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Sunset Limited versus Texas Eagle

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bobnabq

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I was looking at a possible trip next year, round trip from El Paso, Texas to Yuma, Arizona.

I would continue on from Yuma to Mexicali, Mexico and back to Yuma by bus.

 

The Amtrak website gives me the choice of either the Sunset Limited or Texas Eagle.

Both trains are departing El Paso, TX and arriving in Yuma,AZ at the same time.

Seating is coach.

 

Yet the Texas Eagle is twice the price. Here's a screen shot.

(I've erased the price as it seems there was something said about not quoting prices)

Can someone explain, please?

 
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Anderson

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The tickets are for different cars. Basically, the TE cars are through CHI-SAS-LAX cars while the SL are NOL-SAS-LAX cars. You'll see the same thing on the Empire Builder (CHI-SPK-SEA and CHI-SPK-PDX) and the Lake Shore Limited (CHI-ALB-BOS and CHI-ALB-NYP): The roomettes are in different cars, and Amtrak can't simply reassign people going "only to X" from one car to another because demand is a little wonky (though they can hike the price or block off shorter hauls if, say, the Eagle is regularly selling out CHI-LAX).
 

Bob Dylan

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The Sunset Ltd.,#1 runs from New Orleans to LAX!(three days a week) Sunset Ltd #2 runs from LAX-New Orleans.(three days a week)

The Texas Eagle, #21/#22 run between Chicago and San Antonio daily!

There is a Coach Car (#421/#422) and a Sleeper(#421/#422) that are cut out in San Antonio (SAS)on the three days a week that the Sunset runs through San Antonio. These two cars are hooked to the Sunset #1 to run through to LAX. and the Texas Eagle #22 to run through to CHI. They are actually the same train, pulled by the same Engine! This is known as a Section on a LD Train.

The reason there is a difference in price is that when you are ticketed on #421/#422, Sleeper or Coach, you are allowed to stasy on the Train overnight in San Antonio. If you ticket on #21/#1 or #2/#22 you have to get off the Train when it gets to San Antonio and spend the night in the station or outside until the Train leaves the next morning. Since there are only one Coach and One Sleeper there are less seats/rooms so the price is Usually higher on the thru Cars. Hope this helps!

BTW- Riding a bus to Mexicali??? :eek: You going down for some Cartel Action? Pretty dangerous right now in Mexico and along the border amigo! :excl: :excl: :excl:
 
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ColdRain&Snow

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BTW- Riding a bus to Mexicali??? :eek: You going down for some Cartel Action? Pretty dangerous right now in Mexico and along the border amigo! :excl: :excl: :excl:
The first of a four article series in the Los Angeles Times entitled "Inside the Cartel" was in today's edition. You can read the article here. Today's article focuses on the Mexicali / Calexico border area, where "One of the Sinaloa cartel's main pipelines runs through the antiquated U.S. port of entry at Calexico, a favorite of smugglers."
Cartel operatives are based out of both cities but especially prevalent in Mexicali. Be very careful if that's where you decide to go as kidnapping has become a supplementary source of income for the cartels. And if nobody pays the ransom, a dirt nap is much more likely than any other outcome. Between that and never knowing where the next shootout will erupt, it is serious business down there right now. :eek:
 

bobnabq

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The reason there is a difference in price is that when you are ticketed on #421/#422, Sleeper or Coach, you are allowed to stay on the Train overnight in San Antonio.
 

The trip is between El Paso and Yuma, round trip.

San Antonio is not involved.

 

Look at my post. Identical info, yet the 2nd is twice the price.

 
 

Devil's Advocate

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Why did the prices have to be deleted? I don't recall seeing price bans on the various airline forums I've frequented. Seems like this sort of price comparison is quite limited in scope and should be allowed IMO. It's nothing like the phone-book sized price list suggestion that was previously ruled out (with good cause).

