August 1994 Texas Eagle Route Guide
Springfield * St.Louis
Little Rock * Texarkana
Fort Worth *
traveling on board Amtrak's Superliner train - the Texas Eagle.
On this route, you'll be traveling between Chicago, the home of
the 110-story Sears Tower - the world's tallest skyscrapper; Houston,
America's "Mission Control" city; and San Antonio, the
home of the Alamo - by way of St.Louis, "The Gateway to the
West", and the sunbelt states of Arkansas and Texas.
While on board, you'll be experiencing the utmost in train travel,
along with some of the country's most remarkable and historical
sights: Lincoln, the only city named for the President before
he was elected; Springfield, the state capital and the town Lincoln
loved; St. Louis, gateway tot he West; Dallas, deep in the heart
of Texas; state capitals and ghost towns; riverboats and rifineries;
longhorn cattle and farm crops.
At San Antonio, the Texas Eagle links with the Sunset Limited
en route to Phoenix and Los Angeles. The Sunset Limited also serves
Houston en route to New Orleans.
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
CREW THAT MAKES THE MAGIC HAPPEN!
The Texas Eagle 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
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 during the trip. Small
prizes will be awarded. Listen for announcements for time and
ACCOMMODATIONS THAT PAMPER AND PLEASE!
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 oversees the quality
Roomy Coach Seats. Your Coach Attendent 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 Attendent will prepare your room for daytime or nighttime
use, provide wake-up calls and bring you recorded music on Channels
2 or 3, and train announcements on Channels 1or 2. Simply turn
the channel selector near the reading light. First Class passengers
receive complimentary meals in the Dining Car.
Economy, Family, Special and Deluxe bedrooms are available. Special
bedrooms have private bathroom and Deluxe have private baths with
shower. Sleeping accommodations may be purchased on board from the
Conductor if space is available.
Dining Car Service. The Dining Car features complete meals
in a comfortable setting. Major credit cards are accepted. Consult
your sample menu for selections and prices. Sorry, there is no
smoking in the Dining Car. A crew member will contact you if dinner
reservations are necessary. Between Dallas and Houston only Lounge
Car cafe service is available.
Lounge Car. Enjoy the 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 only in designated
areas of the Lounge Car.
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
you shutter speed is adjustable and light conditions permit, set
it higher speed (1/125 or 1/250 sec.) for the clearest results.
Hold your lens close tot the window to eliminate glare and reflections.
Inside Shots: Flash is recommended. To aviod glare and
reflections, do not point the flash directly at the windows.
W elcome aboard the Texas Eagle, Amtrak's 1,308-mile Superliner
journey between Chicago and San Antonio that takes us through
the fertile farmlands of Abe Lincoln's Illionis, across the mighty
Mississippi at St.Louis and through the Missouri Ozarks to Arkansas
This guide is written from north to south, noting how many minutes
past the previous Amtrak station you can expect to see a particular
sight, and whether you should look right or left. The first time
reference tells you how far that point is from the next Amtrak
station to the north, and the second time, how far it is to the
next Amtrak to the south. If you're traveling northward, just
began at San Antonio, Houston or your point of origin and read
the entires in reverse order. Remember to look left when we've
indicated to look right, and right when we've indicated to look
Note that all Amtrak Stations are indicated in capital
letters to set them apart from towns and regions through
which the Texas Eagle travels but makes stop. Use this guide along
with an Amtrak timetable to determine station times. All times
in this guide are approximate.
Chicago "Here is a tall bold slugger set vivid
against the soft little cities," Carl Sandburg wrote of Chicago.
And to this day, Chicago stands tall among American cities, especially
in the importance of its modern architecture. Rebuilding from
the devastating Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Chicago was the birthplace
for the steel-frame skyscrapper, and now claims the world's tallest-the
110-story, 1,454-ft. Sears Tower - just two blocks from the Union
Station. We'll travel between Chicago and St.Louis via the tracks
of the Illnoios Central and Southern Pacific Lines. As we leave
the station and cross the Chicago River , look back for
views of the Chicago's skyline. The Chicago River was largely
responsible for Chicago's early settlement, following the discovery
by French explorers Louis Jolliet and Pere Jacques Marquette in
1673 that the river's arms reached nearly to the drainage basin
of the Mississippi River System, forming a natural route for early
trappers and traders.
