You're 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 Service Chief.
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 fun.
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 location.
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 of service.
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 and Texas.
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 left.
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 right.
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 XIV.
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 stop.
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 buckets.
Kickapoo Creek (30min./6min.) We cross this creek north of Lincoln.
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 attorney.
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 old.
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, pine-forest terrain.
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 Caddo River.
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 grains predominate.
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.
Texarkana, Ark/Tex 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.
DALLAS 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 and concerts.
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 leaner meat.
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 this area.
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 right.
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 in 1895.
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 here.
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 1968 HemisFair.
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 Polka Festival.
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.
For more information on Amtrak trips call 1-800-USA-RAIL