Photographs, travelogues, accommodations, and other information about train
travel on this Amtrak route.
Los Angeles * Phoenix * Tuscon
El Paso * San Antonio * Houston
New Orleans * Mobile * Jacksonville
Orlando * Miami
You're traveling on board Amtrak's Southern Transcontinental Superliner
train-the Sunset Limited. On this premier coast-to-coast route, you'll be
traveling between Los Angeles and Miami, through the great cities of the
American South -- Jackson, Mobile, New Orleans -- and the Southwestern cities
of Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Tucson, and Phoenix.
While on board, you'll be experiencing the utmost in train travel,
along with some of the country's most famous and infamous sights:
Superstition Mountains, site of the legendary Lost Dutchman Mine; Langtry,
headquarters of "Judge" Roy Bean; the Rio Grande Valley; Indian strongholds,
ruins and reservations; rock formations and mountain ranges; Texas oil
fields and blue bayous -- and the mighty Mississippi. You'll pass Biloxi's
commercial fishing fleet, Mobile's large harbor and the many small resorts
along America's Riviera -- the Gulf Coast. Florida's thrilling theme parks
and inviting beaches are the finale to this nationwide adventure along the
At San Antonio, the Sunset Limited links with the Texas Eagle en route to
Chicago. The Texas Eagle also serves Dallas en route to Chicago and
Los Angeles. At Jacksonville, the Sunset Limited links with the Silver Star
and Silver Meteor en route to Miami. The Silver Star and Silver Meteor also
serve points north of Jacksonville, en route to New York and Chicago.
Amtrak and your crew are proud to host you on board. We'll do everything we
can to ensure you enjoy your trip. If you have any questions please don't
hesitate to ask your Attendant or On-Board Chief.
The Fun Starts Here!
The Sunset Limited features on-board activities the whole family will enjoy.
Listen for announcements of the specific time and location of activities, and
most of all -- have fun!
Movies in the "See-Level" Lounge Car, including
features for children during summer months, will be shown.
Hospitality Hour.Join fellow passengers in the Lounge Car for drinks
and complimentary snacks, and don't forget to ask about regional specialties.
Games are usually conducted in the Dining Car. Small prizes will be
awarded. Listen for announcements for time and location.
Meet the Crew That Makes the Magic Happen!
The Conductor is in charge of all crew members and is responsible
for the collection of tickets and the safe operation of the train. The
Chief of On-Board Service" supervises the on-board service crew, and
overseas the quality of service.
Enjoy On-Board Accommodations That Pamper and Please!
Roomy Coach Seats. Your Coach Attendant will see to your
needs. Since your seat is assigned for the length of your journey, please do
not change without first consulting a crew member.
Private Sleeping Compartments. Your Sleeping Car Attendant
will prepare your room for daytime or nighttime use, provide wake-up calls
and bring the morning paper and beverages. Individual speakers bring you
recorded music on Channels 2 or 3, and train announcements on Channels 1 and
2. Simply turn the channel selector near the reading light. First Class
passengers receive additional amenities including complimentary meals in
the Dining Car.
Economy, Family, Special and Deluxe bedrooms are available. Special bedrooms
have a private bathroom and Deluxe have private baths with shower. Sleeping
accommodations may be purchased on board from the Conductor if space permits.
Dining Car Service. The Dining Car features complete meals in a
comfortable setting. Major credit cards are accepted. Sorry, there is no
smoking in the Dining Car. A crew member will contact you if dinner
reservations are necessary.
"See-Level" Lounge Car Enjoy the magnificent scenery
from our large picture windows, and don't forget the sandwiches, snacks
and beverages available for purchase at the Cafe Bar. You can also purchase
souvenir playing cards, post cards and blankets. Lounge Car hours are
generally from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight. Smoking is permitted in certain
designated areas of the Lounge Car.
Scenic Photo Tips
SCENIC SPOTS: Your train passes many beautiful and interesting
sights. The "camera" symbol on your Route Guide Map marks the best spots,
so have your camera ready!
OUTSIDE SHOTS: Medium-speed films (ASA 64 or higher) are recommended
for shooting scenery through the train windows. If your shutter speed is
adjustable and light conditions permit, set it at a higher speed (1/125 or
1/250 sec.) for the clearest results. Hold your lens close to the window to
eliminate glare and reflections.
INSIDE SHOTS: Flash is recommended. To avoid glare and reflections,
do not point the flash directly at the windows.
The Sunset Limited
Amtrak's Southern Transcontinental Route
Welcome aboard the Sunset Limited, Amtrak's scenic 3,030 mile Southern
Transcontinental Route between Los Angeles and Miami via New Orleans.
