Starting in 1948, the original Texas Eagle operated from St. Louis, through Little Rock, to Longview, Texas, along the Missouri Pacific Railroad and the Texas & Pacific Railway, predecessors of today's Union Pacific Railroad. Two parts of the Texas Eagle operated from Longview to the west and south: to El Paso via Dallas, Fort Worth, Abilene, Midland and Odessa, Texas, and to Austin and San Antonio, with through cars to Houston via Palesting, Texas. The Amtrak successor train for much of this route was the Inter-American, which operated from 1974 to 1981.
Now four days weekly, the Texas Eagle takes you to the unique attractions and big-city excitement of Chicago, St. Louis, and Dallas-Fort Worth; to historic Little Rock and Hot Springs National Park (via Little Rock and Malvern); the new casinos of Bossier City and Shreveport (via Longview motorcoach connections or Marshall); the down-home country entertainment of Austin; San Antonio, home to the contemporary pleasures of Paseo del Rio (the River Walk) and the ancient walls of the Alamo. The Texas Eagle makes a 1,308-mile journey from the fertile fields of Illinois to the oil fields of Texas and terminates in San Antonio three days weekly, with Texas Eagle passengers connecting to El Paso and points west on the Sunset Limited. Texas Eagle passengers connect via motorcoach at Longview to Houston and points east on the Sunset Limited.
By providing a fourth day of service extending to West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, the Texas Eagle California Service is the first expansion of passenger rail service in nearly 28 years between San Antonio and Los Angeles. The Sunset Limited has operated three days weekly along this route from San Antonio to Los Angeles since immediately before Amtrak assumed operation of the train from Southern Pacific Lines, another Union Pacific predecessor, in 1971.
The Texas Eagle California Service makes history in another way, too: never before has a through passenger train originated and terminated in Chicago and Los Angeles, via San Antonio and Dallas-Fort Worth.
From San Antonio west, the 1,418-mile route includes the high country of the Del Norte Mountains (a good base for side trips to Carlsbad Caverns) and Las Cruces, New Mexico, where pronghorn antelope, mule deer and long-eared jackrabbits abound in the storied valley of El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley. Then you arrive in New Mexico and Arizona, with visions of distant mountains and extinct volcanos, of ancient Native American settlements and fabulous rock formations, of brilliant skies and perhaps the most beautiful sunset you'll ever see, and finally to California and the City of Los Angeles.
Amtrak gratefully acknowledges the Texas Eagle Coalition and others for their continuing support and promotion of the Texas Eagle and welcomes you in celebrating 50 years of Texas Eagle heritage, 1948-1998.
Posted for Arkansas Rail by Bill Pollard.
Posted: Friday, 6 February 1998.
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