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Texas Eagle
Texas Eagle in Austin, 2011
Overview
Service type Inter-city rail, higher-speed rail
Locale Midwest and Southwestern United States (daily)
Predecessor Inter-American
First serviceOctober 2, 1981 (1981-10-02)
Current operator(s) Amtrak
Annual ridership294,439 (FY23) Increase 16.2% [a] [1]
Route
Termini Chicago, Illinois
San Antonio, Texas or
Los Angeles, California
Stops43
Distance travelled
  • 1,306 miles (2,102 km) (to San Antonio)
  • 2,728 miles (4,390 km) (to Los Angeles)
Average journey time
  • 30 34 hours (San Antonio to Chicago)
  • 32 14 hours (Chicago to San Antonio)
  • 61 34 hours (Los Angeles to Chicago)
  • 65 34 hours (Chicago to Los Angeles) [2]
Service frequencyDaily, tri-weekly to Los Angeles
Train number(s)21 (southbound), 22 (northbound) (to San Antonio)
321, 322 (to St. Louis)
421, 422 (to Los Angeles)
On-board services
Class(es)Coach Class
Sleeper Service
Disabled accessTrain lower level, all stations
Sleeping arrangements
  • Roomette (2 beds)
  • Bedroom (2 beds)
  • Bedroom Suite (4 beds)
  • Accessible Bedroom (2 beds)
  • Family Bedroom (4 beds)
Catering facilities Dining car (San Antonio-Los Angeles only), Café
Observation facilities Sightseer lounge car (San Antonio-Los Angeles only)
Baggage facilitiesOverhead racks, checked baggage available at selected stations
Technical
Rolling stock GE Genesis
Superliner
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed55 mph (89 km/h) (avg.)
100 mph (161 km/h) (top) [3]
Track owner(s) UP, BNSF, CN
Route map
0 mi
0 km
Chicago Metra
37 mi
60 km
Joliet Metra
92 mi
148 km
Pontiac
124 mi
200 km
Normal
156 mi
251 km
Lincoln
185 mi
298 km
Springfield
237 mi
381 km
Carlinville
257 mi
414 km
Alton
284 mi
457 km
St. Louis MetroLink (St. Louis)
376 mi
605 km
Arcadia Valley
453 mi
729 km
Poplar Bluff
MO
AR
523 mi
842 km
Walnut Ridge
560 mi
901 km
Newport
closed
1996
634 mi
1020 km
Little Rock
677 mi
1090 km
Malvern
694 mi
1117 km
Arkadelphia
741 mi
1193 km
Hope
774 mi
1246 km
Texarkana
AR
TX
proposed
840 mi
1352 km
Marshall
864 mi
1390 km
Longview
912 mi
1468 km
Mineola
991 mi
1595 km
Dallas Dallas Area Rapid Transit Dallas Streetcar Trinity Railway Express
branch discontinued 1995
1022 mi
1645 km
Fort Worth Trinity Railway Express TEXRail
1051 mi
1691 km
Cleburne
1125 mi
1811 km
McGregor
1036 mi
1667 km
Corsicana
1150 mi
1851 km
Temple
1152 mi
1854 km
College Station
1188 mi
1912 km
Taylor
1223 mi
1968 km
Austin
1247 mi
2007 km
Houston
1253 mi
2017 km
San Marcos
1306 mi
2102 km
San Antonio
daily
tri-weekly
1475 mi
2374 km
Del Rio
1601 mi
2577 km
Sanderson
1692 mi
2723 km
Alpine
1910 mi
3074 km
El Paso
TX
NM
1998 mi
3215 km
Deming
2058 mi
3312 km
Lordsburg
NM
AZ
2176 mi
3502 km
Benson
2226 mi
3582 km
Tucson
2312 mi
3721 km
Maricopa
Phoenix
discontinued
1996
2477 mi
3986 km
Yuma
Indio
closed
1998
2622 mi
4220 km
Palm Springs
2689 mi
4328 km
Ontario
2696 mi
4339 km
Pomona Metrolink (California)
2728 mi
4390 km
Los Angeles Metrolink (California)

Disabled access all stops are accessible

The Texas Eagle is a long-distance passenger train operated daily by Amtrak on a 1,306-mile (2,102 km) route between Chicago, Illinois, and San Antonio, Texas, with major stops in St. Louis, Little Rock, Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin. Three days per week, the train joins the Sunset Limited in San Antonio and continues to Los Angeles via El Paso and Tucson. The combined 2,728-mile (4,390 km) route is the longest in the United States and the second-longest in the Americas, after the Canadian.

