch the special funeral train carry former President George H.W. Bush to his final resting place.

Kevin Gulley, who lives in Cypress, traveled to nearby Pinehurst on Thursday to see the train carrying the casket of his former commander-in-chief. It is taking Bush's body for burial in the family plot at his presidential library in College Station.

Gulley wore a blue jacket with "U.S. Air Force" embroidered in gold lettering on the back and had a button reading "Looking Great for '88" on his lapel. He said he wanted to pay his respects to Bush.

Gulley stood waiting next to his son's former football coach, 56-year-old Bill Powers. The two ran into each other here waiting for the train.

Powers says, "It's what he wanted because he wanted everybody to be together."

___

1:45 p.m.

Crowds have lined the route of the special funeral train that is taking former President George H.W. Bush to the city where he'll be laid to rest.

People waved American flags and cheered as the number "4141" train passed by on its roughly 70-mile (115-kilometer) journey from the Houston suburb of Spring to College Station.

The casket of the 41st president is visible through large windows on the side of the train car.

Among those paying tribute to Bush was 38-year-old Andy Gordon, of Magnolia, who took his two young daughters to see the train as it passed through nearby Pinehurst.

He says, "Hopefully, my children will remember the significance and the meaning of today."

Bush will be buried later Thursday during a private service in the family's plot on the grounds of his presidential library.

___

12:50 p.m.

A special funeral train carrying the casket of former President George H.W. Bush has begun its journey to College Station, where he will be buried during a private service in the family plot on the grounds of his presidential library.

The number "4141" train that left the Houston suburb of Spring during a light rain Thursday afternoon was painted to resemble Air Force One. It will take 41st president's casket, family and close friends about 70 miles (115 kilometers) through five small towns on a journey that's expected to take about two-and-a-half hours.

About 1,200 people attended a funeral service for the 41st president earlier Thursday at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, which is where the family worships.

Bush will be laid to rest alongside his wife, Barbara Bush, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3 in 1953.

___

12:40 p.m.

The hearse carrying the body of former President George H.W. Bush has arrived at a Union Pacific facility north of Houston, where his casket will be placed on a special train that will take him to the city where he'll be laid to rest.

People lined the route from St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston to the train facility in Spring to pay tribute to the 41st president, who died last week at age 94.

Bush was remembered during a funeral service Thursday morning as a deeply religious family man.

The train will take his casket, family and closest friends about 70 miles (115 kilometers) to College Station, where Bush will be buried later Thursday during a private service at his presidential library.

Bush will be laid to rest alongside his wife, Barbara Bush, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia at age 3 in 1953.

___

12:25 p.m.

A procession carrying the body of former President H.W. Bush is slowly making its way through Houston following a funeral at his family's church.

As the motorcade made its way through Houston early Thursday afternoon, police officers on horseback saluted, construction workers paused and truckers honked as the hearse drove by.

The motorcade is headed to a Union Pacific facility north of Houston, where a special funeral train will take Bush's casket, family and close friends to College Station for a private burial service at his presidential library.

The journey through five small Texas towns was expected to take about two-and-a-half hours.

___

12:15 p.m.

A Secret Service detail is accompanying the hearse that's carrying former President George H.W. Bush to his burial site.

Jim McGrath, a spokesman for the Bush family, says a Secret Service car is following the hearse as it travels from Houston to the city of Spring, where the casket will be placed on a special funeral train that's headed to Bush's presidential library at Texas A&M University in College Station.

McGrath says Bush's Secret Service detail will remain with him until 6 a.m. Friday.

The train is expected to arrive in College Station by mid-afternoon, and a private burial ceremony will follow.

___

11:45 a.m.

The family of George H.W. Bush is headed to a Union Pacific facility to join a special train that will carry the former president's casket to his final resting place.

Bush's relatives, including son George W. Bush and his family, left St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston following a funeral that was attended by about 1,200 mourners.

The family is headed to a facility in Spring, Texas, where a special funeral train will depart with a final destination of College Station.

It will be the eighth presidential funeral train in U.S. history and the first since Dwight D. Eisenhower's body traveled from the National Cathedral in Washington through seven states to his Kansas hometown of Abilene 49 years ago. Abraham Lincoln's funeral train was the first, in 1865.

