Brazos Valley communities preparing for President Bush's funeral train

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NAVASOTA, Tex. (KBTX) - Thousands of people are expected to witness history first-hand as President George H.W Bush's funeral train will travel through the Brazos Valley Thursday.

Union Pacific railroad says the train will travel about 70 miles from a rail yard in Spring to College Station for his burial at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

The public is invited to view the presidential train as it nears campus from Wellborn Road.

The train will pass between 3:30 p.m. and 3:40 p.m on Thursday. Texas A&M says you should plan to be in place to view the train by 2:30 p.m.

People of all ages are also expected to gather in Downtown Navasota to pay their respects as the train comes through the heart of town.

"It's a great opportunity to honor a great statesman and a great president," said Navasota Mayor Bert Miller.

On Monday, city staff were still working on logistics for the train passing through.

"We'll probably have some areas that are specifically for where folks can get the best view and just want them to take this opportunity because it is a once in a lifetime chance to be involved in something special like this," said Miller.

"If it's like the ones we've had in the past, we'll have a good participation and a good turnout and we welcome people to come," said Geneva Maynard, Prosperity Bank President. The bank is next door to the train tracks in Navasota. She showed KBTX the sweeping view from their rooftop.

"President Bush and of course the Bush Family has a done a lot for everyone and we’re sorry for the loss but honored to get to witness his trip," she added.

The Brazos County Sheriff's Office is working on plans to assist with the funeral. Their deputies will be placed along the route to the Bush Library for burial.

"There's going to be a lot of police officers and sheriff's deputies present to help folks and help them identify a safe place to assemble. The immediate area of the George Bush Library is going to be pretty well secured and it will be very difficult to get very close to it," said Chief Jim Stewart of the Brazos County Sheriff's Office.

"It’s going to be a long day for the deputies. I believe they are required to report for duty at 5 o’clock that morning and will be released by the time the funeral is over so it’s a very, very long day," said Stewart.

"It’s an opportunity for us to pay our respects to him," he added.

Union Pacific tells us the train trip from Spring to College Station should take about two and a half hours to complete.

The procession from the train to the Bush Library and Museum grounds will not be open to the public.