Prior to 1988, the train was known simply as the Eagle.

History

Amtrak's Texas Eagle is the direct successor of the Missouri Pacific Railroad and Texas and Pacific Railway train of the same name, which was inaugurated in 1948 and ultimately discontinued in 1971. The route of Amtrak's Texas Eagle is longer ( Chicago to San Antonio versus St. Louis to San Antonio), but much of today's route is historically a part of the original Texas Eagle route. St. Louis to Texarkana and Taylor, Texas, to San Antonio travels over former Missouri Pacific Railroad trackage, while the Texarkana to Fort Worth segment traverses the former Texas and Pacific Railway. The T&P merged with MoPac in 1982; in turn MoPac was acquired by Union Pacific in 1986.

The Eagle began on October 2, 1981, as a restructuring of the Inter-American, which had operated a daily schedule from Chicago to Laredo, Texas, via San Antonio since 1973. From 1979 onward, it operated a section to Houston, Texas, which diverged at Temple, Texas. The new Eagle dropped the Houston section, while its southern terminus was cut back from Laredo to San Antonio. The new train carried Superliner equipment, replacing the Amfleet coaches on the Inter-American. In addition, the new train ran on a thrice-weekly schedule with a through car on the Sunset Limited to Los Angeles, although the latter was not announced until the April 1982 timetable. [4] [5] [6] [7]

On November 15, 1988, Amtrak revived a Houston section, this time diverging at Dallas and running over the route of the Southern Pacific's Sunbeam. It was the first time passenger traffic had served that route since 1958. Amtrak had intended to operate the Lone Star over this route back in the 1970s, but dropped the plan in the face of obstruction from the Southern Pacific. [8] [9] With the change, Amtrak revived the name Texas Eagle for the thrice-weekly Chicago-San Antonio/Houston train, while the off-day Chicago–St. Louis train remained the Eagle. This section would be discontinued on September 10, 1995. [10] On April 4, 2013, Amtrak opened a new station in Hope, Arkansas, the hometown of former U.S. president Bill Clinton. [11] Arcadia Valley was added on November 17, 2016, serving Iron County, Missouri. [12]

In August 2023, Amtrak approved construction of a new station in De Soto, Missouri for trains to stop at between St. Louis and Arcadia Valley. [13]

COVID-19 pandemic

As part of Amtrak's response to the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in greatly depressed ridership, service was reduced to tri-weekly throughout the corridor October 11, 2020. [14] In March 2021, Amtrak announced plans to return the Texas Eagle to its pre-pandemic schedule on May 24, 2021. [15] However, the train began operating on a five days per week schedule in January 2022 due to a resurgence of the virus caused by the Omicron variant and remained so until March 2022. [15] [16]

Proposed changes

In the August 2009 issue of Trains, Brian Rosenwald, Amtrak's chief of product management, noted that the Sunset Limited might be replaced by an extension of the Texas Eagle to Los Angeles: "We projected the revenue and looked at the logistics, and with a little bit of rescheduling came to the conclusion that we can make this happen with the equipment we have, and the additional revenue the train earns will more than cover the increased operating costs". The move would restore a connection to the Coast Starlight in both directions, and move boarding in Maricopa and Tucson, Arizona, to civilized times. "We are putting a stake in the ground: Triweekly needs to disappear," Rosenwald said. [17] While the route of the Sunset Limited would not be entirely replaced, the performance improvements listed explain what will happen:

  • Conversion to daily ChicagoLos Angeles train
  • Shortening of the schedule by 9 hours
  • San AntonioNew Orleans stub service on a daily basis to connect with this train
  • Use of the Diner-Lounge on the stub service

These changes would, in turn, create a through-car change similar to that of the Empire Builder. Such service would originate from Los Angeles and split at San Antonio, and vice versa from New Orleans. [18]

Operation

Route

As of July 2022, [19] the southbound Texas Eagle (train 21) departs Chicago 1:45 pm, running between Chicago and its first station stop in Joliet, parallel to the Illinois and Michigan Canal, along first the Canadian National's Freeport Subdivision and then Joliet Subdivision, which is also used by Metra's Heritage Corridor and Amtrak's Lincoln Service. From Joliet, the train travels along Union Pacific rails, often parallel to Interstate 55, making station stops in Pontiac, Bloomington–Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville (a flag stop), and Alton before crossing the Mississippi River to make its stop at St. Louis' Gateway Multimodal Transportation Center, scheduled for 7:13 pm. After St. Louis, the train skirts the Ozark Mountains, stopping in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, before crossing the state line into Arkansas. In Arkansas, the train stops in Walnut Ridge, the state capital of Little Rock, and the stations at Malvern, Arkadelphia, Hope, and Texarkana, on the Arkansas–Texas border.