Bridgeport (15min./25min.) This heavily industrialized
section of Chicago was settled by Irish immigrants
who built the Illinois and Michigan (I&M) Canal between 1836
and 1848. Bridgeport was the lifelong home of the Chicago's late
mayor, Richard J.Daley. We briefly parallel the Stevenson Expressway
on your right.
Willow Springs (31min./17min.) In abrupt contrast to the
city, numerous deer can often be spotted in the heavily-wooded
forest preserve to our left.
Lambert (33min./15min.) We cross the Calumet Sag Channel,
which connects Lake Michigan with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship
Canal. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal are engineering marvel
that links the Great Lakes with the Mississippi, and reverses
the direction of the Chicago River making it flow out of, ratherthan
into, Lake Michigan. Our route from here to Joliet is through
the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Corridor - a 120
mile long urban cultural park.
Lockport (40min./6min.) Note the restored buildings on
our right as we parallel the old towpath-lined I&M Canal.
The Joliet Correctional Center (42min./4min.) is on our
Joliet Named for French explorer Louis Joliet. The large
castle-like native stone building to the leftof the station is
a high school. South of Joliet, we take the Southern Pacific Lines,
passing the Des Plaines River which is to our right, paralleled
by the I&M Canal. We pass between the Des Plaines Conservation
Area on the right and a large U.S. Army arsenal on our left.
Kankakee River (16min./37min.) This tributary of the Illinois
River was followed by French explorer La Salle in his 1862 voyage
claiming the Mississippi watershed in the name of his king, Louis
Braidwood (21min./37min.) Just north of town, we pass
a golf course on our left that was created from a reclaimed strip
mine. The towers of Consolidated Edison's Braidwood Nuclear Power
Plant are also visible.
Dwight (33min./20min.) The small white Pioneer Gothic
Church here was attended by Edward, Prince of Wales, while visiting
nearby Blackstone in 1860 to hunt grouse (prairie chickens).
Just beyond the station is a clock-topped, one-story brick bank,
one by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the only one still standing. We
then cross the Vermillion River as we approach our next
PONTIAC This town was named for the Indian chief who was
once very powerful in this region.
Normal (25min./5min.) Named for the teacher's college,
Illinois Normal School, which has become Illinois State University.
The 20,000-student campus is on our right.
BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL Lincoln's "Last Speech" was
delivered here, and the Lincoln family figured prominently in
the success of Bloomington resident George M.Pullman. Pullman's
"Pioneer", the most luxurious sleeping car then devised,
was too wide to operate on most railroads. When President Lincoln
was assassinated, Pullman offered the free use of this car to
Mrs. Lincoln for the presidential funeral train. She accepted,
and the railroads made the alterations necessary for its use.
The way was paved for Pullman's name to become synonymous with
railroad sleeping cars.
Funks Grove (10min./26min.) Illinois' only stand of virgin
timber was donated to the state by the Eugene Funk (Funk Seeds)
family. In late winter, the maple are studded with sap-collecting
Kickapoo Creek (30min./6min.) We cross this creek north
Lincoln The only city named for Lincoln before his election
as President. A statue of a watermelon sice to the train's left
at the south end of the Loncoln depot, commemorates Abraham Lincoln's
christening of the town at this spot, using the juice of a watermelon
taken from a nearby cart. As a youth, Lincoln lived 30 miles west
of here at New Salem. it was there that he unsuccessfully courted
Ann Rutledge. The Amtrak train of that anme stops here daily.
Rail Splitter State Park (92min./30min.) on our left,
marks a route followed by Lincoln during his days as a circuit-riding
Sangamon River (21min./9min.) We cross the river as we
approach Springfield. The Illinois State Fairground (28min./1min.)
is seen on our right.
SPRINGFIELD Near the geographical center of Illinois,
Springfield became the state capital in 1837 as the result of
a campaign led by Abraham Lincoln who had recently becaome a resident.
"To this place, abd the kindness of these people, I owe everything",
he remarked as he left for Washington for the last time. Springfield's
reminders of Lincoln are everywhere: the only house he ever owned;
the parlor where he was married; the office where he practiced
law; and the tomb on the northern edge of town where he, his wife
and three of thier childern are buried. Just south of Amtrak station
is an excellent view of the State Capitol, to the right. Leaving
Springfield, we cross the west end of Lake Springfield (12min./34min.).
