Quantcast

Tell me about the Texas Eagle!

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Joined
Apr 27, 2008
Messages
1
Hello train enthusiasts!

My family and I are planning a trip on the Texas Eagle from Chicago to Austin. I see there is the option of the 21 or 421 on some days. What is the difference on the two routes/trains?

Also, other than AAA are there any discounts usually available? I have read in the past that in the summertime sometimes there are discounts for children's fares, is that typical?

Our party will be me, my husband and our little train enthusiast (3 years old). We plan on sharing a regular bedroom. I'm having fun reading about all your experiences, but do you have any tips for us?

Thanks!
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
Welcome kittycatalina!

There is no difference between train #421 and train #21. They are both the same train.

The only difference is the "train" you buy your ticket on. One "train" goes to San Antonio only, while the other "train" continues to Los Angeles. It just means (and I'm making up these locations) "train #421" is the 2nd car and "train #21" is the 5th car of the same train!

If you want to save money, pick the "train" that has the lowest cost! ;)

It needs to be sold that way so passengers going beyond San Antonio will be "on the right train". The cars continuing are combined in San Antonio with the Sunset Limited. I'm sure you would not be happy if you were going to say El Paso, and found your car was left in San Antonio! :eek:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

RobertF

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
177
Location
SLC Utah
Hello train enthusiasts!My family and I are planning a trip on the Texas Eagle from Chicago to Austin. I see there is the option of the 21 or 421 on some days. What is the difference on the two routes/trains?

Also, other than AAA are there any discounts usually available? I have read in the past that in the summertime sometimes there are discounts for children's fares, is that typical?

Our party will be me, my husband and our little train enthusiast (3 years old). We plan on sharing a regular bedroom. I'm having fun reading about all your experiences, but do you have any tips for us?

Thanks!
As your going to Austin, then the only real difference is which of the listed trains is cheaper! :) The 421 cars will be broken off to goto LA at San Antonio but Austin is before San Antonio it really does not matter to you, take whichever is cheaper!

Enjoy your trip!!
 
G

guest

Guest
Children ages 2-15 are always 50% off on Amtrak! Since you want a bedroom, be sure to book as soon as you are sure of the dates, since they sell out fast and the prices go up as the supply goes down. Remember all three of you will pay the basic rail fare, but you only have to pay for one accomodations charge for the bedroom. This will include all meals for all three of you, all of the services included in sleeping car service, and access to the 1st class lounge in Chicago. Enjoy your trip and be sure to ask any more questions here as you think of them!
 

RobertF

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
177
Location
SLC Utah
Children ages 2-15 are always 50% off on Amtrak! Since you want a bedroom, be sure to book as soon as you are sure of the dates, since they sell out fast and the prices go up as the supply goes down. Remember all three of you will pay the basic rail fare, but you only have to pay for one accomodations charge for the bedroom. This will include all meals for all three of you, all of the services included in sleeping car service, and access to the 1st class lounge in Chicago. Enjoy your trip and be sure to ask any more questions here as you think of them!
Also, make sure you check the bedrooms on BOTH trains if they are available (both the 421 and the 21)... the prices may well be different. It's the same train as far as you are concerned since you are getting off before the split. Sometimes you can find a bedroom on one but not the other.

I've ridden the TE 3 times now (2 times with my kids, once by myself), but never as far as the split in San Antonio.... I'm doing the full Chicago to Los Angeles trip in July and I can't wait!!!

Wooo wooo
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
make sure you check the bedrooms on BOTH trains if they are available (both the 421 and the 21)... the prices may well be different. It's the same train as far as you are concerned since you are getting off before the split. Sometimes you can find a bedroom on one but not the other.
Yes, check out the bedroom prices on BOTH trains! Even if they are the same train, like I said they are sold separately. Thus, you may find a bedroom on #21 may be (and I'm just making this price up) $300 additional, while on #421 it may be $400 additional! Or as RobertF said, it may be available on one "train" but not on the other "train".
 

gswager

Conductor
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
2,875
Location
Portales, NM
For those who book TE (Texas Eagle) from Chicago to one of the stations after San Antonio on sleeper class, there is big different. #42x will allow you to stay in the sleeper class at San Antonio station while #2x not. That means you will be stuck at the platform, station, or even at the Riverwalk in the middle of the night.
 
G

Guest_had8ley_*

Guest
Is the Cross Country Cafe running on the Eagle yet?
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
Location
Queens, New York
Is the Cross Country Cafe running on the Eagle yet?
Yes it is. However, unlike the City, at least for the moment Amtrak continues to run a Sightseer Lounge car on the Eagle. It runs unmanned, which means no food service in the car, but at least people can still enjoy the big windows and the scenery outside the train.
 

daveyb99

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Messages
910
Location
Grapevine, TX
Welcome kittycatalina!
There is no difference between train #421 and train #21. They are both the same train.
Actually, there is a minor difference. If I recall:

Coach is the same.

