Surely this item is misrouted and belongs in the "worst experience on a passenger train" thread?That said, the Texas Eagle will always hold a sentimental place in my history. ... 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.
I enjoy the high desert stretch between Las Vegas and Raton in the winter late afternoon. The antelope are usually on the move. I've never caught them on camera but there are plenty of other photo-worthy scenes. On my one trip on the Texas Eagle I did find the sunsets to be attractive. Here are some post-Thanksgiving scenes on the Southwest Chief -- sometimes hard to get because the train is really moving.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.
Surely this item is misrouted and belongs in the "worst experience on a passenger train" thread?
I enjoy the high desert stretch between Las Vegas and Raton in the winter late afternoon. The antelope are usually on the move. I've never caught them on camera but there are plenty of other photo-worthy scenes. On my one trip on the Texas Eagle I did find the sunsets to be attractive. Here are some post-Thanksgiving scenes on the Southwest Chief -- sometimes hard to get because the train is really moving.
The last picture is something good to see at Raton at the end of a long journey.
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I took the CONO maybe five years ago, after an unfortunate menu change (before the boxed meals tho). Namely, they had gone mostly to sandwiches, even tho it was a dining car! And they did not even have the sense to include a muffaletta! Nothing distinctive about the cuisine, and on a train named for the best foodie place in the US!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.
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.
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.
For quite a while I was a member of the Raton Arts league, so I could leave my baggage with them in the former Railway Express Agency while I went over to one of the restaurants. They make a serious effort at programming so it's worth a visit. On one long wait they opened up the backstage at the restored Shuler Theater so I could get a look at it.We too enjoy exactly the same and for reasons unknown have a soft spot for Raton and that area.
That does suck. However I don't think that would be a Texas Eagle specific problem since conductors change routes. Probably Amtrak's fault for hiring such incompetent workers.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.
Do you remember which parlour car it was?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.
Well, the Eagle scenery between Palm Springs and San Antonio is very similar. And most people don't find the plain desert very attractive. The other part of the route has some decent scenery, but the Southwest Chief scenery tends to be the popular vote.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.
Love it, thanks for sharing!Great rail company and a great ride... so sorry I never had a chance to ride on the original trains of the golden era! I did take Amtrak down to Loredo Texas and am sorry I didn't continue on the Aztec to Mexico City which was in its final days of operation at the time!!!! [Parked forever in Mexico City... bottom pic.]
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What great memories... look forward to sharing with you over some really great Tex Mex in Austin, my friend!Love it, thanks for sharing!
Had my first ever Bedroom and Dome Car ride on the Mopac Eagle from San Marcos,Tx to St Louis on the Mopac Texas Eagle!
Also rode the Aztec Eagle in both directions on NdeM many times from Laredo to Mexico.
Just curious... if going to enjoy riding the rails, what is your hurry??? Many AU'ers favor the Eagle because it allows that extra night and day. However, I do agree with you that the early arrival going west puts a dent in the 'favor' category. BTW it sometimes runs early and pax are woken up as early as 3am by overzealous attendant wanting to getting everything done so that when the train gets in he's done. Hmmm... and many of us on this forum have complained.Chicago-LA or return, I almost always opt for the SW Chief. Faster. That’s the obvious draw for me. Saves an extra night. Plus, Westbound, the 0800 arrival is preferred, to the way to early Texas Eagle arrival.
The exception, is when I return from LA, if I can’t get free in time to make the 6PM chief departure, I’ll take the later 10PM Texas Eagle, rather than spend an extra night in LA anyway.
Many ranchers in town still come into town that way.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.
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.
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!
All this is so very special and brings all of us railroad fans together. Zeb was certainly heroic... his kindness was... and will always be... the best of all virtues... so spelled out in his name. Amazing connections... just amazing!Wow.! Twentieth Century, you just made my day alot brighter. I grew up in Arlington, TX. The old Mo-Pac line was about 125 yards from my back door. We spent a lot of time running up and down the trails we had made. A train crew would come down from the B-O-P yard (Buick,Oldsmobile and Pontiac or GM)about twice a week when they would go over to the warehouses over across the highway. They let us come over and talk with them while they were switching. They would always give us the heads up when the circus train was coming through. Really cool. I asked the guys if I could have a ride on the train. They said they were too busy today. One man said, I'll tell you what you come up to the yard early Saturday morning and I give you a ride on a train, just ask for Zeb Love when you get there. I wasn't going to miss this for the world. I showed up and sure enough I got to spend half the day w him switching cars and building trainsets. He even let me drive/operate the switch engine. I was about 10 years old and this was one of the biggest highlights of my life,still is. When it was time to go he gave me a brass coin commemorating centennial of Mineola Tx. I still have that too. I did not know where Zeb went after he retired until a few years ago when I googled him out of curiosity. He lives on in my heart and mind. He sparked my love for trains and I have been a railfan ever since.! Thanks 20 C R
He has previously said he regularly travels for work. Many employers may not know or care about Amtrak but they do care about arriving late and it can be a lot easier for people to empathize with a late aircraft or a flat tire than a passenger train they never heard about. For me the hurry was more about lack of vacation time. I enjoyed the train but also wanted time to explore my destination. I get around six weeks of paid time now but for several years it was maybe a week or two total and the first couple years came with no vacation time at all. Every hour of vacation had to come from a comp time bucket that slowly built up over months of nighttime and weekend work.Just curious... if going to enjoy riding the rails, what is your hurry???
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