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Why is there a layover in San Antonio ? ?

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Rover

OBS Chief
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I do know that once the Eagle arrives from Dallas, at 9:55PM, the connecting #1 Sunset Ltd., doesn't arrive from Houston until 12:05AM.

But why then the wait, until 2:45AM to depart westward?

Conversely, the #2 Sunset arrives in San Antonio at 4:50AM, but why the wait until 6:25AM to depart going eastward to New Orleans??

Is this kind of layover common to Amtrak, or is this San Antonio layover unique?
 

Ryan

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It's unique, and the time is needed to switch the cars around.
 

VentureForth

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And to account for the very high likelihood that one or the other or both of the trains will be late into San Antonio.

It's an important reason to ensure that if you're in a sleeper, you have the right ticket so you can (try) to sleep through the switching, as opposed to being unceremoniously kicked off the train, only to wait up in the middle of the night in the station, and board with the hoards to continue on.

As I was looking on the Amtrak site for an example of the Texas Eagle, for some reason, it won't show the TE from CHI-LAX. It offers Empire Builder - Coast Starlight, Cali Zeph - multiple connections, SWC, but it doesn't offer me the Eagle.
 
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brianpmcdonnell17

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And to account for the very high likelihood that one or the other or both of the trains will be late into San Antonio.

It's an important reason to ensure that if you're in a sleeper, you have the right ticket so you can (try) to sleep through the switching, as opposed to being unceremoniously kicked off the train, only to wait up in the middle of the night in the station, and board with the hoards to continue on.

As I was looking on the Amtrak site for an example of the Texas Eagle, for some reason, it won't show the TE from CHI-LAX. It offers Empire Builder - Coast Starlight, Cali Zeph - multiple connections, SWC, but it doesn't offer me the Eagle.
Is it possible you searched a date that the train does not run? The other trains are all daily, while the TE is only tri-weekly.
The TE is somewhat unique in that only part of the train continues to/from the SL. The LSL and EB also split/combine, but the entirety of both branches of both trains create the larger train and are better timed to meet each other when compared to the TE and SL. The TE also has much longer layovers than the other trains, but the SL layover in SAS is little different than the LSL in ALB or EB in SPK.
 

Thirdrail7

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It also may have to do with recovery time and the slot allowed by the hosts. Additionally, SAS tends to be a calendar day inspection point for the train and the engine and a service stop. Besides, in the case of #2@SAS, an hour and thirty minutes is not that far off other trains that manipulate their consists en route.
 
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Lonestar648

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Though the TE is scheduled to arrive at 9:55PM, it can arrive one hour early to several hours late, There have been times when the SL is delayed leaving SAS waiting for the TE to arrive, then doing the switching and servicing. Conversely, the TE has been late departing SAS due to a late SL. In an extremely late scenario, there are protection cars could be used if the passengers are bused.
 

the_traveler

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Going north, the delay is because it is connected to the Texas Eagle, which departs at a specified time each day. I think most people would find it confusing to remember the TE departs at 5:xx on these 3 days but 7:xx on the other 4 days. So they keep the same schedule for all 7 days.
 
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