Home > Railroads > Amtrak > Texas Eagle > Trip Report
We began our trip on the Texas Eagle on 23 June 2013, taking the train from Chicago to Los Angeles. We began our trip earlier that day in Toledo, taking the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago. Once in Chicago we stopped for an early lunch, and then explored Union Station a bit before making our way to the lounge to relax before our train. Soon our train was boarding and we made our way to our roomette and settled in for our 3-day journey. This was our first time on a Superliner, so there was a lot for us to explore on the train.
As we rolled through the Illinois countryside we split our time between our roomette and the lounge car. Seated in the lounge car we enjoyed the view as we rode alongside old route 66. By the time we reached the Mississippi River though we were unfortunately greeted by heavy thunderstorms. The dark and rain on the windows made photography nearly impossible, which was especially disappointing since our entrance into St. Louis was via the bridge that had at one time also been used by both US 40 and US 50. I had hoped for some photos of the now closed highway approaches, but everything came out as a blurry mess. I also hoped to step out on the platform in St. Louis and take some pictures of the station. We were allowed off the train for a few minutes, but with the pouring rain and no canopy on the platform, going out really wasn’t enjoyable. The wonderful thing about the stop in St. Louis though was that we dropped a coach, so our sleeper was now the last car on the train. This allowed for an outstanding railfan view out the rear door for the rest of the trip, a view I took advantage of so much that my legs ached by the time we arrived in California.
Although asleep much of the time, the trip through Missouri still seemed incredibly slow, as though we were crawling through curve after curve as we slowly lumbered to Arkansas. This was my first visit to Arkansas, and while most of it looked the same in the dark of night as any other state, when we stopped in Little Rock I took advantage of the “smoking stop” to stretch my legs and touch the ground. A few hours later the sky began to brighten and we arrived in Hope. Soon we reached Texarkana and began our long journey through Texas. Through mostly tree-covered eastern Texas it was nice to be able to look out the back of the train and see a little bit more than leaves rushing by. We were able to walk around for a bit in Longview, enjoyed the sight of the very nice station in Marshall, and continued on to Dallas where we were again allowed to wander for a bit on a warm sunny day. Leaving Dallas, the rear of the train offered a great view of the skyline. We had hoped to eat lunch just after leaving Dallas, but found the dining car full. We were finally called to eat just as we arrived in Fort Worth, which precluded us from exploring that station, but at least we were seated with a CSX engineer and his wife, which offered some interesting lunchtime conversation.
The rest of the day we rode south toward San Antonio. The trip went smoothly at first, but then just before Taylor we were stopped for about an hour while crews repaired track damage caused by a freight train in front of us. As night approached we were able to stretch our legs at the smaller than expected Austin station. We rolled through San Antonio very slowly before arriving at the station for our 5-hour wait. We were allowed to explore the platform area for a few minutes, but couldn’t wander for long since they soon had to close the doors to allow the Sunset Limited to pull alongside. We were able to get some sleep while stopped in San Antonio, but with first the locomotive right outside and then the jostling from being switched to the Sunset Limited, sleep was a bit of a challenge.
We awoke to find the Texas landscape had change dramatically, and although trees no longer blocked the side view, we still found the view out the back window most impressive. We arrived at Alpine much earlier than expected and so were allowed an additional station break. Texans are a darn friendly bunch, stopping by to chat and welcome you to Texas as they go about their day. The next major station was El Paso, with its large old brick station and the “famous burrito lady”. Having some time to get out and explore the El Paso station was appreciated. As we left El Paso we saw first the many border patrol units, and then realized that we were only a few feet from Mexico. We headed back north away from the border, making the two stops at the tiny stations in New Mexico, and then enjoyed our dinner as we headed in to Arizona. We arrived in Tucson on time, and had a long wait at the station allowing plenty of time to explore. It was nice to get a chance to look around the station, but it was so hot outside (and unbearable in the sun) that we were soon back on the train enjoying the air conditioning. We left Tucson as night fell and made our way to California through the night. As the sun rose we found ourselves in the Los Angeles suburbs, and soon arrived at Union Station where our journey ended.
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