By J. Bruce Richardson, Corridor Rail Development Corporation; March 9, 2021
Amtrak’s Texas Eagle is a dependable train which provides a second route between Chicago and Los Angeles when three days a week cars are forwarded from the Texas Eagle to the Sunset Limited in San Antonio for the continuing trip to Los Angeles Union Passenger Station.
In non-pandemic times when the daily Texas Eagle has a full trainset departing Chicago to San Antonio it consists of a baggage car, five coaches, two sleeping cars, a diner-lounge, a Sightseer lounge car, and a transition dorm/crew car.
In St. Louis, one coach is switched off the main consist.
In San Antonio, three days a week to match the Sunset Limited‘s normal tri-weekly operating schedule, one sleeping car and one coach are switched from the Texas Eagle to the Sunset and forwarded to Los Angeles.
Today’s Texas Eagle is the closest thing to the former Golden State, which was a joint operation of the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Rock Island Lines. The Golden State operated Chicago-Kansas City-Topeka-Tucumcari-El Paso-Phoenix-Palm Springs-Los Angeles, moving from the Rock Island’s line at Tucumcari, New Mexico to the Southern Pacific and picking up the Sunset Route westward to Los Angeles.
From the July 1956 The Official Guide of the Railways:
Streamliner Golden State, Trains 3 and 4, Extra Fare
Via Rock Island and Southern Pacific
Regularly Assigned Cars Are Air Conditioned
Full Lounge Car, Chicago to Los Angeles (For Pullman passengers. Does not operate on days a Buffet-Observation Car operates. (Valet service.)
Standard Sleepers –
Chicago to Los Angeles, 6 bedrooms, 10 roomettes
Chicago to Los Angeles, 12 bedrooms or 8 roomettes, 6 bedrooms (as listed in The Guide)
Chicago to Los Angeles, 2 bedrooms, 2 drawing rooms, Buffet Observation Car (Operates 3 days out of 5). Consult Agent.
Minneapolis to Los Angeles (Via Rock Island No. 507/Twin Star Rocket to Kansas City, Rock Island-Southern Pacific No. 3) 8 roomettes, 6 bedrooms
Chair Cars – Reclining Leg Rest Seats. Please reserve in advance. Pillow service.
Chicago to Los Angeles, 3 coaches
Minneapolis to Los Angeles (Via Rock Island No. 507/Twin Star Rocket to Kansas City, Rock Island-Southern Pacific No. 3), 1 coach
Dining Car, Chicago to Los Angeles
Hamburger Grill Lounge Car, Chicago to Los Angeles. (For Chair Car passengers.)
News Agent Service – (El Paso to Los Angeles)
Baggage – Checked service only from certain stations east of Tucumcari. Consult agent.
The Missouri Pacific/Texas and Pacific heritage of the Texas Eagle is extensive, and will be examined in a subsequent article.
Union Pacific provided the third route between Chicago and Los Angeles via the Domeliner City of Los Angeles. Connecting cars at Chicago from New York City were provided via the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Liberty Limited from New York Pennsylvania Station and New York Central’s The Wolverine from Grand Central Terminal.
The Union Pacific also offered the Challenger Domeliner, an all-coach train operating over the same Chicago-Los Angeles route, Chicago-Omaha-Cheyenne-Ogden-Salt Lake City-Las Vegas-Los Angeles on The Overland Route. The Challenger did not handle through cars.
Union Pacific trains from Chicago operated via The Milwaukee Road from Chicago to Omaha.
Domeliner City of Los Angeles, Trains 103 and 104, Daily
Radio and Recorded Musical Programs
No Extra Fare on Union Pacific Railroad
Dome Observation Lounge, Chicago to Los Angeles – for use of sleeping car passengers.
Streamlined Sleeping Cars
Chicago to Los Angeles, 11 double bedrooms
Chicago to Los Angeles, 5 double bedrooms, 2 compartments, 2 drawing rooms
Chicago to Los Angeles, 10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms
Chicago to Los Angeles, 5 double bedrooms – Club
New York to Los Angeles, 10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms (New York Central No. 17/The Wolverine, daily)
New York to Los Angeles, 10 roomettes, 6 double bedrooms (Pennsylvania Railroad No. 59/Liberty Limited)
Omaha to Los Angeles, 6 roomettes, 4 double bedrooms, 6 sections
Dome Dining Car, Club and a la carte service
Challenger Domeliner, Trains 107 and 108, Daily
Club Lounge Car, Chicago to Los Angeles
Reclining Seat – Leg Rest Coaches, all seats reserved, Chicago to Los Angeles, 3 Coaches, 44 Leg Rest Seats in each Coach
Dome Coach, Chicago to Los Angeles, 36 Leg Rest Seats – All Reserved.
Dining Car, Chicago to Los Angeles – Challenger meals. Complete table service, also club and a la carte service.