Texas Eagle : July 5 - July 8
Our first trip of the year was upon us and it was set to be a big one. Abril and I had decided back in February that we wanted to attend the Harry Potter Exhibition in Chicago Il. This exhibition was set to take place beginning July of this year and it was to be held at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. In addition since Abril and I are huge LA Dodgers fans we wanted to take this opportunity to make a side trip up to Milwaukee Wi to watch our Dodgers take on the Milwaukee Brewers. Of course we opted to take Amtrak to Chicago as we enjoy train travel quite a bit. Unfortunately we would have to fly back home after this trips conclusion.
We were booked on Amtrak train # 2/422 the Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle out of Yuma Az July 5th. After arriving at the Amtrak station in Yuma on this hot 106 degree day, we noticed a fair amount of people waiting for the train. The train would arrive close to an hour late and once in the station Abril and I would quickly find our sleeper at the end of the train. The last 2 cars in the consist (a coach & a sleeper) are Chicago bound cars that are dropped off in San Antonio Tx. Once in our roomette the conductor quickly came by to take our tickets, he then told us that if we wanted to have dinner we would have to hurry to the diner since it was last call. We declined since we had eaten earlier at the new Quechan casino in Winterhaven Ca. For this trip Kevin would be our excellent sleeping car attendant all the way to San Antonio Tx. As the train cut thru the hot Arizona night we would take the time to relax in our roomette. Kevin would soon come by to check on us and I would have him make up our beds for the night.
Train # 2/422 @ El Paso Tx
View From The Back Of Our Sleeping Car !
The following morning we awoke with our train coming into El Paso Tx. After a couple of quick showers Abril and I were off to breakfast. At breakfast we both would have French toast & bacon w/ juice. One thing I quickly noticed in the diner was that the dining car staff was doing an excellent job keeping up with the morning breakfast rush. They also genuinely looked happy, taking the time to chat with the passengers. In my past experience riding on Amtrak, sometimes you’ll get a dining car staff that seem like they are constantly at each others throats, some even going as far as to yell back and forth at each other. This thankfully was not the case on today’s Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle. After breakfast we were back in our roomette relaxing and taking in the passing Texas landscape. Sometime after noon our train would make its scheduled stop at Alpine Tx. This would also be an opportunity for us to go out and get some air. I would venture as far as the street in front of the depot to take some pictures. There were some nice looking older buildings near by and I thought they would make for some nice photos.
Looking Down Holland Av In Alpine Tx
Back on the train we would continue east towards San Antonio Tx. Shortly after departing Alpine we decided to head off and have some lunch. Abril and I would both decide on the “warm sandwich” option which ended up being a sliced chicken sandwich. I honestly did not enjoy the meal as it was a bit to greasy for my taste. After lunch it was back to our roomette where we would wait for our next fresh air stop of Del Rio Tx. Here 2 border patrol agents would board the train to give it a quick once over. After Del Rio the sun would soon set on day 2 of our journey to Chicago. We were set for an on time arrival into San Antonio which was fine by us, as we wanted to take a stroll over to visit the near by river walk. We arrived into San Antonio about a half-hour early. The train would spend the next few hours here for it’s a much needed servicing stop. Also our two Chicago bound cars would be cut off our train and left here to be added to the next mornings northbound train #22 The Texas Eagle. Once off the train the first thing Abril and I noticed was the humidity. Man was it uncomfortable! We then took the short walk over to visit the San Antonio River Walk. Since it was late on a Monday night, the river walk was not too crowded. We did manage to find a few souvenir shops open though. I made sure to pick up bottled water and a San Antonio refrigerator magnet to add to my collection back home. On our way back to the depot I decided to flag down a cab as the humidity was getting to me and an air conditioned cab ride sounded nice right about now. Back at the San Antonio depot we hung out by the old steam locomotive on display and also took quite a few pictures of the surrounding area. After all this we headed back to our sleeper to get ready to call it a night. I quickly found Kevin and had him make our beds. He would then tell us to enjoy the rest of our vacation. The following day we would get a totally new crew as well as a new sleeping car attendant.
