Texas Eagle ~ a puzzle

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

flitcraft

Conductor
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
1,217
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.
Surely this item is misrouted and belongs in the "worst experience on a passenger train" thread? ;)
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,101
Location
Oregon Coast
Sooo... you can get that bedroom on the Texas Eagle for the 7 hour jaunt from STL to CHI for only $167... includes a cardboard breakfast with a slimy hot sausage sandwich with cold cereal and a small 7 oz flex meal for lunch.

How clean is your room if party just vacated it in St. Louis?
Why are you traveling during the dangerous post holiday covid spread?
What else could you do with $167?
The food review ... same as a roomette which is $109 [price varies]

Screen Shot 2021-01-04 at 7.03.51 PM.png
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,799
Location
Denver
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.
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.

2011 West Coast Thanksgiving 227k Arizona morning.jpg

2011 West Coast Thanksgiving 244k Desert palette in NM.jpg 2011 West Coast Thanksgiving 257k NM approaching Las Vegas.jpg 2011 West Coast Thanksgiving 259 (2).jpg
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2012
Messages
1,937
Location
UK / France
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.

View attachment 20131

View attachment 20132 View attachment 20133 View attachment 20135

We too enjoy exactly the same and for reasons unknown have a soft spot for Raton and that area.
 

jloewen

Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
112
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.
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!
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,799
Location
Denver
We too enjoy exactly the same and for reasons unknown have a soft spot for Raton and that area.
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.

2006 Summer 062.jpg
 

Cal

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,798
Location
Socal
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:
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.

On my latest experience on the Texas Eagle (few years back), it was great. We boarded and had a great sleeping car attendant who chatted with us a bit.

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.
Do you remember which parlour car it was?
 

Cal

Engineer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,798
Location
Socal
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?
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.

I have not taken the Southwest Chief recently and don't remember it. But I have taken the LAX-FTW part of the Texas Eagle recently.

Based on videos that I've seen of the Chief, and the semaphores and the wig wag on the chief route, I believe the Chief offers more in terms of history and scenery. However I loved my time on the Eagle, and being able to enjoy the desert from the SSL is nice.

Hopefully I will be able to take both routes (one way, full trip) in late March! Really looking forward to it, other than flexible dining...
 
  • Like
Reactions: v v
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,101
Location
Oregon Coast
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.]

91923gbv775162361bvj157916.png

Waiting to board Texas Eagle on Drizzly Evening.png


2a603d08afdd123ffc0f97c05127256c.jpg


2-mo-pac-map.jpg

Screen Shot 2021-01-24 at 4.40.14 PM.png
822-18m.jpg
 

Attachments

  • 91923gbv775162361bvj157916.png
    91923gbv775162361bvj157916.png
    119.9 KB · Views: 0

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
24,254
Location
Austin Texas
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.]

View attachment 20427

View attachment 20424


View attachment 20425


View attachment 20428

View attachment 20429
View attachment 20430
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.🥰
 
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,101
Location
Oregon Coast
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.🥰
What great memories... look forward to sharing with you over some really great Tex Mex in Austin, my friend! 😇 🌈 🥑
 

Shortline

Conductor
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
1,161
Location
All over the United States
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: v v
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,101
Location
Oregon Coast
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.
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.
 

AM_ROAD

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 24, 2020
Messages
31
Location
West Texas
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.
Many ranchers in town still come into town that way.

I haven't ridden the TE since 1990 and I was a child. My nearest station is Alpine and it does make sense to take the TE/Sunset to go to LA, but anything east? Forget about it. Maybe to St. Louis, but the routing in Texas is terrible.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
822
These days the Eagle and Chief run alternate days from Chicago to LA and return. Like many train buffs I prefer the Eagle because of the extra day and I save $139. From LA I move to Coach in Bloomington and pay $13 to Chicago. Senior fare to Bloomington $448. To Chicago $600. I ve done it twice and they let me stay in my roomette the rest of the way.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2010
Messages
1,221
Location
S.W. AR.
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:



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
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
2,101
Location
Oregon Coast
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
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!

Al this may just make you shed a tear or two.🌈







Zeb's kindness was written in his name..png
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
13,226
Location
Texas
Just curious... if going to enjoy riding the rails, what is your hurry???
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.
 

Shortline

Conductor
Joined
Mar 13, 2011
Messages
1,161
Location
All over the United States
Exactly. What Devils Advocat said. I almost always use the train on business, I use the time on board to work, with fewer distractions. Like my little private rolling office. For me, it’s not recreational, the train is just a tool. I do enjoy it, sure, but I travel for purely practical reasons. So, the shorter trip works for me. I try to avoid traveling on my weekends, when I can. So a cross country a day shorter, is one more day I’m home! And working in the rail industry, I don’t have to go too far, to justify the time, or to a certain extent, the usually higher cost. They think I’m crazy, but they indulge me, for now.

Usually I take the train when it’s more convenient, to catch an evening train from DC home to Birmingham, for example, or LA- Chicago, rather than stay over to catch an early flight. I still fly, the majority of the time, but when it makes sense, and the schedule works, I manage to work in the train. Last year, a lot. Somewhere North of 30 nights spent on the train in addition to some Acela and regional service trips.

It’s been many, many years since we took the train for purely leisure reasons. And honestly, while I enjoy the train, I don’t really enjoy it enough, to take it recreationally. Usually, when we go on vacation, we fly, or ride our motorcycles. Like this year-going sailing for a week off the coast of Maine, on a schooner. No time to mess with the train, we’ll fly it in a few hours, enjoy Maine for 10 days, then fly home. To take the train, we’d have to burn nearly 3 days each way. Crescent, to Washington, Regional to Boston, Downeaster to Portland. And the Regional is overnight, in coach. That’s no vacation!
 
Last edited:
Top