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Author Topic: TX Eagle today
City of Miami
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This morning I took the Eagle again from San Antonio to Austin. Departed on time, arrived 9:14 a.m., 17 minutes ahead of schedule. The train had obviously been cleaned, despite reports that there are no facilities in SAS. The lounge car lower level cafe opened within minutes of departure. 3 coaches (mine about 1/3 full), lounge, diner, 1 sleeper, dorm car.
Door to door, including public transit at both ends took about 4 hours. On Friday 'Hound took about 3 hrs for same trip going south, also trouble free with no stops at all. The major time difference seems to be the back-up move the Eagle has to make south of San Antonio. It takes about 20 minutes to get on the mainline, then presumably the same to get back back east of SA and on the way north.
It sure seems obvious to me that this route is a prime candidate for a booming corridor line. The line goes right through the older towns of New Braunfels, San Marcos, Buda and Kyle plus several newer conglomerations of condos/apts/malls - plus plenty of TX countryside not seen from I-35. Ideally such a line would go on up to Ft. Worth/Dallas, through Round Rock, Tyler, Temple, Waco and Cleburne - all significant and growing population centers.

Posts: 326 | From: San Antonio Texas USA | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
palmland
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Amtrak's schedule shows about 3 hrs 20 min. In 1954 Missouri Pacific's schedule for the Texas Eagle was about 1 hr 45 min. I'm not familiar with that area. What has changed to cause the backup move and the additional time? I suspect UP has kept the track in decent shape.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Likely the additional time results from accessing the SP station, which apparently requires a backup move, rather than the I&GN (MP) station, which was of course simply straightaway.
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delvyrails
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In 1954, there was only a fraction of the number of freight trains that run today. Freight traffic today is essentially one-way northbound between San Marcos and Austin. So southbound Amtrak bucks the flow, and much schedule "padding" is the result.

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John Pawson

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Geoff Mayo
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I know there is directional running between San Antonio and San Marcos (northbound on the ex-MKTT and southbound on the ex-GN). This explains the back-up move from SAS northbound but this is a running time of 2h31. The 3h20 is southbound and I suspect a good hour of that is simply the usual heavy padding Amtrak put in between penultimate and destination stations (of course, 3x weekly it continues with the Sunset). There used to be a connection that would potentially allow a northbound to depart without reversing but that track seems to have disappeared.

Southbound it would appear it can pull straight in; however, I remember reading a travelogue stating that they did 7 separate movements to get into SAS!

Track speeds and traffic may well explain the remainder of the difference between now and 54 years go.

Geoff M.

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Geoff M.

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City of Miami
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This morning the NB trip took 2h14m with the backup move and no stops for freights - I didn't even see a freight. A smooth run.
If you look at the Amtrak Delays site it seems that the Eagle takes that 3h20m for the SB in actual time whether they are running late or not. Odd. It's only 86 miles. (although the last several days at least it has only been taking about 2 1/2 hrs.)I have never taken the SB trip because it is so unreliable and gets in potentially so late, so I don't know what happens. It sounds like Geoff is saying the SB route goes down west of the city and pulls into Sunset Station that way. Too bad it's in the middle of the night and I couldn't see what's happening should I decide to try it. It sure is better than the bus if it were more reliable.

I walk by the station and the mainline here in Austin several times a week because the YMCA is right next door. It is very rare to see a SB freight; NB frequent; usually two locos pulling new autos or some kind of crushed rock.

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Gilbert B Norman
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For ready reference, Here's a photo of the International And Great Northern station.

For further reference, here is where the SP Sinset Limited once called home. Latter Day SP as well as Amtrak were compelled to move to another facility. What relation the present facility has (former LCL freight house?) to the former, I know not.

Hard as it may be to believe, Mr. Ainsworth reports at his Dome-Main site that the I&GN was once the proud owner of a Dome car.

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City of Miami
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Wow! Thanks Mr. Norman. I've not run across this station yet in my fledgling explorations of SA. I will definitely make an expedition to see it on one of my future trips. Since these photos were taken last month I presume it is still there! The Sunset station is pretty impressive too; it's some kind of convention facility with the Amtrak station in the back right by the Alamo Dome.

Incidentally, I'm liking SA more and more.....more than Austin at this point....and may be moving down there.

Posts: 326 | From: San Antonio Texas USA | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Geoff Mayo
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quote:
Originally posted by City of Miami:
It sounds like Geoff is saying the SB route goes down west of the city and pulls into Sunset Station that way.

I believe so, according to my resources. I have only taken the northbound trip myself.

quote:
Originally posted by City of Miami:
Incidentally, I'm liking SA more and more.....more than Austin at this point....and may be moving down there.

I certainly liked it, but from a tourist point of view! I didn't stop in Austin though, so can't comment on how it compares.

Geoff M.

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Geoff M.

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Hoop
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It's interesting you rode it on a Sunday, when the through cars from the Sunset are attached. I wonder if this is the reason the lower level of the sightseer lounge opened for business. Still, I bet there was no breakfast served in the diner, correct?

When I rode #22 back in May, the train did not include the Sunset through cars, and was not cleaned from the night before and there was no food service in either the diner nor the lower level of the sightseer lounge until the employees who run those services got on in Austin. (They apparently get to get off in Austin and sleep in a luxury hotel, while their OBS Sleeper attendant and coach attendant counterparts have to go all the way to San Antonio and return...)

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City of Miami
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Originally posted by Hoop:
[ I wonder if this is the reason the lower level of the sightseer lounge opened for business.

That sounds like a plausible explanation.

Posts: 326 | From: San Antonio Texas USA | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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