CARLINVILLE The Macoupin County Courthouse is on the left.
When Standard Oil operated a coal mine here, miners commuted from
Springfield on shuttle trains, or lived in company-owned Sears
& Roebuck mail0order houses here. When the mines closed, the
houses were offered for sale at $500 each, with no takers.
Macoupin Creek (7min./25min.) We cross the creek at Beaver
Dam State Park.
ALTON Once a thriving river port, Alton was the scene
of the seventh and last of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in 1858.
Twenty years earlier, antislavery newspaper editor Elijah Lovejoy
was lynched here by a pro-salvery mob.
Wood River (1min./38min.) The Lewis & Clark Expedition
camped nearby for a year before begining thier expedition west.
To the distant right (but not visible) is Lewis & Clark State
Park, marking the point where the Missouri River joins the Mississippi.
Cahokia Diversion Canal (10min./30min.) The high levees
on each sid are necessary because the waters of the canal rise
to the same level as the Mississippi during floods. As we cross
under I-270, remains of the old Mississippi levee are visible
here. The modern levee is immediately adjacent tot he river.
Granite City (15min./27min.) Once a thriving steel town,
with approximately a dozen mills, today only Granite City Steel
remains. Here we leave the Southern Pacific tracks and switch
to the tracks of the Terminal Railroad Association of St.Louis.
The TRRA was formed by several railroads in the last century to
counter railroad "robber baron" Jay Gould who controlled
the Wabash Railroad in Illinois, the Missouri Pacific Railroad
in Missouri, and owned Eads Bridge, then the only river crossing
at St.Louis. To aviodd paying his high tolls, the combined railroads
bought the bridge from Gould.
Merchants Railroad Bridge (20min./17min.) Crossing the
Mississippi River, we have an excellent viwe of St.Louis
skyline on our left, and of the barge traffic on the river as
we leave Illinois and enter Missouri.
Eads Bridge (29min./8min.) We pass under the bridge, oldest
in St.Louis (completed in 1847). The bridge was designed by James
B.Eads, a self-taught engineer. Eads had never designed a bridge
before, but he refused to accept the belief that the Mississippi
was too wide and swift to be bridge's steel spans were the longest
that had ever been built at that time.
The Gateway Arch (36min./2min.) Tallest monument in the
nation at 630 ft., the Arch is just south of the Eads Bridge,
immediatley to our right. The train tunnel takes us under the
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park, which honors Thomas
Jefferson and marks St.Louis' role in the westward expansion movement.
Numerous riverboats on the left are permanently moored here to
offer refreshments and entertainment. At the base of the Arch,
the Old Cathedral is St.Louis' eartliest church, over 150 years
Busch Memorial Stadium (40min./2min.) On our right is
the home of the St.Louis Cardinals baseball team.
ST. LOUIS Founded in 1764 on a site chosen for a fur
trading post by Pierre Lacl'ede Liguest, St. Louis was named for
the cannonized crusader Louis IX. Transfer of the Louisiana Territory
to the U.S. was made here in 1804, the same year Lewis and Clark
launched their famous trek westward. By 1817, the first steamboat
arrived, and with it a nearly endless steam of pioneers heading
for the Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails. St. Louis' Forest
Park was the site of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition, which
introduced the world to ice cream cones and hot dogs. Across from
the Amtrak station, an old warehouse on the right has been transformed
into a whimsical Beaux Arts facade through the technique of trompe
I'oeli (fool the eye) painting evidence of the civic spirit that
is revitalizing downtown St. Louis. As we leave the station, the
old Union Station is on our right. The station has been gloriously
restored as an elegant hotel and urban shopping mall. From here
to Fort Worth, we travel over the former Missouri Pacific portion
of the Union Pacific Railroad.
(6min./3:40min.) The Anheuser Busch sign to our right,
boasting flapping eagle's wings and thousands of lights is a reminder
that St. Louis is home of the country's largest brewery and of
the Budweiser Clydesdales.
Mississippi River (33min./3:20min.) The shipyard of St.
Louis Ship is on our left. Barges and towboats are built here
for use on the Mississippi, which will be visible on the left
for most of the next twenty miles.