The Sunset Limited travels along America's Sunbelt -- from Southern
California through the deep South and to the beaches of Miami, treating
you to superb scenery, style and Superliner comfort. This guide will help
you pinpoint many of the scenic features along the way, as well as give
you glimpses of the exciting destinations and the rich history that mark the
While many of the past great transcontinental rail lines
were forged from east to west, the Southern Pacific's Sunset
line had its beginnings in California. Charles Crocker, Mark
Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington and Leland Stanford, all of whom
were involved in creating the first transcontinental railroad,
achieved a second transcontinental rail link in 1883 with the
completion of the route you're now traveling. Amtrak's Sunset
Limited, however, is the first true coast to coast rail link ever!
This guide is written from west to east, noting how many
minutes past the previous Amtrak station you can expect to see
a particular sight, and whether you should look to your right or
left. The first time reference tells you how far that point is from
the next Amtrak station to the west, and the second time, how
far it is to the next Amtrak stop to the east. If you're traveling
westward, just begin at New Orleans or your point of origin and
read the entries in reverse order. Remember to look left when
we've indicated to look right, and right when we've indicated
to look left.
Note that all AMTRAK STATIONS are in capital letters to set them
apart from towns and regions through which the Sunset Limited
travels but makes no stop. Use this guide along with an Amtrak timetable
to determine station times. All times in this guide are approximate.
* Los Angeles *
Pueblo de Nuestra
Senora de la Reina de Los Angeles,
now known simply as Los Angeles,
was founded 12 years after Fr.
Junipero Serra set out in 1769
to establish a chain of missions
stretching up the coast of California.
The Los Angeles Union Passenger
Terminal sits astride the route connecting
the missions -- El Camino
Real, the "Royal Road." The station
is a fitting blend of Spanish and Art
Deco styles -- reflecting both Los
Angeles' earliest heritage and the
modernistic tradition that helped
transform the area into the megopollis
we see today. Across from the
station is Olivera Street, a colorful
historic district that marks the site
of the original village on the Los
Angeles RIver. As we leave the
station we cross the Los Angeles
River, a usually-dry, concrete-lined
channel familiar from numerous
movies and TV shows. City Hall
dominated the downtown dkyline.
On the hill to the left is Dodger
Stadium. The cluster of tall buildings
on the left is the Los Angeles
California State University at Los Angeles (10 Min./34 Min.)
Visible on the left. Next, our train travels
up the center strip of the San Bernardino Freeway (Interstate 10).
El Monte (20 Min./23 Min.)
Leaving the freeway at Temple
City, we cross the Rio Hondo (also
concrete-lined) and pass El Monte
Airport on the left. El Monte is
named for Mount Wilson, rising
5,700-ft. high to the north. East
of El Monte, we cross the usually-dry
San Gabriel River.
Named in 1875 for
the Roman goddess of fruit, the
name is just as apt today, with the
important agricultural department
at California State Polytechnic
College at your left. Pomona boasts
two Amtrak stations. The Sunset
Limited stops at Commercial Street.
During the night, the train also stops
in INDIO. The train crosses the
Colorado River just west of YUMA,
at the border between California
The time change occurs
here during the winter. When eastbound
from October to April, set your watch
ahead one hour before arriving.
When west-bound, set
your watch back one hour as
you depart. Depending on what
time of year you are traveling,
there may also be a time change during
the night. Arizona is in the Mountain
time zone, but does not observe
daylight savings time. November
through March, Arizona is one hour
ahead of California time. The rest
of the year it is on the same time
The train follows the Gila River
which forms the northern boundary
of the Gadsden Purchase in a
nearly-straight path across the
Hassayampa River (2:16 Min./45 Min.)
We cross the river 8 miles west of Buckeye.
Legend claims anyone drinking its waters will
never tell the truth again.
* Phoenix *
The capital of Arizona,
Phoenix was built on the ruins of
the ancient Hohokam Indian culture
which thrived here from B.C. until
the 15th-century. The Hohokam
tamed the desert with sophisticated
irrigation systems, the ruins of
which early settlers uncovered
and actually restored to use
in the 1860s. Fulfillment of these
settlers' prophecy that the city
would rise like the legendary bird
for which it is named came in
1911 with completion of the
Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River,
75 miles to the north.
Sky Harbor International Airport (10 Min./4 Min.)
is on the right.
After we cross the Salt
River, we pass through the Arizona
State University campus. The
red-roofed, carousel-like building is
the University's Music Hall, designed
by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Superstition Mountains (10 Min./43 Min.)
To the distant left, you
see the Superstition Mountains,
the legendary site of the Lost
Dutchman Mine. This is where
German prospector Jacob Waltz
worked a fabulous silver vein,
never again located after his death.
(30 Min./15 Min.) Bi-planes, used
by "crop dusters," can be seen
parked on the left. The surrounding
cotton fields are the source of
famed "pima" cotton.
