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Texas Eagle ~ a puzzle

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Maybe I'm wrong, often am, but get the impression from this forum the Texas Eagle is less popular than the Southwest Chief.

I understand if people ride just part of the route where one journey passes through more populous areas than the other therefore more traffic, but if riding end to end surely they both have equal if different attraction.

Maybe they're used equally, but that's not the impression I get.

Any answers?
 

20th Century Rider

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Aaah, the Texas Eagle! When I boarded in LAX at 10pm after arriving on the CS, I made my way to the room and showed the attendant my boarding pass; he gave a friendly nod, and wished me a good night's sleep. After taking my shirt off I heard a loud knock on the door. "I know you're in there... show me your ticket.'

"Ok" I said, just let me get my shirt back on. Then she yelled... "I want to see your ticket now!" "Ok Ok... just let me get my shirt back on." Then she yells, "If you don't open up now I'll call the police!"

So I opened up the door with my shirt off and showed her the ticket. Then she scolded me saying that when an authority orders you to show your ticket you show it!"

I was in shock! That was the conductor!

Why does't that behavior occur on Amtrak? I was upset the entire trip.

That's what I most remember about my trip on the Texas Eagle. :mad: :mad::mad:
 

PaTrainFan

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I've ridden both, end-to-end (including Sunset Limied). I appreciate both, but believe the better scenery is afforded in the Southwest U.S. on the Chief. Not sure Texas provides great deal in terms of scenery, though the only time I did ride it wasn't a fair sample as it was on a re-route and hours behind schedule.
 
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Conductor
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Aaah, the Texas Eagle! When I boarded in LAX at 10pm after arriving on the CS, I made my way to the room and showed the attendant my boarding pass; he gave a friendly nod, and wished me a good night's sleep. After taking my shirt off I heard a loud knock on the door. "I know you're in there... show me your ticket.'

"Ok" I said, just let me get my shirt back on. Then she yelled... "I want to see your ticket now!" "Ok Ok... just let me get my shirt back on." Then she yells, "If you don't open up now I'll call the police!"

So I opened up the door with my shirt off and showed her the ticket. Then she scolded me saying that when an authority orders you to show your ticket you show it!"

I was in shock! That was the conductor!

Why does't that behavior occur on Amtrak? I was upset the entire trip.

That's what I most remember about my trip on the Texas Eagle. :mad: :mad::mad:
Maybe she was desperate to see a man without a shirt on?
 

Sidney

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When traveling from Chicago to LA or vice versa I'll usually opt for The Eagle/Sunset because you get one extra night for the same price as the Chief. I also enjoy the stops in Tucson El Paso ,Alpine Fort Worth,Dallas and St. Louis. If the train is on time there is plenty of time to get off the train stretch or walk. Last summer we were early into Fort Worth and we had an hour and a half stop. Plenty of time to explore the city.
 

Devil's Advocate

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I understand if people ride just part of the route where one journey passes through more populous areas than the other therefore more traffic, but if riding end to end surely they both have equal if different attraction.
The Sunset Limited has a longer and more varied route that I prefer over the Texas Eagle. I'm not sure what the Eagle has over the Sunset other than better calling times and daily service (when available).

Other than highly subjective scenery preferences and meaningless anecdotes, your only source of factual information is that of ridership found here: Amtrak Ridership Statistics | Rail Passengers Association | Washington, DC As Sidney stated, the fare buckets for these two trains are identical.
Not everybody is doing research for a term paper and some folks enjoy chatting about anecdotes in a casual manner.
 

tricia

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At the risk of inviting brickbats from Texas lovers: Between LA and Chicago, the Texas Eagle/Sunset Ltd spends what feels like about three weeks in Texas. Although I've taken it several times, once was enough for the scenery for me.
 

railiner

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To me, the Eagle is not a Chicago/Los Angeles train, even though it does have thru cars with the Sunset. I would liken it to using the City of New Orleans and the Sunset to get from Chicago to Los Angeles. I would much prefer the Southwest Chief for that journey, unless I was just looking to see a new route. I would even prefer using the Zephyr or Empire Builder with a transfer to the Coast Starlight to connect Chicago and Los Angeles, in that case...
 
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The TE is the only American very long distance train we haven't used, and strangely we actually really like the desert scenery along the border. To us LD trains take on a life of their own once they have been going for 24 hours or so, this longer than most / all? US train journeys would allow us to live the TE version of a community on rails for longer. People first, scenery second is the way it has always worked for us.

My question was posed as there does appear to be a preference for the SWC and what was I missing having taken the Chief both ways.

Thanks as always for some great insights, be happy to read more opinions too.
 

20th Century Rider

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Perhaps the Texas Eagle is in of itself, the destination... with its cast of characters. There was a conductor between 'somewhere in Texas' and... 'Somewhere in Texas.' He was wearing a cowboy hat and was very loud and 'vociferous' flirting with the ladies and showing off his Texas accent drawl.

I did have a good attendant despite the obnoxious start to the journey in LA.

