Texas Eagle (21_9001)
heartland journey from Grain Belt
* CHICAGO *
Welcome aboard the
Texas Eagle, Amtrak's 1,308-mile Superliner journey between Chicago
and San Antonio. As we leave the bustle of Chicago behind us,
The Texas Eagle will pass through the fertile farmlands of Abe
Lincoln's Illinois. Then we'll cross the mighty Mississippi at
St. Louis and continue south through the Missouri Ozarks to Arkansas
and Texas. At Marshall, Texas, we swing due west across pine-frosted,
lake-dotted east Texas. At Fort Worth, our journey turns south
again, through the Texas Hill Country to San Antonio. Another
section continues from Dallas to Houston.
This guide was designed to point out many of the scenic features
you will encounter along the way, and to give you glimpse of the
history behind what you will see.
The 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 to your right or left. If you're
traveling northward, just begin at San Antonio, or your point
of origin, and read the entries in reverse order. The first time
reference tells you how far that point is from the next Amtrak
station to the north, and the second time is how far it is from
the next Amtrak stop to the south. However, when you're traveling
north, 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 Texas Eagle
travels but makes no stop. Use this guide along with an Amtrak
timetable to determine station times. All times in this guide
Whichever direction you're traveling,we hope this guide will
enrich your enjoyment of the trip-with bits of history and lore
to make the varied scenes you'll pass even more memorable souvenirs
of your journey.
* TEXARKANA *
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
of the steel-frame skyscraper, and now claims the world's tallest-the
110-story, 1,454 ft. Sears Tower-just two blocks from Union Station.
We'll travel between Chicago and St. Louis via tracks of the
Southern Pacific Lines. As we leave the station and cross the
Chicago River, look back for views of Chicagos 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 (15 MIN./25 MIN.) 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 long life home of the Chicago's late major, Richard J.
We briefly parallel the Stevenson Expressway on your right.
(31 MIN./17 MIN.)
In abrupt contrast to the city, numerous deer can often be spotted
in the heavily-wooded forest preserve to our left.
LAMBERT (33 MIN./15 MIN.) We cross the Calumet Sag
Channel, which connects Lake Michigan with the Chicago Sanitary
and Ship Canal. This engineering marvel links the Great Lakes
with the Mississippi, and reverse the direction of the Chicago
river making it flow out of, rather than 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 (40 MIN./15 MIN.) Note the restored buildings
on our right as we parallel the old towpath-lined I&M Canal.
CENTER (42 MIN./4 MIN.) On our right.
JOLIET Named for French explorer Louis Jolliet. The
large castle-like native stone building to the left of the station
is a high school. South of Joliet, the Des Plaines River is to
our right, paralleled by the I&M Canal.
We pass between the Des Plaines Conservation Area on our right
and a large U.S. Army arsenal on our left.
PONTIAC This town was named for the
Indian chief who was once very powerful region in this region.
NORMAL (25 MIN./5 MIN.) Named for the teacher's college,
Illinois Normal School, which has become Illinois State University.
The 20,000-student campus is on our right.
(10 MIN./26 MIN.)
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.
(30 MIN./ 6 MIN.)
We cross north of Lincoln.
LINCOLN The only city named for Lincoln
before his election as President. A statue of a watermelon slice
to the train's left at the south end of the Lincoln depot, commemorates
Abraham Lincoln's christening of the town at this spot, using
the juice of 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 stops here daily.
(21 MIN./9 MIN.)
We cross as we approach Springfield.
* SPRINGFIELD *
the geographical center of Illinois, Springfield became that state
capital in 1837 as the result of a campaign led by Abraham Lincoln,
who had recently became a resident. "To this place, and 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 there children are buried. Just south of Amtrak station is
an excellent view of the State Capitol, to the right,
(7 MIN./25 MIN.)
We cross 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, news paper
editor Elijah Lovejoy was lynched here by a proslavery mob.
(1 MIN./38 MIN.)
The Lewis & Clark Expedition camped nearby for a year before
beginning their expedition west. To the distant right (but not
visible) is Lewis & Clark State Park, marking the point where
the Missouri River joins the Mississippi.
BRIDGE (20 MIN./17
MIN.) Crossing Mississippi River, we have an excellent view of
the St. Louis skyline on our left, and of the barge traffic on
the river as we leave Illinois and enter Missouri.
(29 MIN./8 MIN.)
We pass under the bridge, oldest in St. Louis (completed in 1874).
The bridge was designed by James B. Eads, a self-taught engineer.
Eads have never designed a bridge before, but he refused to accept
the belief that the Mississippi was too wide and swift to be bridged
at St. Louis. The bridge's steel spans were the longest that had
ever been built at that time.
STADIUM (40 MIN./2
MIN.) On our left is the home of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball
and football teams.
* ST.LOUIS *
in 1764 on a site chosen for a fur trading post by Pierre Laclede
Liguest, St. Louis was name for the canonized crusader Louis IX.
Transfer of the Louisiana Territory to the U.S. was made here
in 1804, the same year Lewis & Clark launched their famous
trek westward. By 1817, the first steam boat 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
l'oeil (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.
RIVER (33 MIN./200
MIN.) 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.