Jefferson Barracks (38min./2:50min.) We pass a Catholic
school and cemetery on our right as we approach. A historic military
post the dates back to the early 18th century, Jefferson Barracks
was once prison for Sac Indian chief Blackhawk. A national cemetery,
veterans hospital and two museums are located here. Jefferson
Barracks Bridge carries I-255 across the Mississippi. Deer and
wild turkey are plentiful in this area.
Pevely (60min./2:30min.) We leave the Mississippi. Plentiful
dirftwood among the trees to our left remains from numerous floods.
Big River (1:45min./1:45min.) We cross Big River just
north of Ironton . In early days, this region (with town
names like Hematite, Iron Mountain and Irondale) was an important
producer of iron ore. Today, the area claims to be the largest
lead mining district in the world.
Mark Twain National Forest (2:00min./1:30min.) The 1.5
million-acre Mark Twain National Forest is popular with those
who enjoy observing, studying and photographing wildlife and wild
flowers. It is also popular with those who like the sporting life,
hunters, trappers and fishermen; the forest has about 175 species
of birds, 50 species of amphibians and reptiles. Big game in the
forest include white tail deer and turkey, smaller fowl are quail,
woodcock, doves, ducks and gesse, and small animals include rabbit,
raccoon, squirrel, opossum, woodchuck, bobcat and coyote.
During the night, the train stops at Poplar Bluff in southern
Missouri, and at Walnut Ridge and Newport in Arkansas.
Arkansas River (1:20min./1min.) As we cross the river,
the State Capitol dome and Little Rock skyline are visible on
our left. The bluffs along the river signal our entry into hillier,
LITTLE ROCK Called "La Petite Roche"
by early French explorers, Little Rock became the territorial
capital in 1821. Sometimes called the "City of Roses",
Little Rock has survived the notoriety it achieved in the early
days of school desegregation to become known as a city of warm
hospitality. Just west of the station, the State Capitol building
is again seen on the left. Little Rock is the Amtrak station for
Hot Springs National Park, one of the first sites in the U.S.
set aside for conservation (1832).
MALVERN Originally called Rockport and located on the
Ouachita River, the town moved lock, stock and barrel to trackside
and changed its name to Malvern Station when it became clear that
railroads were replacing riverboats. The barren area of tree
stumps (9min./10min.) on our right is the result of a devastating
tornado several years ago. Just north of Arkadelphia, we cross
the Ouachita River , just below its confluence with the
ARKADELPHIA, once an important steamboat landing, it is
the home of Ouachita Baptist College and Henderson Teachers College.
Four miles west of here are the archeologically significant Caddo
Indian mounds. We cross the Little Missouri River (20min./60min.).
Prescott (30min./50min.) Eight to ten miles west is the
Indians Trail of Tears, followed by Indians of the East and South
when they were forced to relocate to Oklahoma reservations.
Hope (42min./36min.) "Watermelon Capital of the World",
with record-setting melons up to 265 lbs. Hope used to manufacture
bricks. Old kilns are visible on the right. This is good deer
hunting country. Cattle, chickens and eggs are also important
to the local agriculture. The area between here and the Red River
is noted for its boisdarc tree's extremely hard wood was once
sought to make horse-drawn farming implements.
Red River Valley (55min./23min.) As we cross the Red River,
note the gas pipeline on its own suspension bridge to our left.
The red earth visible on the river's banks gave it its name. The
valley was once important for cotton, but now soybeans and feed
Homan (1:05min./13min) We begin to see pecan groves, evidence
we are now definitely in the south. Just east of Texarkana, the
razorback hog on the city water tower honors the high school's
football team. From here south, virtually every town's water tower
gives testimony to its team loyalty.
When we stop, if you are in front of the train, you're in Texas.
If you're in the back, you're still in Arkansas. The state line
bisects the center of the platform. "Twice As Nice"
declares the city that has two of nearly everything: two mayors,
two police departments, ect.-but a single Federal Post Office
stradding the state line.
Sulphur River (25min./1:14min.) After we cross the river,
the International Paper Company is on our left. The rservoir that
supplies the mill is on both sides of us.
Jefferson (1:15min./21min.) Its early prominence as a
port and industrial center earned Jefferson the name "Mother
of Texas". This town aroused Jay Gould's ire because of its
greater interest in river boats then in the railroad he wanted
to build here, prompting him to predict "grass will grow
in your streets". The cemetery on your right is one of the
oldest in Texas.