At the stop in El Paso where we had been slowly moving along the newly constructed wall, there was a peddler who had come over from the Mexico side to sell tacos... apparently working with the train crew who encouraged all to get them... and he sold out quickly.

Very weird... the train seemed to back in at San Antonio... and changed the directions of the cars between there and Chicago.

Whoa's me... I was complaining about the food... you know... the standardized menu they had before covid... absolutely the same stuff on every train. I couldn't imagine doing 4 days and 3 nights with the flex garbage they a throwing at passengers.

But I would applaud the scenery and city scapes on that trip. Texas metropolitan areas are vast with skyscrapers everywhere. And what a jaw dropping scene crossing the Mississippi with a full view of the glimmering St. Louis Arch. With all the good and the not so good, the Texas Eagle is an American institution to be experienced!

 

Palmland

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The TE is the only American very long distance train we haven't used, and strangely we actually really like the desert scenery along the border.
I thank that’s all the reason you need to take the TE.

We’ve enjoyed both, but for us the current food offerings make 3 days of the same sound like cruel and unusual punishment. We also enjoy on the SWC the desolate and dramatic scenery of the high plains after the climb up Raton pass. If you do take the SWC, you might consider breaking the trip here- La Castaneda or the one in Winslow restored by the same owners (and a lot more trains to see)- La Posada.
 

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I think the answer to the question is summed up in these four quotes, succinct and well put...

Between LA and Chicago, the Texas Eagle/Sunset Ltd spends what feels like about three weeks in Texas.
Perhaps the Texas Eagle is in of itself, the destination...
I thank that’s all the reason you need to take the TE.
When traveling from Chicago to LA or vice versa I'll usually opt for The Eagle/Sunset because you get one extra night for the same price as the Chief.

Thanks niemi24s, never heard of seen such a table. Have to partially disagree with you re anecdotes, they can sometimes be informative, interesting or funny, not all are meaningless

Other than highly subjective scenery preferences and meaningless anecdotes, your only source of factual information is that of ridership found here: Amtrak Ridership Statistics | Rail Passengers Association | Washington, DC As Sidney stated, the fare buckets for these two trains are identical.

We have already ridden the Sunset twice and yes that is a great route. Not used the City of New Orleans as yet, perhaps will one day.

The Sunset Limited has a longer and more varied route that I prefer over the Texas Eagle. I'm not sure what the Eagle has over the Sunset other than better calling times and daily service (when available).

The idea was to remain in the same car for the entire journey, and as long a journey as possible. This was the last long route we hadn't ridden but as it didn't appear the most popular I was curious as to why.
Completely different: What did it feel like to remain on the same ship for your birthday voyage, bet a community grew up on board.
Edit: Sorry, meant your retirement cruise

To me, the Eagle is not a Chicago/Los Angeles train, even though it does have thru cars with the Sunset. I would liken it to using the City of New Orleans and the Sunset to get from Chicago to Los Angeles. I would much prefer the Southwest Chief for that journey, unless I was just looking to see a new route. I would even prefer using the Zephyr or Empire Builder with a transfer to the Coast Starlight to connect Chicago and Los Angeles, in that case...

Sounds like the one for us

Aaah, the Texas Eagle! Anything goes!
 
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Rasputin

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In years past when I would visit relatives in LA I would usually go west on the Southwest Chief and return on the Sunset/Texas Eagle. Always a great trip.

I have also traveled just between Chicago and San Antonio on the Texas Eagle. They have been great trips as well. The scenery is pleasant on that route but not dramatic.

On the Texas Eagle/Sunset, I find El Paso to be a great place for a stopover. On the Southwest Chief, stopovers in Santa Fe and Albuquerque are great.
 

Bob Dylan

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In years past when I would visit relatives in LA I would usually go west on the Southwest Chief and return on the Sunset/Texas Eagle. Always a great trip.

I have also traveled just between Chicago and San Antonio on the Texas Eagle. They have been great trips as well. The scenery is pleasant on that route but not dramatic.

On the Texas Eagle/Sunset, I find El Paso to be a great place for a stopover. On the Southwest Chief, stopovers in Santa Fe and Albuquerque are great.
Try Alpine instead of El Paso, you'll like it!!!
 

Palmland

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We stayed in Alpine on a western auto trip a few years ago and loved it. Lots of interesting shops and the Holland Hotel was great and very walkable from the station. It’s restaurant / lounge had a Dutch chef at the time. Best meal on our trip and it was a hoot with a lot of local ranchers that looked like they arrived by horseback. Lots to do in the area if you have a car too and it’s higher altitude makes it more pleasant in the summer. We much preferred it to nearby Marfa that was a little too trendy for our taste.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Very weird... the train seemed to back in at San Antonio... and changed the directions of the cars between there and Chicago.
After the Missouri Pacific Railroad, Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railway, and Southern Pacific Railroad were absorbed into the Union Pacific conglomerate several yards and interconnecting tracks were disconnected or removed entirely. As a result Amtrak now has to take a very slow and roundabout path to reach the last active station.