Continuing into Texas, the train makes station stops in Marshall, Longview (bus connection with Houston), Mineola, Dallas and Fort Worth, which has connections to Oklahoma City via Amtrak's Heartland Flyer, and from there the train travels on BNSF trackage. The train continues on, making stops in Cleburne, McGregor, Temple (where the train resumes traveling on the Union Pacific), Taylor, the state capital of Austin, and San Marcos, with a scheduled arrival into San Antonio at 9:55 pm (the next day). A sleeping car and a coach (designated internally as train 421) are conveyed to the Sunset Limited on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, departing San Antonio at 2:45 am.

The northbound Texas Eagle (train 22) leaves San Antonio at 7 am, splitting from the eastbound Sunset Limited (train 422) on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The train arrives in Chicago at 1:44 pm the next day.

Amtrak Texas Eagle route

Stations

Amtrak Texas Eagle stations
State/Province City Station
Illinois Chicago Chicago Union
Joliet Joliet
Pontiac Pontiac
Normal Bloomington–Normal
Lincoln Lincoln
Springfield Springfield
Carlinville Carlinville
Alton Alton
Missouri St. Louis St. Louis Gateway
Ironton Arcadia Valley
Poplar Bluff Poplar Bluff
Arkansas Walnut Ridge Walnut Ridge
Little Rock Little Rock
Malvern Malvern
Arkadelphia Arkadelphia
Hope Hope
Texarkana Texarkana
Texas Marshall Marshall
Longview Longview
Mineola Mineola
Dallas Dallas
Fort Worth Fort Worth
Cleburne Cleburne
McGregor McGregor
Temple Temple
Taylor Taylor
Austin Austin
San Marcos San Marcos
San Antonio San Antonio
Del Rio Del Rio
Sanderson Sanderson
Alpine Alpine
El Paso El Paso
New Mexico Deming Deming
Lordsburg Lordsburg
Arizona Benson Benson
Tucson Tucson
Maricopa Maricopa
Yuma Yuma
California Palm Springs Palm Springs
Ontario Ontario
Pomona Pomona
Los Angeles Los Angeles Union

Equipment

Amtrak P42DC #69 leading Texas Eagle #421 in Dallas Union Station

The normally assigned consist on the Texas Eagle includes:

The train once featured a Superliner Sightseer Lounge. That car has been removed since October 2020. The decision concerning whether or not it will return remains in question.

Three times a week, one coach and one sleeping car from the Texas Eagle are connected to the Sunset Limited and travel between San Antonio and Los Angeles as train #421/422. [20]

Additionally, to provide extra capacity, an additional Superliner coach operates between Chicago and St. Louis as train #321/322.

As is already happening on all its long-distance routes, Amtrak will replace the P42DCs with modern Siemens ALC-42 locomotives by 2027, and the Superliner cars with new long-distance cars by 2032. [21]

Ridership

During fiscal year 2019, the Texas Eagle carried 321,694 passengers, a 4.2% decrease from 2018. [22] In FY2016, the train had a total revenue of $22,323,171, an 8.5% decrease from FY2015. [23]

Ridership by Fiscal Year (October–September)
Ridership Change over previous year
2007 [24] 218,321 -
2008 [24] 251,518 Increase015.25%
2009 [24] 260,467 Increase03.56%
2010 [25] 287,164 Increase010.25%
2011 [25] 299,508 Increase04.30%
2012 [26] 337,973 Increase012.84%
2013 [26] 340,081 Increase00.62%
2014 [27] 313,338 Decrease07.86%
2015 [27] 317,282 Increase01.26%
2016 [23] 306,321 Decrease03.45%
2017 [28] 345,679 Increase012.85%
2018 [29] 335,771 Decrease02.87%
2019 [29] 311,367 Decrease07.27%
2020 [30] 196,078 Decrease037.03%
2021 [31] 151,393 Decrease022.79%
2022 [32] 253,491 Increase067.44%
2023 [33] 294,439 Increase016.15%