As for the OP, as stated there is no real difference between these two train names/numbers for the segment you'll be traveling. Yes, they're physically separate cars but they are pulled from the same fleet and are virtually identical in every way that matters. They'll also depart and arrive at the same time so pick the one that's cheapest. Even if there is something wrong with the car you end up in you can just grab your destination slip and go sit wherever you want once the coach attendants do their vanishing act thing. So far as I can discern there is no logical reason as to why the prices of two cars can become so completely detached for segments that do not include San Antonio. Apparently it has to do with Amtrak's ancient reservation system that cannot comprehend that these cars are part of the same train. One question though. Why would you want to drive from New Mexico down to El Paso's tired old train station when you have one of Amtrak's newest stations in Deming right there waiting for you?

 

Trogdor

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If you're traveling in coach, just book the cheaper one because there's no guarantee which car you will/will not be seated in (when traveling entirely west of San Antonio, the conductors use all the coach space on the train and don't care about the train number on your ticket). Your space will only be specific if you're in a sleeper.

Also, there's no stated restriction of quoting prices on this forum. You must be thinking of that, umm, "other" forum where they treat all the users like kindergarteners.
 

had8ley

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The reason there is a difference in price is that when you are ticketed on #421/#422, Sleeper or Coach, you are allowed to stay on the Train overnight in San Antonio.
 

The trip is between El Paso and Yuma, round trip.

San Antonio is not involved.

 

Look at my post. Identical info, yet the 2nd is twice the price.

 
Correct about your itinerary BUT the car numbers have a lot to do in ticketing/fares. If you do #1/2 versus #421/422 you might come up cheaper and it is all the same train between your two points. It's an odd situation but the computer is set up that way.
 

boxcar817

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Depending on the consist, and I forgot how they are set up. Either the #1 or the #421 will arrive at the station before the other one. Correct? :help:
 

Devil's Advocate

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If you photo is of an Amtrak station, where are the tracks??
In that photo the tracks would be right behind the photographer.

Yes, it just says that the through Chicago cars are more sold out than the New Orleans cars. That's all. No mystery there.
I price tickets to/from ELP all the time and there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the rates. The assumption that price levels indicate a simple correlation to availability is a very logical one but it has unfortunately been proven false numerous times along this route. I cannot speak to the situation across the whole network but ELP is part of my normal route so I have a pretty good idea of how it works here.

Depending on the consist, and I forgot how they are set up. Either the #1 or the #421 will arrive at the station before the other one. Correct? :help:
Train 421's cars will be at the back of the Train 1's consist. At small stations they may require a double spot. However, as already indicated having a specific train number on your ticket is no guarantee of being assigned to a given car.
 

the_traveler

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No, El Paso is west of San Antonio, so you will not at all go to SAS!

As said #1/#2 go between NOL-SAS-LAX or the other way. #421/#422 go between CHI-SAS-LAX or the other way. Arrow is set up to sell each "train" separately. In this case, more tickets have been sold on #421 or #422 - which is really just 1 coach and 1 sleeper.

FYI: The #1/#2 coaches and sleepers and the Dining Car are on the front of the train. The #421/#422 sleeper is at the rear of the train. IIRC, the #421/#422 coach is placed somewhere in the middle of the train.
 

Devil's Advocate

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No, El Paso is west of San Antonio, so you will not at all go to SAS!
Did you feel your hair move when you wrote that?

As said #1/#2 go between NOL-SAS-LAX or the other way. #421/#422 go between CHI-SAS-LAX or the other way. Arrow is set up to sell each "train" separately. In this case, more tickets have been sold on #421 or #422 - which is really just 1 coach and 1 sleeper.
This is not always the case. Sometimes the more expensive tickets are on the train with more availability. I have no idea why that is or how it gets that way but I've seen it enough times to know it's not just a fluke. On more recent trips the prices have started to stabilize somewhat regardless of availability. I'm not sure if this is a manual intervention or if it's simply a result of using fewer buckets.
 