We have already ridden the Sunset twice and yes that is a great route. Not used the City of New Orleans as yet, perhaps will one day.
I've never taken the CONO myself, so I can't speak from any personal experience, but I believe it's the sister route of the Eagle (same trains) and it didn't sound any more interesting according to the reports I've read. Most of the CONO's character appears to be lost to time and consolidation but some folks still enjoy it.

Try Alpine instead of El Paso, you'll like it!!!
Living between a smelting operation (now closed but still heavily polluted), a large oil refinery (Chevron/Texaco/Marathon), and a huge shanty town (Juarez) would be tough for me to stomach. Whenever I've had to visit El Paso for business or family matters I struggled to acclimate to the smell and never spent more than a single night before moving on or heading back. My best trip to El Paso was about two hours of business between flights.
 
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jiml

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There really wasn't a "bad" Amtrak western train before the dining changes. All have unique scenery and experiences to offer. That said, the Texas Eagle will always hold a sentimental place in my history. I've probably ridden 4 times in each direction, although not necessarily round-trips (e.g. westbound on Desert Wind, return on TE, etc.). I recall meeting the famous late Conductor Zeb Love (as profiled on 60 Minutes), who had my daughter announcing the stops from Longview until he left the train at Fort Worth; the unique menu items when the train carried a hi-level diner (BBQ brisket and cornbread) and misconnecting with the Sunset one time, with the Eagle continuing on to L.A. alone - something I doubt would happen today. Our TE sleeper and the hi-level lounge were even shot at once passing through St. Louis, leaving several bullet holes in the upper glass of the lounge.
 

20th Century Rider

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There really wasn't a "bad" Amtrak western train before the dining changes. All have unique scenery and experiences to offer. That said, the Texas Eagle will always hold a sentimental place in my history. I've probably ridden 4 times in each direction, although not necessarily round-trips (e.g. westbound on Desert Wind, return on TE, etc.). I recall meeting the famous late Conductor Zeb Love (as profiled on 60 Minutes), who had my daughter announcing the stops from Longview until he left the train at Fort Worth; the unique menu items when the train carried a hi-level diner (BBQ brisket and cornbread) and misconnecting with the Sunset one time, with the Eagle continuing on to L.A. alone - something I doubt would happen today. Our TE sleeper and the hi-level lounge were even shot at once passing through St. Louis, leaving several bullet holes in the upper glass of the lounge.
Was researching and found Conductor Zeb Love... what a great guy he was! Wasn't able to find a pic of the BBQ brisket and cornbread served at one time on the high level diner... but I'm sure there are pics around somewhere.

Here is a YouTube account of traveling on the Eagle with lots of emphasis on the diner. Full service dining has been an institution on Amtrak and validates your statement... "There really wasn't a "bad" Amtrak western train before the dining changes." It was certainly a place to meet people while enjoying some really good food. The clip below shows the menu that promoted the 'Amtrak Culinary Team' of chefs.

With frustration to all... they kept cutting back and cutting back. Today the food is a real negative to the experience... so on a full length Texas Eagle trip one has that same brownie every day at lunch and dinner... so tiring... and breakfasts not even worth mentioning. Let's all hope we see big improvements after the pandemic! :rolleyes:

 

jiml

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The TE is sounding more and more interesting by the day, got to try it.
I didn't say they were all positive experiences! Being wakened somewhere south of St. Louis by police and paramedics, then getting to see the damage to the lounge the next morning does leave an impression however. Ironically I was able to ride the same lounge car many years later as a Pacific Parlor Car on the Coast Starlight.
 

v v

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I didn't say they were all positive experiences! Being wakened somewhere south of St. Louis by police and paramedics, then getting to see the damage to the lounge the next morning does leave an impression however. Ironically I was able to ride the same lounge car many years later as a Pacific Parlor Car on the Coast Starlight.
Interesting doesn't have to be positive does it, a little excitement very occasionally reminds us we are still alive...
 

jiml

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Wasn't able to find a pic of the BBQ brisket and cornbread served at one time on the high level diner... but I'm sure there are pics around somewhere.
I may actually have one. Unfortunately it was long before digital photography and I have thousands of stills of vacations past I've been scanning... not making the best progress.:rolleyes: The ex-Santa Fe hi-level diners lasted long into the Superliner era and were frequently found on the Eagle and almost always on the Desert Wind (my personal favorite train) until their retirement. In my experience they were the source of some of the more unique (but not always better) food on Amtrak.
 

20th Century Rider

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I may actually have one. Unfortunately it was long before digital photography and I have thousands of stills of vacations past I've been scanning... not making the best progress.:rolleyes: The ex-Santa Fe hi-level diners lasted long into the Superliner era and were frequently found on the Eagle and almost always on the Desert Wind (my personal favorite train) until their retirement. In my experience they were the source of some of the more unique (but not always better) food on Amtrak.
We can only dream and reflect on the past... wishing it would come back! 🤠

82b958c7cab9615447c1e18aa613ab29.jpg
 
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