PEVELY (60 MIN./150 MIN.) We leave
the Mississippi. Plentiful driftwood among the trees to our left
remains from numerous floods.
(80 MIN./1 MIN.)
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-forested terrain.
* LITTLE ROCK *
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.
ARKADELPHIA , once an important steamboat landing, is
the home of Ouachita Baptist College. Four miles west of here
are the archaeologically significant Caddo Indian mounds.
PRESCOTT (30 MIN./50 MIN.) Eight to
ten miles west is the Indian Trail of Tears, followed by Indians
of the East and South when forced to relocate to Oklahoma reservations.
HOMAN (65 MIN./13 MIN.) 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 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, etc.-but a single Federal Post Office straddling
the state line.
(25 MIN./74 MIN.)
After we cross, the International Paper Company is on our left.
The reservoir that supplies the mill is on both sides of us.
LONGVIEW, where 4 1/2 million barrels
of Schlitz and Stroh's beer are brewed each year, was the site,
in 1931, of one of the world's great oil field discoveries.
BIG SANDY (42 MIN./120 MIN.) Ambassador
College, founded by radio preachers Herbert and Garner Ted Armstrong,
is on our right. White fenced truck-framing fields surrounding
the college make it nearly selfstufficient.
(80 MIN./80 MIN.)
Takes its name from the 700-ft. deep salt mine on our left.
* DALLAS *
as a trading post in 1841, culture took an early hold in Dallas
with the 1855 founding of a cooperative, utopain colony of Belgain,
French and Swiss artists, musicians, writers and scientists. The
railroads made Dallas an important transportation hub, and an
oil boom in the 30's brought wealth that is still much in 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, chisel-shaped glass tower is corporate headquarters
of Ling-Tempco-Vought, builder of air craft 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 buildings mirrored
surface reflects a fascinating 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 Dallas-Houston section
of this guide.
(15 MIN./40 MIN.)
The Dallas Naval Air Station and the Ling-Tempco-Vought aerospace
plant are on the left.
ARLINGTON (24 MIN./33 MIN.) The vast
Six Flags Over Texas amusement complex is on the right.
HANDLEY (44 MIN./20 MIN.) To the left
is manmade Lake Arlington, municipal water supply and hydroelectricity
source. Lee Harvey Oswald is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, to
* FORT WORTH *
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 drivers to Kansas railheads, Fort Worth decided to become
a railhead. In 1873, after the railroad backers went bankrupt,a
determined group of citizens formed the Tarrant County Construction
Co. to finish the 26-mile track that would link Fort Worth with
that Texas & Pacific Railroad. In 1876, the Texas & Pacific
state land grant was to expire. The railroad had to reach Fort
Worth before the legislature adjourned 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.
MERIDIAN (30 MIN./30 MIN.) Watch for
herds of Angora goats, valued for their mohair.
MOODY (10 MIN./23 MIN.) Stately
Victorian homes contrast sharply with its 2,200-ft. TV antenna.
(20 MIN./35 MIN.)
Cross just past the town of the same name.
TAYLOR Flat, rich corpland signals
we're once again on the prairie.
(36 MIN./8 MIN.)
This U.S. Army camp is on our right.
* AUSTIN *
it was a state capital, Austin (than named Waterloo) was the national
capital of the Republic of Texas. Texas University at Austin,
the state's largest with nearly 50,000 students, is here. Built
on hill 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.
(2 MIN./35 MIN.)
As we near the bridge, the omate dome of the pink granite Texas
State Capitol building is on our left, among Austin's skyscrapers.
(25 MIN./67 MIN.)
The water tower on our right boasts of the towns German heritage:
"In New Braunfels. . . Is Das Legen Schon!" (In New
Braunfels, life is beautiful!) The town was founded in 1845 by
Prince Carl von Solms-Braunfels, Commissioner-General for the
Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas. We cross
the clear blue Guadaloupe River here.
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (55
MIN./37 MIN.) On our right. We then cross the middle of Almos
Park Golf Course (50/40). 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
* SAN ANTONIO *
SAN ANTONIO Ringed
by Spanish missions, San Antonio's Alamo was the site of a bloody
battle that became,e 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.
Amtrak's Texas Eagle ends its journey here, while through-cars
from the Texas Eagle connect with Amtrak's Sunset Limited as it
heads west to El Paso, Phoenix and Los Angeles. West of San Antonio,
ask your car attendant for a Sunset Limited Route Guide.
* DALLAS HOUSTON *
Houston section of the Texas Eagle separates from the rest of
the train here and proceeds to Houston via the Southern Pacific
ENNIS (80 MIN./20 MIN.) The influence
of Czech settlers in this area is evident today. Each May, Ennis
hosts that National Polka Festival.
CORSICANA When the city drilled for
new water supplies in 1884, they were disappointed. But that was
shortlived 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 their 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
COUNTRY The gentle
Texas countryside along this route is world famous for its wildflowers,
including the 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
HOUSTON Founded the same year as the
republic of 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 a major seaport and Texas largest city. Today, Houston
looks to space travel as home of NASA's LBJ Space Center. The
first word spoken by man from the Moon was "Houston Houston
is also served by Amtrak's sunset Limited, or Superliner train
between New Orleans, Phoenix and Los Angeles.
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