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Bob Dylan

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:hi: Apologies for misreading the OP! The other posters have pretty much covered the #1/#421/#2/#422 Mystery Trains, so will just say that Chris is right, there is really no rhyme or reason that the tickets West of SAS are priced the way they are, just go with whatever is cheaper if in Coach! :excl: If in a Sleeper the #421 Sleeper will be on the end of the Train, the TransDorm and #1 Sleeper will be up front by the Diner and Sightseer Lounge! All of the Coaches will be between the #421 Sleeper and the Sightseer Lounge!
 

PRR 60

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Why did the prices have to be deleted? I don't recall seeing price bans on the various airline forums I've frequented. Seems like this sort of price comparison is quite limited in scope and should be allowed IMO. It's nothing like the phone-book sized price list suggestion that was previously ruled out (with good cause).
There is no problem with posting fares here. There is another rail discussion site that does prohibit posting Amtrak fares based on a cockamamie idea that posting fares would result in a contractual obligation of the site to honor the fare (no, I'm not making that up.) However, that site has lots of weird moderation, so it kind of fits.
 

bobnabq

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There is no problem with posting fares here.
Where ever it was that I read it, the thinking was that if someone posts a price, others may not be able to get the same price, causing world wide havoc or some such thing.

Since it is permissible, here is a screen shot from the Amtrak page showing the prices.

Note that every thing is identical, except the name of the train and the prices.

Both are departures on the same day, same time, etc.

 

the_traveler

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As said, it's the same train, chose the lower fare.

A few years ago, I had to buy a coach ticket from LAX to ONA (Ontario, CA). The price for #2 was $9, the price for #422 was $19. Guess which one I picked?
 

ColdRain&Snow

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One question though. Why would you want to drive from New Mexico down to El Paso's tired old train station when you have one of Amtrak's newest stations in Deming right there waiting for you?

My grandpeeps live in Deming, so this is naturally very exciting for me. And if DEM's striking architecture and sophisticated interior appointments aren't enough to impress you, next month's Great American Duck Race will certainly blow your hair back. It's the only race of its kind and puts Deming, NM on the World Stage every August. :excl:
 

had8ley

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There is no problem with posting fares here.
Where ever it was that I read it, the thinking was that if someone posts a price, others may not be able to get the same price, causing world wide havoc or some such thing.

Since it is permissible, here is a screen shot from the Amtrak page showing the prices.

Note that every thing is identical, except the name of the train and the prices.

Both are departures on the same day, same time, etc.

BINGO !!! It's the same train with different car numbers. The Texas Eagle actually terminates/originates at San Antonio and adds/takes cars to/from the Sunset Ltd. on days that the Sunset runs (three days a week in either direction). #421 cars are added to the rear of #1;#422 cars are switched off the hind end of #2 and added to that day's #22~the price is determined by how many people have bought into the Texas Eagle car or the Sunset's two coaches.
 

PaulM

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So far as I can discern there is no logical reason as to why the prices of two cars can become so completely detached for segments that do not include San Antonio. Apparently it has to do with Amtrak's ancient reservation system that cannot comprehend that these cars are part of the same train.
You are probably right that it is caused by Amtrak's ancient reservation system. But given that, it's very logical. Let's say the TE sleeper had only one room left and the SL;s sleeper's were almost empty. If you book the TE space El Paso to Yuma, you would be locking out a more lucrative CHI to LAX passenger. If the situation were reversed, I'm sure the SL space would be more expensive because you would be locking out a NOL to LAX passenger.
 

bobnabq

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You are probably right that it is caused by Amtrak's ancient reservation system. But given that, it's very logical. Let's say the TE sleeper had only one room left and the SL;s sleeper's were almost empty. If you book the TE space El Paso to Yuma, you would be locking out a more lucrative CHI to LAX passenger. If the situation were reversed, I'm sure the SL space would be more expensive because you would be locking out a NOL to LAX passenger.
Prices shown are for coach....not sleepers.
 
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