Marshall became one of the largest and wealthiest cities
in the state when Texas seceded from the Union in 1861. Riding
tack and ammunition were produced for the Confederate army. After
the fall of Vicksburg, Marshall became the Western Capitol of
the Confederacy and it also served as the wartime capital for
Missouri's exiled governor. Each October, Marshall is the site
of the East Texas Fire Ant Festival.
Longview where 4 1/2 million barrels of Schlitz and Stroh's
beer and brewed each year, was the site, in 1931, of one of the
world's great oil field discoveries.
"Pumps" Refinery (19min./2:27min.) Oil fields
now line both sides of the tracks. The Getty "Pumps"
Refinery on the left is one of the few still in operation in this
area. For the next 50 miles, we follow the Sabine River, whose
valley is noted for its beef and cattle and quarter horses.
Grand Saline (1:20min./1:20min.) Takes its name from the
700-ft. deep salt mine on our left.
Mesquite pronounced "mess-keet", gets its name
from the scrub trees whose wood is so popular for barbeces. The
huge smiling elephant on the left marks the Blue Bell Ice Cream
Plant. Just beyond the underpass, the large roofed building on
the left is the Mesquite Rodeo, famous as a training ground for
perfessional riders. As the Dallas skyline comes into view, the
Texas State Fairgrounds are marked by the ferris wheel visible
in the middle distance on the right.
Founded as a trading post in 1841, culture took an early hold
in Dallas with the 1855 founding of a cooperative, utopian colony
of Beigian, French and Swiss artists, musicians, writers ans scientists.
The railroads made Dallas an important transportation hub, and
an oil boom in the 30s brought wealth that is still much and evidence.
The view of the skyline from the train is excellent with the InterFirst
Building, at 71 stories, the tallest. Mobil's Pegasus (flying
red horse) tops the modest building that was Dallas' highest in
1948. The black, chiselshaped glass tower is corporate headquarters
of Ling-TempcoVought, builder of aircraft and missiles. To the
left of the station, the 540-ft. tower of the Hyatt Regency is
familiar to us from TV's Dallas. The building's mirrored surface
reflects a fasinating abstraction of the train and skyline. Next
to the Hyatt Regency is Reunion Arena, home of sporting events
If you are traveling to Houston, your section of the train is
detached in Dallas. See the Houston section of this guide.
Deeley Plaza (1min./55min.) Just west of the Dallas station,
Deeley Plaza and the red brick Texas School Book Depository are
directly below on our right. It was from one of the depository's
arched windows that Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot President
John F.Kennedy in 1963.
Trinity River (3min./52min) In the far distance on the
right, the white, tent-like structure is Texas Stadium, home of
the Dallas Cowboys.
Grand Prairie (15min./40min.) The Dallas Naval Air Station
and the Ling-Tempco-Vought aerospace plant are on the left.
Airlington (24min./33min.) The vast Six Flags Over Texas
amusement complex is on the right.
Masonic Home (29min./30min.) The Home for Aged Masons,
a hilltop mission-style brick building, boasts its own orchards,
gradens and livestock.
Handley (44min./20min.) To the left is manmade Lake Arlington
municipal water supply and hydroelectricity source. Lee Harvey
Oswald is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, to our right.
FORT WORTH No longer the brawling "Cow
Town" it once was, Fort Worth is still considered "the
most Texan of Texas Cities." In the early 1870s, not content
to watch longhorns thunder through on cattle drives to Kansas
railheads, Fort Worth decided to become a railhead. In 1873, after
the railroad backers went bankrupt, a detemined group of citizens
formd the Tarrant County Construction Company to finish the 26-mile
track that would link Fort Worth with the Texas & Pacific
Railroad. In 1876, the Texas & Pacific state land grant was
to expire. The railroad had to reach Fort Worth before the legislatuure
adjoumed or it was doomed. The residents of Fort Worth banded
together and worked around-the-clock. Just as time was running
out, the City Council reportedly moved the city limits a few miles
east to meet the tracks. On July 19, 1876, the residents celebrated
as the first train pulled into town establishing Fort Worth as
a shipping point. Here, our train stops at the Beaux Arts design
Santa Fe Station. We leave the Union Pacific's tracks for those
of the Santa Fe Railway.
