Amtrak's Texas Chief

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.

uncleboots

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 27, 2009
Messages
186
There’s a 22 minute video called From Chicago To Fort Worth Aboard The Texas Chief (1974) from the Texas Archives. If you type in videos name you should be able to find it. The quality isn’t the best but it’s well worth watching. It gives you an idea on how it was like to travel aboard the Texas Chief. Watching the food and bar service was far and above better than todays service. A interesting sideline is Amtrak decided to keep the Texas Eagle over the Texas Chief/Lone Star because the Eagle stopped in St Louis even though the Texas Chief/Lone Star had better ridership,
 
There’s a 22 minute video called From Chicago To Fort Worth Aboard The Texas Chief (1974) from the Texas Archives. [snap} The quality isn’t the best but it’s well worth watching. It gives you an idea on how it was like to travel aboard the Texas Chief. Watching the food and bar service was far and above better than todays service. [Another snip]

Travelers on the Eaglet these days would say, the comparison with today's standards is a low bar indeed. Twice I've considered booking a trip on the the TE and twice I concluded that it wasn't worth doing. Sad, because it's a route that deserves much better. As do we all...
 
There’s a 22 minute video called From Chicago To Fort Worth Aboard The Texas Chief (1974) from the Texas Archives. If you type in videos name you should be able to find it. The quality isn’t the best but it’s well worth watching. It gives you an idea on how it was like to travel aboard the Texas Chief. Watching the food and bar service was far and above better than todays service. A interesting sideline is Amtrak decided to keep the Texas Eagle over the Texas Chief/Lone Star because the Eagle stopped in St Louis even though the Texas Chief/Lone Star had better ridership,
As a long time rider of these trains, there has never been any contest as to whether Santa Fe ran the Best Passenger Trains back in the day!

Sad what Amtrak has done to the once Proud Eagle, but to be Fair, the Amtrak Eagle was a well run Train before all the changes that have come since the Pandemic.

Lots of folks would have chosen the Chief/Lone Star Route over the current Eagle Route if they would have been given a choice.
 
As a long time rider of these trains, there has never been any contest as to whether Santa Fe ran the Best Passenger Trains back in the day!

Sad what Amtrak has done to the once Proud Eagle, but to be Fair, the Amtrak Eagle was a well run Train before all the changes that have come since the Pandemic.

Lots of folks would have chosen the Chief/Lone Star Route over the current Eagle Route if they would have been given a choice.
My biggest Amtrak regret was I didn’t get to ride the Texas Chief

Travelers on the Eaglet these days would say, the comparison with today's standards is a low bar indeed. Twice I've considered booking a trip on the the TE and twice I concluded that it wasn't worth doing. Sad, because it's a route that deserves much better. As do we all...
Amtrak can indeed do a better job with the Eagle.
 
A interesting sideline is Amtrak decided to keep the Texas Eagle over the Texas Chief/Lone Star because the Eagle stopped in St Louis even though the Texas Chief/Lone Star had better ridership,
There are other examples of this sort of thinking by Amtrak. A prime example would be keeping the South Wind versus the City of Miami. The City of Miami had far better ridership, and in fact in the last couple years before Amtrak, the South Wind was no longer even through, running combined with the Pan American over the L&N, but, but between Chicago and Jacksonville there were more centers of population along the South Wind route, Indianapolis , Louisville, Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery, with the only major city on the City of Miami route Birmingham, unless you want to count Jackson TN and Albany GA, neither exactly metropolises. It seemed they had more of a connect the dots than follow good existing ridership philosophy. Unfortunately for either, both ICRR and L&N/SCL seemed to be operating at that time on a who can have the worst track contest?
 
I guess with the politics surrounding the early days of Amtrak they were trying to please as many people as possible, including trying to serve as many states as possible even if the service was only symbolic e.g. Sandpoint Idaho.
 
I guess with the politics surrounding the early days of Amtrak they were trying to please as many people as possible, including trying to serve as many states as possible even if the service was only symbolic e.g. Sandpoint Idaho.
Sandpoint may not be the best example of that, as the primary reason it was served was simple railroad geography…the trains had to go through there anyway on their way.

A better example might be the Parkersburg, WV train😉
 
I guess with the politics surrounding the early days of Amtrak they were trying to please as many people as possible, including trying to serve as many states as possible even if the service was only symbolic e.g. Sandpoint Idaho.
Some examples in Texas are Mineola, McGregor, San Marcos,(Del Rio and Sanderson, although one would have to be included as an emergency Crew change spot since the Long Distances and Freight traffic in West Texas put the T&E Hours Law into play)
 
Didn't the Texas Eagle vs Lone Star decision have to do not with Amtrak but with Oregon Congressman Bob Duncan's Regional Balance provision that he put into the Amtrak law. As I remember, he did it save the Pioneer over the North Coast Hiawatha back in 1979? He reportedly felt angry and politically betrayed over the compromise between the Carter Administration and Congress that prevented even more Amtrak cuts.
 
Didn't the Texas Eagle vs Lone Star decision have to do not with Amtrak but with Oregon Congressman Bob Duncan's Regional Balance provision that he put into the Amtrak law. As I remember, he did it save the Pioneer over the North Coast Hiawatha back in 1979? He reportedly felt angry and politically betrayed over the compromise between the Carter Administration and Congress that prevented even more Amtrak cuts.
As always, Politics was heavily involved in Amtrak decisions, but this was especially bad for Texas as Arkansas and Missouri Politicians had more clout @ the time, hence the Texas Eagle route was chosen rather than the Lone Star Route.

Later Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison would " Save" the Eagle when the Clinton Administration forced major cuts on Amtrak.
 
Back
Top