References

  1. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2023 Ridership" (PDF). Amtrak. November 27, 2023. Retrieved November 30, 2023.
  2. ^ "Amtrak Timetable Results". www.amtrak.com. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Johnston, Bob (May 3, 2023). "110 mph Schedules Coming for Amtrak Chicago-St. Louis Corridor". Trains. Retrieved May 6, 2023.
  4. ^ "Amtrak To Eliminate Unprofitable Routes". The Blade. Toledo, Ohio. Associated Press. August 26, 1981. p. 1. Retrieved August 6, 2010.
  5. ^ "National Train Timetables". Amtrak. October 25, 1981. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  6. ^ Versaggi, Joe M. (January 17, 1982). "No headline". The New York Times. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  7. ^ "National Train Timetables". Amtrak. April 25, 1982. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  8. ^ Smith, Griffin (August 1974). "Waiting For The Train". Texas Monthly. 2 (8): 79–83, 89–99.
  9. ^ Reifenberg, Anne (September 29, 1988). "Amtrak Will Link Dallas, Houston". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved August 8, 2010.
  10. ^ Johnston, Bob (June 6, 2017). "Getting the most from the 'Texas Eagle' detour". Trains Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  11. ^ "Amtrak Texas Eagle Adds Stop in Hope, Ark" (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  12. ^ Jenkins, Kevin R. (November 19, 2016). "Arcadia Valley welcomes Amtrak". Daily Journal. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  13. ^ Schneider, Joey; Thomas, Mallory (August 22, 2023). "Amtrak Adding New Stop in De Soto, Missouri". KTVI. St. Louis, Missouri. Retrieved August 23, 2023.
  14. ^ Davis, Vincent (October 11, 2020). "Amtrak is cutting the schedule to three days a week". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  15. ^ a b "Amtrak to decrease service on most routes Jan. 24 to March 27". Trains. Retrieved January 26, 2022.
  16. ^ "With Increased Demand and Congressional Funding, Amtrak Restores 12 Long Distance Routes to Daily Service". March 10, 2021. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  17. ^ Johnson, Bob (August 2009). "Amtrak's Southwest Expansion". Trains. p. 20.
  18. ^ "Sunset Limited Marketing Meeting". RailPAC. June 11, 2009. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  19. ^ "Texas Eagle and Heartland Flyer effective July 18, 2022" (PDF). Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  20. ^ Amtrak National Consist Book, May 1, 2008
  21. ^ "FY 2022-2027 Service and Asset Line Plans" (PDF). Amtrak. 2021. p. 133.
  22. ^ "Amtrak Route Ridership FY19 vs. FY18" (PDF). Amtrak. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  23. ^ a b "Amtrak FY16 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF). Amtrak. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 19, 2017. Retrieved April 26, 2023.
  24. ^ a b c "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2009, October 2008–September 2009 (compared with Fiscal Years 2008 and 2007)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on October 30, 2013. Retrieved October 24, 2013.
  25. ^ a b "AMTRAK RIDERSHIP ROLLS UP BEST-EVER RECORDS" (PDF). Amtrak. October 13, 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 8, 2012. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  26. ^ a b "AMTRAK SETS RIDERSHIP RECORD AND MOVES THE NATION'S ECONOMY FORWARD" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 24, 2020.
  27. ^ a b "Amtrak FY15 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF).
  28. ^ "Amtrak FY17 Ridership" (PDF).
  29. ^ a b "Amtrak FY19 Ridership" (PDF).
  30. ^ Luczak, Marybeth (November 23, 2020). "Amtrak Releases FY 2020 Data". Railway Age. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Inc. Retrieved February 18, 2020.
  31. ^ "Amtrak Route Ridership FY21 vs. FY19" (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved April 19, 2022.
  32. ^ "Amtrak FY22 Ridership" (PDF).
  33. ^ Anderson, Kyle (November 30, 2023). "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2023: Ridership Exceeds Expectations as Demand for Passenger Rail Soars". Amtrak Media. Retrieved January 29, 2024.

Notes

  1. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1 of the prior year to September 30 of the named year.

External links