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Why so long???

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  • Member since
    February 2016
  • From: Texas
  • 1,530 posts
Posted by PJS1 on Monday, April 10, 2023 8:46 AM
I have ridden the Texas Eagle from Dallas or Temple to El Paso, Tucson, and LAX many times.   My last ride was just before Covid-19 arrived in town. 
 
The Eagle has a through sleeper and a coach that are put on or taken off the Sunset Limited on the three days a week it operates. 
 
The dwell time in San Antonio for the Sunset Limited is due to schedule padding to accommodate a late running Limited or Eagle, which happens frequently, and to allow time to switch the Eagle through cars. 
 
For through westbound Eagle passengers, the time in San Antonio, if the Eagle arrives at its 9:55 pm schedule time, is nearly five hours.  I have gotten off the train, hit a couple of gin joints along the river walk, and been back on the train by midnight. 
 
I had understood the Limited crew performed the switching.  But I was wrong.  One of the San Antonio conductors told me Amtrak brings on a night crew to handle it.  I do not know how many are involved, but presumably it would be at least an engineer and a carman. 
 
Speaking of labor, the Eagle is running with a sleeper, diner/lounge, and two coaches.  The crew consists of an engineer, conductor, assistant conductor, or train person, sleeping car attendant, microwave operator (cook) in the diner/lounge, and an attendant that sells food and beverages to the coach passengers and helps in the dining car during meal service.  It is not hard to understand why the Eagle had a fully allocated loss of $32.5 million in FY22. 

Rio Grande Valley, CFI,CFII

  • Member since
    September 2011
  • 6,366 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, April 9, 2023 10:09 PM

Your welcome.  I had a couple of experiences going thru SA in the late 1980s.  First time LA to NO.  I had a sleeper as far as SA, but my sleeper car was going on the Eagle to CHI, so I was in coach to NO, but it was during daylight so no problem.  The second time was from LA to CHI.  Again I had a sleeper as far as SA, but this time that car was going to NO, so I was back in coach.  However, it was an extra night to CHI, so I kept bugging the conductors to see if anything opened up in a sleeper.  Finally a space opened up going thru Arkansas.

  • Member since
    December 2017
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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Saturday, April 8, 2023 10:09 PM

Thanks Mike!

Still in training.


  • Member since
    September 2011
  • 6,366 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, April 8, 2023 8:39 PM

The Eagle is combined with the Sunset at SA, so there is probably some time cushion for one or the other's late arrival, plus switching moves to combine the trains.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 21,111 posts
Posted by Overmod on Saturday, April 8, 2023 6:40 PM

Well, you see, it's like this.  Amtrak as a quasi-government entity has been told to 'do its part' in transitioning to locomotives with smaller, younger prime movers, but railroads are reluctant to buy them so Amtrak took a leaf from the emu scheme and is breeding them.

This is in fact a tradition derived from the Southern Pacific, on whose tracks the train runs.  It was said about trying to maintain the 'three barrels of steam' 2-10-2s that it was like having an expensive mistress at every division point.  Now there is an expensive mechanical mistress waiting in San Antonio.  Quietly, discreetly, but effectively they spend those golden hours helping to breed a finer, cleaner future for American railroads.

(Mike has the right answer below) Smile

  • Member since
    December 2017
  • 2,671 posts
Why so long???
Posted by Lithonia Operator on Saturday, April 8, 2023 4:17 PM

I see that the westbound Sunset Limited stops for two hours and forty minutes in San Antonio!!

Why???

Still in training.


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