#421 has Roomettes, Bedrooms, and Family Bedroom

(and #422)

#21 has only Roomettes in the Transition Sleeper.
 

daveyb99

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Messages
910
Location
Grapevine, TX
Is the Cross Country Cafe running on the Eagle yet?
Yes it is. However, unlike the City, at least for the moment Amtrak continues to run a Sightseer Lounge car on the Eagle. It runs unmanned, which means no food service in the car, but at least people can still enjoy the big windows and the scenery outside the train.
Interestingly enough, the Sightseer cafe WAS staffed on the northbound #22 17APR2008
 

Green Maned Lion

Conductor
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
8,209
Location
NJ
Welcome kittycatalina!
There is no difference between train #421 and train #21. They are both the same train.
Actually, there is a minor difference. If I recall:

Coach is the same.

#421 has Roomettes, Bedrooms, and Family Bedroom

(and #422)

#21 has only Roomettes in the Transition Sleeper.
Only on days when 421/422 runs. Otherwise 21 has all accomodation types.
 

eee

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 30, 2008
Messages
56
Location
St. Louis, MO
A few questions from a newbie:

Why does the train spend the night in San Antonio?

Are all passengers allowed to spend the night on the train and can you come and go as you please (spend a few hours at the riverwalk and get back on the train at 2 am)?
 

George Harris

Conductor
Joined
Apr 6, 2006
Messages
5,027
Location
now in California
Night in San Antonio: It is actually a couple of through cars. They spend the night because the cars are added to the Sunset Limited when it comes throough on its way from New Orleans to Los Angeles, and of course they are dropped off on the return trip.

As to the come and go: I have no first hand knowledge, but from what has been posted by others, you can fairly well come and go except during those times that the cars are being moved around. only passengers ticketed through on trains 421/422, which is the designation of the through cars can stay in them.
 

Lamar

Train Attendant
Joined
Apr 8, 2008
Messages
44
Location
Texas
Is the Cross Country Cafe running on the Eagle yet?
Yes it is. However, unlike the City, at least for the moment Amtrak continues to run a Sightseer Lounge car on the Eagle. It runs unmanned, which means no food service in the car, but at least people can still enjoy the big windows and the scenery outside the train.
I rode the TE yesterday and today from STL to DAL and ate in a regular dining car and a cafe in the lower level of the Sightseer lounge. Same set-up last Wednesday DAL to CHI.
 
G

Guest_kittycatalina_*

Guest
Woohoo, we just booked our August trip!

I had to call the 800# (and wait on hold forever, but that's another story) to put 3 of us in the bedroom. The agent was really friendly, and gave us some tips for traveling with a toddler.

I was given a confirmation #, but no hard tickets until check in, is that common?

Also, is there an online map so I can see which unit I'll be in?

I've spent the afternoon looking at everyone's pictures and getting excited!
 

daveyb99

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 10, 2005
Messages
910
Location
Grapevine, TX
I was given a confirmation #, but no hard tickets until check in, is that common?Also, is there an online map so I can see which unit I'll be in?

I've spent the afternoon looking at everyone's pictures and getting excited!
AMTRAK charges to mail tickets. No problem though. When you arrive at the station, pick them up at the window. Or you can make a trip and get them earlier.

By which 'unit' do you mean the car layout. If so, check this site.

Have a blast....
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
Location
Queens, New York

jackal

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
1,379
Location
SGF
A few minor points, mostly for other newbies reading this thread to keep y'all from thinking there's conflicting information:

AMTRAK charges to mail tickets.
...Unless you're starting from an unstaffed station with no automated ticket machines. Amtrak will then mail the tickets free of charge, provided you're booking more than (IIRC) 5 (or maybe it's 9) days before the train. If it's within that window, Amtrak will mail them but charge an express mail fee.

Or you can make a trip and get them earlier.
Most of the time, not a good idea. As long as you haven't picked up the ticket (or had it mailed to you), Amtrak will refund 100% of your ticket in the event of a cancellation (accomodation upgrades excepted). Once the tickets have been picked up or mailed, the most you can get refunded is 90%, although in this case, you could also exchange for a voucher for future travel worth 100% of your ticket.
 

p&sr

OBS Chief
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
983
Location
Northern California
...Unless you're starting from an unstaffed station with no automated ticket machines. Amtrak will then mail the tickets free of charge, provided you're booking more than (IIRC) 5 (or maybe it's 9) days before the train. If it's within that window, Amtrak will mail them but charge an express mail fee.
And if it's too late even for that, there are still ways to travel. Like picking up your tickets on board the train? (You'd want to be sure you can prove you really have the reservations, and that you have paid for them... if you did.)