CLEBURNE Founded in 1854 as Camp Henderson, the name of
this agricultural center was changed in 1867 to honor Confederate
General Pat Cleburne. The farming of crops and ranching of livestock
rub shoulders in this area. Watch for Texas longhorn cattle, making
a comeback in popularity with America's preference shifting to
Cow Pasture Bank (8min./60min.) This bank in Rio Vista
boasts an air strip in the back for fly-in banking. Look for it
on the right-in the cow pasture.
Balcones Fault (14min./45min.) Approaching the Brazos
River, the abrupt change in topography from flat to hilly marks
the Balcones Fault, or Escarpment, a prominent geological feature
where the flat prairie is abruptly pierced by limestone hills.
Our route roughly parallels the fault all the way from here to
San Antonio. At Blum , we cross the Nolan River
, named for explorer Phillip Noland.
Brazos River (16min./40min.) We cross just as the river
widens to form Lake Whitney, on our left. A mile west is Kimball
Bend, where the Chisholm trail crossed the Brazos. Wagon tracks
can still be found there, etched in the limestone. Wooden hunting
blinds, raised on stilts, are testimony to fine deer hunting in
Meridian (30min./30min.) Watch for herds of Angor goats,
valued for thier mohair.
Bosque River (35min./25min.) As we parallel the river pronounced
"boskay", its course is obvious, even when the river
itself isn't visible, because of the thick growth of bush and
trees along its banks.
Clifton (40min./20min.) Unlike other parts of the Texas
Hill Country which were settled mostly by Germans, Clifton is
strongly Norwegian and Swedish in heritage. The Cliff Stone Quarry,
on our right, is one of numerouse quarries tapping the limestone
of the Balcones Fault.
Between Valley Mills and Manhattan (50min./10min.) watch
for a small herd of buffalo on the ranch to the left.
Middle Bosque River (55min./5min.) We cross the river
a mile before entering Crawford.
McGregor An agricultural community founded in September,
1882 at the junction of the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe and
the St. Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt) Railroads. Major industry
includes a Hercules, Inc. solid rocket propellant plant and the
Texas A&M Research Center. An Amtrak stop for Waco, 17 miles
to the east, and the location of Baylor University and the Ft.
Fisher Ranger Museum.
Moody (10min./23min.) Stately Victorian homes contrast
sharply with a 2,200-ft. TV antenna.
TEMPLE Named for a Santa Fe surveyor, Temple is a town
the railroads built. We leave the Santa Fe here to rejoin the
Union Pacific Railroad.
Little River (20min./23min.) We cross the river just past
the town of the same name.
San Gabriel River (42min./12min.) Pecan orchards, on our
right, line both banks of the river.
TAYLOR Flat, rich black cropland signals we're once again
on the prairie.
Round Rock (20min./20min.) In the past 20 years, this
has become a prosperous "bedroom community" for Austin.
The bank robber Sam Bass was killed here, and many local establishments
bear his name.
North of Austin, our tracks are briefly bracketed by the MoPac
Expressway (30min./1min.) named for the Missouri Pacific Railroad,
which provided the right way.
Camp Mabry (36min./8min.) This U.S. Army camp is on our
AUSTIN Before it was a state captial,
Austin (then named Waterloo) was the national capital of the Republic
of Texas. Texas University at Austin, in the state's largest with
nearly 50,000 students, is here. Built on hills overlooking the
Colorado River Valley, Austin is a handsome, cultured city, illuminated
at night with mercury vapor lights on 165-ft. towers installed
Colorado River (2min./35min.) As we near the bridge, the
omate dome of the pink granite Texas State Capitol building is
on our left, among Austin's skyscrapers.
Aquarina Springs (38min./2min.) A giant mermaid at the
enterance to aquarina Springs on our right welcomes us to San
Marcos. Fed by crystal clear waters of the Edwards Aquifer, the
springs are the source of the sparkling San Marcos River. They're
also a popular tourist attraction featuring glass bottom boats,
an underwater theater and "Ralph the Swimming Pig".
We cross the river as we approach the station.
SAN MARCOS is the home of Southwest Texas State University,
alma mater of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The Republic of
Texas Chilympaid (chili cooking contest) is held here each year.
The tower on our right (2min./1:30min.) was built to train
parachute jumpers in World War II. It marks the location of another
popular attraction, Wonder Caves.
New Braunfels (25min./1:07min.) The water tower on our
right boasts of the town's German heritage "In New Braunfels...1st
Das Leben Schoen!" (In New Braunfels, life is beautiful!)