Night Time @ San Antonio Tx
Train #22 The Texas Eagle @ San Antonio Tx
The next morning I awoke at 6:30am. I wanted to take pictures of our train in the depot before its 7:00am departure. After a few morning shots I was back in bed not to awake again until after Austin. About 10:00am Abril and I finally decided to get up and start our day. After our showers I would head over to the lounge car to pick up our boxed breakfasts. Since the dining car crew does not join our train until Austin no breakfast is served out of San Antonio. Lunch would be our first meal in the diner. To be honest our boxed breakfast was quite good. You get a muffin, cereal, & assorted fruits which suit me just fine. The Texas desert landscapes that we had been enjoying the last few days had now changed to rolling green fields. At Temple Tx we would have a short opportunity to get some air. The depot at Temple house’s a nice display of older railroad equipment including a steam locomotive, a caboose and various old passenger cars. I made sure to snap a few shots off before train # 22 highballed out of Temple. In a few short hours we would arrive at Ft Worth Tx. Before our arrival into Ft Worth we made sure to have some lunch in the diner. This train carries one of Amtrak’s diner-lite cars and to be honest there just never seems to be enough room for everyone to eat comfortably. One other thing of notice, the dining car staff on this train all seemed like they would rather be somewhere else - not very pleasant at all. Come on guys. It would not hurt you all to smile every once in awhile!
A little before 2:00pm the Texas Eagle pulled into Ft Worth Tx right on time. This would also be another fresh air break. We didn’t spend much time outside as it was quite hot and we opted to hang out in our comfy roomette and wait for our departure time. After Ft Worth it was on to Dallas and once again we were off the train for some fresh air. Here I was able to snap some shots of a TRE Commuter train coming into the depot. The DART light rail system also runs thru Dallas Union Station and I was sure to get a few shots of it. After Dallas we were again off heading east thru the state of Texas. We would soon enter the state of Arkansas. Later on that night I would try to flag down our new sleeping car attendant so he could make up our beds but to tell you the truth he was not around all that much. I guess he had better places to be. After making the beds myself we would call it a night. The last thing I remember on this night was looking out my window and seeing us stopped at Little Rock Ar. The following day would be our last aboard the Texas Eagle.
Abril Looking Out @ Dallas Tx
DART Light Rail @ Dallas Union Station
TRE Commuter Train @ Dallas Union Station
The next day we awoke with our train coming into St Louis Mo. I quickly showered and headed out to take some pictures of the new St Louis Gateway Transportation Center. Abril would soon join me and would take over photography duties until our departure time. After leaving St Louis we would cross the Mississippi River into the state of Illinois. We quickly went to breakfast only to find the diner pretty empty. At breakfast we were seated with a nice man who had gotten on the night before in Little Rock and was heading to Chicago to visit friends. He would have some nice suggestions on authentic blues clubs to visit while in the windy city! The next few hours we would continue racing north towards Chicago.
Train #22 St Louis Mo
Stairs Leading To The Gateway Transit Center
St Louis Mo Skyline
Since we were scheduled for an on time arrival Abril and I decided to start the process of readying all our things. Soon after our station stop at Joliet we noticed the Chicago suburbs quickly going by. Soon we would cross the Chicago River and slowly pull into Chicago Union Station! Off the train we would flag a cab and be taken over to Hotel 71 which would be our hotel for the next 2 nights.
Arriving Chicago Ill : Amtrak Coach/Engine Yards
Chicago South Shore Line Train @ Millennium Station
Metra Electric Train @ 57st St
View From The Sears Tower
The next 2 days would be spent visiting the Chicago Museum of Science And Industry, Navy Pier, and the Sears Tower! On Friday July 10th we would check out of Hotel 71 and head over to Union Station where we would catch an afternoon Hiawatha train to Milwaukee. Once in Milwaukee it was a short walk to our hotel for the night. The baseball game would take place at near by Miller Park and since we had a few hours to kill before the game we decided to take a walk the few blocks over to the Milwaukee River Walk. When is was time to head over to Miller Park we decided to ride a Milwaukee transit bus which runs only on game days and heads straight to Miller Park. Once at Miller Park we quickly found our seats and took in batting practice. The stadium really is a nice place to watch a game. I had heard nothing but good things and they all turned out to be true! After an exciting game which saw the Dodgers come from behind to win, we were back aboard the Milwaukee transit bus to our hotel.
Onboard Amtrak's Hiawatha Heading To Milwaukee
Milwaukee River Walk
Dodgers Vs Brewers @ Miller Park
Millennium Park : Chicago Il
One Last Shot Of Chicago @ Night !
The next day we would return to Chicago and spend one last night there before returning home on Southwest Airlines July 12th!
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