Where I am, I catch the Amtrak Bus from an unstaffed bus-stop. If I don't have tickets, it is possible to travel anyway by handing the bus driver my driver's license as a security deposit. Then on arrival at the station, we go together to the Ticket Counter and get the tickets, for the bus ride just completed and for the rail travel to follow.

I've seen it done, but much prefer not to hand over such a vital document. And I'd rather not fuss with getting tickets issued right before departure. What if there's a long line? What if their computer is down? (Then I guess you could just talk to the conductor on board and explain? But if you've already surrendered your ID for the bus ride and didn't get it back, then they wouldn't even let you buy a ticket on board...)

Most of the time, not a good idea. As long as you haven't picked up the ticket (or had it mailed to you), Amtrak will refund 100%...
Call me old-fashioned, but there's nothing quite like holding the printed tickets in your hand to be convinced that your reservations actually exist as you were told. I'd take my chances on the 10% penalty, or gladly accept a voucher in place of a refund.

Besides, picking up tickets in advance is a great excuse to visit the Station and do some Train-Watching!
 

jackal

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
1,379
Location
SGF
...Unless you're starting from an unstaffed station with no automated ticket machines. Amtrak will then mail the tickets free of charge, provided you're booking more than (IIRC) 5 (or maybe it's 9) days before the train. If it's within that window, Amtrak will mail them but charge an express mail fee.
And if it's too late even for that, there are still ways to travel. Like picking up your tickets on board the train?
If that question mark was supposed to be there, then the answer is yes, that is possible, too. I can't remember if you can select this option online or if you must call to book your reservations, but if travel is within a certain number of days (5, probably) and, again, from an unstaffed station, the conductor will receive your printed ticket with his materials from the train's initial departure terminal (is that an oxymoron? :lol: ) and will be able to give it to you when you board and show your license.

Most of the time, not a good idea. As long as you haven't picked up the ticket (or had it mailed to you), Amtrak will refund 100%...
Call me old-fashioned, but there's nothing quite like holding the printed tickets in your hand to be convinced that your reservations actually exist as you were told. I'd take my chances on the 10% penalty, or gladly accept a voucher in place of a refund.

Besides, picking up tickets in advance is a great excuse to visit the Station and do some Train-Watching!
I'm so used to 100% electronic airline reservations, and I'm the type of person that will lose a piece of paper before you even give it to me, so picking up tickets early is a foreign concept to me.

I won't argue with your last sentence, though! :lol:
 

RobertF

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
177
Location
SLC Utah
...Unless you're starting from an unstaffed station with no automated ticket machines. Amtrak will then mail the tickets free of charge, provided you're booking more than (IIRC) 5 (or maybe it's 9) days before the train. If it's within that window, Amtrak will mail them but charge an express mail fee.
And if it's too late even for that, there are still ways to travel. Like picking up your tickets on board the train? (You'd want to be sure you can prove you really have the reservations, and that you have paid for them... if you did.)

Where I am, I catch the Amtrak Bus from an unstaffed bus-stop. If I don't have tickets, it is possible to travel anyway by handing the bus driver my driver's license as a security deposit. Then on arrival at the station, we go together to the Ticket Counter and get the tickets, for the bus ride just completed and for the rail travel to follow.

I've seen it done, but much prefer not to hand over such a vital document. And I'd rather not fuss with getting tickets issued right before departure. What if there's a long line? What if their computer is down? (Then I guess you could just talk to the conductor on board and explain? But if you've already surrendered your ID for the bus ride and didn't get it back, then they wouldn't even let you buy a ticket on board...)

Most of the time, not a good idea. As long as you haven't picked up the ticket (or had it mailed to you), Amtrak will refund 100%...
Call me old-fashioned, but there's nothing quite like holding the printed tickets in your hand to be convinced that your reservations actually exist as you were told. I'd take my chances on the 10% penalty, or gladly accept a voucher in place of a refund.

Besides, picking up tickets in advance is a great excuse to visit the Station and do some Train-Watching!
Yeah... but there is nothing like the last min. panic of "Where did I put those tickets"... or the panic of having forgotten them at home, etc...

One time we had a cleanup lady take our tickets that we had (stupidly) put down on a table next to us at the station. She threw them in her trash can. For a few minutes we were in a panic until I remembered the cleanup lady. I chased her down, must have looked like a loony going through her trash and there they were. Amazingly they were in perfect condition. No coffee spills or nastiness on them.

I prefer to get my tickets at the station, the day I'm traveling, if at all possible. Of course there are those unattended stations, etc... and that is a different issue. Noting like a good panic to ruin an otherwise wonderful train experience.
 
Top