We cross the Gila River
here. To the right, on the Gila
Indian Reservation, is the Casa
Grande Ruins National Monument,
the remains of a 4-story Hohokam
Indian communal dwelling over
600 years old.
Picacho Peak State Park Saguaro Forest (10 Min./35 Min.)
Visible on the right, the forest is home to
monumental cacti as tall as 40-ft.
Arizona's state flower, the saguaro's
roots can store up to 2,000 gallons
of water. Other cactus species that
can be seen along our route include
the barrel cactus, the slender-branched
ocotillo, the tree-like
cholla and the sword-leafed yucca.
Picacho Pass (10 Min./35 Min.)
The Picacho Mountains are on our
left. 3,382-ft. Picacho Peak is on
the right. This area was the scene
of the only Union-Confederate
battle fought in Arizona.
Pima Air Park (32 Min./29 Min.)
In the distance on the right. Here, used
jetliners are refurbished for resale.
To the left are the Little Owl Head
Mountains. Ahead on the left are
the Tortolita Mountains.
* Tucson *
Founded in 1776 as a
Spanish supply station for nearby
Mission San Xavier del Bac. Today,
Tucson is a city of over 300,000,
the second-largest in Arizona. It is
built on the banks of the Santa Cruz
River, subterranean except in the
rainy season. Tucson is located in
a broad valley, surrounded by
mountains; the Santa Catalinas on
the north, the Rincons on the east,
Santa Ritas on the south and the
Tucsons on the west. As we leave
the station, the stadium of the
University of Arizona is on the left.
Davis Monthan Air Force Base (12 Min./1:10 Min.)
Along the eastern edge of the base is a vast
aircraft "boneyard" where the dry
desert climate helps preserve hundreds
of military planes, such as
B-52 bombers, in storage. Near the
tracks, the Pima Air Museum displays
historic aircraft, from World
War II bombers to Constellation
airliners. Between Tucson and
Benson, we traverse a series of
arroyos (canyons) as we wind
through the Santa Rita, Empire,
Rincon and Whetstone Mountains
along the Pantano Wash.
Vail (40 Min./45 Min.)
East and west-bound trains travel separate
tracks in this area, crossing at the
High Bridge. Just east of the bridge
is Durant Castle, a private home
modeled after a European castle.
Beyond the saddle in the Rincon
Mountains on the left are the
Colossal Caves. (1:05 Min./15 Min.)
To the left is a strangely eclectic
"town" -- actually a string of film sets
used for shows like Little House on
the Prarie and Highway to Heaven.
A stop for the old
Butterfield Stage as early as 1860.
When the railroad arrived in 1880,
it became the shipping point for the
mines around Tombstone, 25 miles
to the south, and the site of the
"Gunfight at OK Corral." The first
explorer of this region, in 1539,
was the black Moroccan, Esteban,
the first non-native to set foot in
what is now the United States.
Glimpsing the sun gleaming on the
straw roofs of distant Zuni pueblos,
Esteban mistakenly reported them
to Coronado as cities of gold, setting
off Coronado's lengthy search for
the "Seven Cities of Cibola," an
expedition responsible for the
introduction of the horse to the
Southwest. East of Benson, we
cross the San Pedro River.
Dragoon (21 Min./1:34 Min.)
The Dragoon Mountains, visible on the
right, were once the base for the
Apache chief Cochise, who led the
Chiricahua band against the U.S.
Cavalry in the Southwest Indian
Wars from 1861 to 1872, when
Arizona lands were finally granted
to the Apache tribe.
Wilcox Playa (42 Min./1:08 Min.)
East of Cochise, this ancient dry
lakebed is the site of frequent
mirages. In the Sulphur Hills on the
right is a distinctive rock formation
called Don Cabezeas (two heads)
(52 Min./58 Min.) named for
Cochise and his ally, Indian Agent,
Arizona/New Mexico State Line (1:30 Min./25 Min.)
Set your watch forward if you are traveling eastward
between April and October (back one hour if traveling
westward). We now pass through the Peloncillo Mountains,
an important region for mining copper, silver and gold.
Cochise's Face (1:25 Min./20 Min.)
Cochise Mountain, tallest peak of
the Chiricahua Mountains on the
right, resembles the Chief's silhouetee
Steins (1:30 Min./20 Min.)
Site of the last great battle between
Cochise and the U.S. Cavalry.
Adobe ruins of a Butterfield
Stagecoach Stop on the right.
The stage line ran 2,800 miles --
the one-way fare for the 55-day
journey between St. Louis and
San Francisco was a then --
Nestled between the
Burro Mountains and the Pyramid
Mountains to the south, Lordsburg
is an important trade center for
southwest New Mexico.