___

11:35 a.m.

Country music star Reba McEntire has sung "The Lord's Prayer" at the Houston funeral service of former President George H.W. Bush.

The Grammy winner on Thursday followed the Oak Ridge Boys, who were one of the president's favorite musical acts and who sang "Amazing Grace" during the service at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston.

The church where the Bush family worships was filled with celebrities for the final public farewell to the 41st president.

Bush will be buried during a private service later Thursday at his family plot on the Bush presidential library grounds at Texas A&M University in College Station.

___

11:10 a.m.

George H.W. Bush is being remembered at his longtime church as a man of faith who taught Sunday School, served coffee and watched his children perform in a Christmas pageant.

The Rev. Russell Levenson, Jr. told mourners Thursday that Bush had a "resolute faith" and once asked what heaven would be like. He told those gathered at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church that he imagined Bush was greeted in heaven by his wife, Barbara Bush, "with her hands on her hips, saying 'What took you so long?'"

Levenson said it was OK to cry because George H.W. Bush was never afraid to shed tears himself.

Bush's longtime pastor ended the homily with the same prayer used at the president's 1989 inauguration.

___

10:45 a.m.

The only member of the Bush dynasty still in public office says he and former President George H.W. Bush's 16 other grandchildren grew up in awe of the man they knew as "gampy."

George P. Bush told mourners Thursday that the former president would challenge his grandkids to games like "the first to sleep award." The line drew laughs at St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Houston, where the Bush family worshipped.

The 42-year-old George P. Bush holds the office of Texas land commissioner. He joined former Secretary of State James Baker in eulogizing the 41st president, who died last week at age 94.

George P. Bush is the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He was easily re-elected in November to a second four-year term in Texas.

___

10:40 a.m.

Former Secretary of State James Baker remembered his longtime friend George H.W. Bush as having "had the courage of a warrior but the greater courage of a peacemaker" during an emotional eulogy at Bush's funeral in Houston.

Baker began the eulogy Thursday with an apology. Using the nickname "Jefe," which is Spanish for "boss," Baker said he was going to brag about Bush, even though the former president hated boasting.

He called Bush the "best one-term president" in the nation's history. He also praised Bush's grace after the fall of the Berlin Wall, saying that Bush understood that humility toward a fallen adversary "is the very best path."

Bush will be buried during a private ceremony later Thursday at his presidential library in College Station.

___

10:25 a.m.

An honor guard has escorted the flag-draped casket of George H.W. Bush to the altar of the church where his funeral is being held in Texas.

After the casket reached the altar , attendees stood and sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the Thursday morning funeral for Bush in Houston.

The funeral at St. Martin's Episcopal Church is also expected to include music from country music's Reba McEntire and the Oak Ridge Boys.

Following the service, Bush's casket will be escorted by train to his presidential library in College Station for burial.

___

10:15 a.m.

The Houston funeral for George H.W. Bush has opened with an anthem sung at his inauguration.

The St. Martin's Parish Choir performed "This is My Country" at Thursday's funeral, which is the last public remembrance for the 41st president before his burial later Thursday during a private service at his presidential library in College Station.

The funeral at St. Martin's Episcopal Church also included the hymn "O Beautiful for Spacious Skies."

Bush's longtime friend and secretary of state, James Baker, is set to give a eulogy, along with Bush's grandson, George P. Bush.

___

10 a.m.

Funeral services have begun at a Houston church for George H.W. Bush, the last public remembrance for the former president who will be laid to rest Thursday.

About 1,200 mourners were expected at St. Martin's Episcopal Church for the service, which will include eulogies from Bush's secretary of state, James Baker, and his grandson, George P. Bush.

The funeral follows three days of events in Washington honoring the 41st president.

After the Houston funeral, a special train painted to resemble Air Force One will carry Bush's casket, family and close friends about 70 miles (115 kilometers) to College Station, where he will be buried in a private service alongside his late wife, Barbara Bush, and their daughter Robin, who died of leukemia in 1953 at age 3.

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