The town was founded in 1845 by Prince Carl von SolmsBraunfels,
Commissioner-General for the Society for the Protection of German
Immigrants in Texas. We cross the clear blue Guadaloupe River
San Antonio International Airport (55min./37min.) On our
right. We then cross the middle of Almos Park Golf Course
. Trinity University is visible on our distant left. As we circle
to the south of San Antonio, the tallest building on the skyline
is the InterFirst Building. Still standing tall is the green-roofed
Tower Life Building. San Antonio's oldest skyscraper. Beyond,
the 750-ft. Tower of the Americas was built for San Antonio's
SAN ANTONIO Ringed by Spanish missions, San Antonio's
Alamo was the site of a bloody battle that became the rallying
cry in Texas' war for independence from Mexico. Spanish colonial
architectural touches grace much of San Antonio, especially along
the beautiful Paseo del Rio (River Walk) that follows the winding
river through the heart of downtown.
San Antonio's newest attraction, Fiesta Texas, is a unique, bigger
than life musical celebration that will enchant quests of all
ages. Fiesta Texas features world class musical productions that
celebrate the different heritages of Texas. Shows, rides, restaurants
and shops are successfully choreographed into four themed areas-Hispanic,
German, 1920's Southwest, and 1950's Rock & Roll.
Amtrak's Texas Eagle ends its journey here, while trough-cars
from the Texas Eagle cennect with Amtrak's Sunset Limited as it
heads west to El Paso, Phoenix and Los Angeles. West of San Antonio,
ask your car attendent for a Sunset Limited Route Guide.
DALLAS The Houston section of the
Texas Eagle separates from the rest of the train here and proceeds
to Houston via the Southern Pacific Lines.
Ennis (80min./20min.) The influence of Czech settlers
in this area is evident today. Each May, Ennis hosts the National
CORSICANA When the city drilled for new water supplies
in 1884, they were disappointed. But that was short-lived, for
the oil they discovered instead made Corsicana the home of Texas'
oil industry. That well was followed in 1897 by the first oil
refinery in Texas. Both Texaco and Mobil Oil companies can trace
thier roots here. This is also an agricultural center for cotton
and beef cattle, Corsicana has more than its share of nuts-the
Navarro Pecan Co. shells 35 million pounds a year.
Bluebonnet Country The gentle Texas countryside along this route
is world famous for its wildflowers, including vast fields of
Bluebonnets-state flower of Texas. The region glows in the spring
when the wildflowers bloom to a riot of colors carpeting the hillsides-and
trackside! We continue through farming and ranching areas. Town
names like Angus, Mexia and Groesbeck reveal the multi-cultural
origins of the earliest settlers.
COLLEGE STATION-BRYAN Czechs and Italians settled onto
farms here in the Brazos River Valley in the 19th-century. First
the train passes through the city of Bryan. Then we stop in nearby
College Station, famous as the home of Texas A&M University.
The Agricultural & Mechanical College was established as a
Land Grant college in 1871. Today over 35,000 students, known
as "Aggies" are enrolled. The train travels through
the heart of "Aggieland" with campus buildings along
the tracks on both sides. You'll see the 138-foot Albritton Tower
and Carillion to the left with the domed Academic Center beyond.
Just before the station, Olsen Field for varsity baseball games
to the right and massive Kyle Field, the 70,000-seat football
stadium, is to the left. Since they started playing in 1892, Aggie
football games have become one of the great Texas traditions.
The annual Thanksgiving Day Texas A&M vs. University of Texas
football game has even been immortalized in a Broadway musical.
Navasota (30min./1:30min.) Not too far away, in what is
now Washington-on-the Brazos State Historical Park, the Texas
Declaration of Independence (from Mexico) was signed in 1836.
The Republic of Texas was independent until 1845 when Texas joined
the Union as the 28th state.
HOUSTON Founded the same year as the
Republic od Texas, Houston was named for the Republic's first
elected president, Sam Houston. Steamboats sailing up Buffalo
Bayou gave way to ocean going freighters on the Houston Ship Channel,
making Houston a major seaport and Texas' largest city. Today,
Houston looks to space travel as home of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson
Space Center. The first word spoken by man from the Moon was "Houston".
Houston is also served by Amtrak's Sunset Limited, our Superliner
train between New Orleans, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
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