Continental Divide (25 Min./25 Min.)
Halfway between Lordsburg
and Deming, we cross the
Divide at an elevation of 4,587 ft. --
the lowest railroad crossing of the
Divide in the U.S. Waters east of the
Divide flow into the Atlantic, to its
west, into the Pacific.
is home to the world's
only duck races, held here each
August. At the crest of the Cookes
and Florida Mountain Ranges, is the
stop for the resort areas to the north
around Silver City. The Deming
Luna Mimbres museum holds
artifacts of the 1000 year old
Mimbres Indian civilization and
more recent relics of the Old West.
South of town is Rock Hound State
Park. famed for its rock formations.
Florida Mountains (5 Min/1:15 Min)
Extinct volcano (35 Min/37 Min)
Rio Grande Valley (60 Min/15 Min)
Franklin Mountains (1:05 Min/10 Min)
U.S./Mexico Border (1:10 Min/10 Min)
Rio Grande River (1:15 Min/11 Min)
Sierra de Cristo Ray
(1:16 Min/5 Min)
The Southwestern Portland Cement Company is now on our left, and on our
right is the Asarco mineral refinery.
University of Texas at El Paso (1:22 Min/3 Min)
* El Paso *
Ysleta (30 Min/2:55 Min)
Fabens (46 Min/2:44 Min)
Sierra Blanca (1:35 Min/1:55 Min)
Hot Wells (1:52 Min/1:38 Min)
Note: Time Zone Change (2:04 Min/1:26 Min)
Valentine (2:35 Min/55 Min) Mt. Livermore
(2:55 Min/35 Min) The old wooden windmill
Marfa (3:05 Min/25 Min)
Marfa Ghost Lights (3:10 Min/18 Min)
Paisano Pass (3:15 Min/15 Min)
Alpine and Marathon (30 Min/1:10 Min)
Warwick Flat (35 Min/1:05 Min)
The Great Comanche War Trail
Haymond (45 Min/60 Min)
(1:35 Min/5 Min)
An Apache Indian cave and cooking mound are visible on the left.
The large gravel barriers that can be seen periodically on both sides
of the tracks are for flood control. The area is the western limit of
viable sheep and goat ranching in Texas, due to the abundance west of
here of puma, bobcats, coyote and eagles.
Dryden (15 Min/2:09 Min)
Langtry (1:10 Min/1:14 Min)
Eagle Rock Canyon (1:12 Min/1:11 Min)
Pecos River High Bridge (1:32 Min/52 Min)
Amistad Reservoir (2:16 Min/12 Min)
Laughlin Air Force Base
* San Antonio *
Randolph Air Force Base (20 Min/3:50 Min)
COLUMBUS (2:20 Min/1:50 Min)
Rosenburg and Richmond (3:05 Min/1:05 Min)
* Houston *
San Jacinto River (35 Min/1:05 Min)
Trinity River (50 Min/50 Min)
Orange (40 Min/40 Min)
We cross the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana. Cypress
swamps dominate the scenery, and alligators can sometimes be seen out
Calcasieu River (1:15 Min/5 Min)
Rayne (59 Min/14 Min)
Atchafalaya River (51 Min/33 Min)
Morgan City (51 Min/30 Min)
The Intercoastal Waterway
Bayou Boeuf (1:04 Min/16 Min)
We cross the cypress-dominated Chacahoula Swamp before arriving in
SHRIEVER (Thibodaux/Houma), home of numerous off-shore drilling
Bayou LaFourche (8 Min/1:05 Min)
Des Allemands (24 Min/48 Min)
Mississippi River (35 Min/30 Min)
Huey P. Long Bridge (45 Min/23 Min)
The Superdome (1:35 Min/1 Min)
* New Orleans *
BAY ST. LOUIS
Pass Christian (10 Min/17 Min)
De Funlak Springs (15 Min/17 Min)
* Jacksonville *
St. John's River (15 Min/51 Min)
Green Cove Springs (38 Min/27 Min)
Seminole Power Plant (55 Min/10 Min)
Pierson (37 Min/16 Min)
DeLeon Springs (46 Min/7 Min)
St. John's River (9 Min/8 Min)
* Orlando *
James E. States Shows (4 Min/27 Min)
Campbell (9 Min/50 Min)
West Lake Wales (13 Min/35 Min)
Frostproof (25 Min/23 Min)
Lake Istokpoga (8 Min/34 Min)
Lake Okeechobee (8 Min/59 Min)
Florida Steel Corporation (32 Min/35 Min)
Indiantown (35 Min/32 Min)
United (44 Min/23 Min)
The Opa-Locka Flea Market (16 Min/15 Min)
Hialeah Race Track (21 Min/10 Min)
* Miami *