PRIOR MEETING LOCATIONS
Marshall, TX 9/15/1997
Longview, TX 12/9/1997
Austin, TX 4/4/1998
Hot Springs, AR 9/11/1998
Mineola, TX 1/22/1999
Fort Worth, TX 4/17/1999
Temple, TX 9/18/1999
Bossier City, LA 12/4/1999
Galveston, TX 3/11/2000
San Antonio, TX 9/16/2000
Marshall, TX 12/9/2000
Austin, TX 3/3/2001
Jefferson, TX 5/19/2001
Little Rock, AR 9/15/2001
Fort Worth, TX 1/12/2002
Mineola, TX 4/20/2002
Longview, TX 11/3/2002
New Boston, TX 5/31/2003
Dallas, TX 9/13/2003
Corpus Christi, TX 1/24/2004
Marshall, TX 10/02/2004
Galveston, TX 2/19/2005
Little Rock, AR 6/4/2005
San Antonio, TX 11/5/2005
St. Louis, MO 2/24/2006
Fort Worth, TX 6/3/2006
Palm Springs, CA 9/25/2006
Fort Worth, TX 2/17/2007
Springfield, IL 6/2/2007
Marshall, TX 9/15/2007
Texarkana, TX 3/1/2008
Austin, TX 5/17/2008
New Orleans, LA 9/27/2008
San Antonio, TX 2/28/2009
Oklahoma City, OK 6/13/2009
Fort Worth, TX 2/27/2010
Chicago, IL 5/15/2010
Shreveport, LA 9/18/2010
San Antonio, TX 2/12/2011
St Louis, MO 6/11/2011
Normal, IL 9/24/2011
San Antonio, TX 1/21/2012
New Orleans, LA 6/9/2012
Marshall, TX 9/29/2012
Cleburne, TX 3/2/2013
Hope, AR 5/18/2013
Fort Worth, TX 9/28/2013
San Antonio, TX 3/8/2014
Longview, TX 5/10/2014
Springfield, IL 9/18/2014
San Antonio, TX 2/28/2015
Oklahoma City, OK 6/20/2015
Longview, TX 9/26/2015
Fort Worth, TX 2/20/2016
Arkadelphia, AR 10/1/2016
San Antonio, TX 3/4/2017
St. Louis, MO 9/9/2017
San Antonio, TX 3/3/2018
Marshall, TX 10/13/2018
Fort Worth, TX 3/30/2019
Flatonia, TX 10/19/2019
2020 meetings canceled due to COVID pandemic
TEXAS EAGLE ROUTE - HISTORICAL TIMELINE
- August 15, 1948
- Inaugural trip of Texas Eagle streamliner, flagship of the Missouri Pacific and Texas & Pacific, replacing the Sunshine Special which had operated since 1915. The Texas Eagle carried through cars from St. Louis to all major Texas cities, including Houston/Galveston, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth and El Paso.
- December 31, 1968
- Final trips of Pullman Company sleeping car lines on the Texas Eagle, ending almost a century of sleeper service from St. Louis to Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Mexico City.
- May 31, 1969
- Discontinuance of MP (T&P) trains 21-22 between Longview and Fort Worth ends all rail passenger service to Dallas Union Terminal. Dallas thus gains the distinction of being the largest city in the United States without passenger train service.
- September 21, 1970
- Last runs of MP trains 1-2 between Texarkana and Laredo, ending all passenger train service to Austin, Texas. Train discontinuance was permitted by Texas Railroad Commission despite Interstate Commerce Commission's anticipated moratorium on train discontinuances while Railpax legislation was crafted.
- April 30, 1971
- In anticipation of the May 1 startup of Amtrak, MP trains 1-2 discontinued between St. Louis and Texarkana, ending rail passenger service to Arkansas, and the final remnant of service on the Texas Eagle route.
- January 27, 1973
- First run of Amtrak train 21, the Inter-American, tri-weekly service between Fort Worth and Laredo. This service was the first step in the reestablishment of rail passenger service from St. Louis through Arkansas to Texas, in response to ongoing pressure from the Arkansas and Texas congressional delegations.
- March 13, 1974
- Tri-weekly service begins between St. Louis, Little Rock, Texarkana, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Laredo; Amtrak trains 21-22, the Inter-American.
- September 15, 1974
- Service begins at Walnut Ridge and Newport Arkansas, adding two stops between Little Rock and Poplar Bluff. These stops utilized existing Missouri Pacific stations. Service to Newport was subsequently discontinued on April 14, 1996, as a trade-off required by Union Pacific to allow service to begin at Mineola, Texas.
- October 26, 1975
Inter-American service is rerouted via a direct MKT Railroad line between Temple and Taylor, Texas. This change replaced a more circuitous routing from Temple to Taylor via Milano, Texas.
- February 15, 1976
Service begins to Malvern, Arkansas, using former Missouri Pacific station. This stop is approximately 20 miles from Hot Springs National Park.
- October 31, 1976
- The Inter-American is extended to operate from Chicago, and begins daily service between Chicago and Fort Worth. Service between Fort Worth and Laredo remains tri-weekly.
- June 15, 1977
- Daily Inter-American service begins between Chicago and Laredo.
- August 8, 1977
- Conventional "heritage" equipment on the Inter-American is replaced with Amfleet equipment, as part of plans to retire all steam-heated rolling stock. Sleeping car service is discontinued; Amtrak lacks sufficient sleepers converted to head end power (HEP) to be compatible with new Amfleet equipment.
- October 30, 1977
- Inter-American restructured to operate daily between Chicago-St. Louis, but only tri-weekly between St. Louis and Laredo.
- May 24, 1978 through September 6, 1978
- Daily service operated between Chicago-Laredo for summer travel period. Tri-weekly service south of St. Louis resumed after Labor Day.
- June 25, 1978
- Sleeping car service is returned to Inter-American, with heritage 10-6 sleepers converted for use with Amfleet equipment. Sleeping cars were restored to this train at the insistence of Charlie Luna, former head of the United Transportation Union and a member of Amtrak's Board of Directors living in Dallas. Although the train was operating daily, sleeping car service was only provided tri-weekly.
- October 31, 1978
The northbound Inter-American becomes the last Amtrak train to depart from the historic St. Louis Union Station. Amtrak moved into a temporary trailer in St. Louis, ultimately staying in that "temporary" location for 30 years, until a new St. Louis station was opened on November 19, 2008.
- June 15, 1979 through September 6, 1979
Daily service Chicago-Laredo for summer travel period, with return to tri-weekly service south of San Antonio after Labor Day.
- October 1, 1979
Daily service is restored between Chicago-Laredo and addition of Houston segment is planned (Temple-Brenham-Rosenberg-Houston) in anticipation of discontinuance of Lone Star on October 8, 1979.
- August 3, 1980
- Inter-American moves to a 5:20pm departure from Chicago, rather than the prior morning departure time which had been patterned from traditional GM&O-MP schedules revolving around a 5:30pm St. Louis departure.
- September 30, 1981
- San Antonio-Laredo and Temple-Houston segments make their last runs in advance of route changes.
- October 1, 1981
- New Superliner equipment replaces Amfleet cars betwen Chicago-San Antonio, and a new through car service for both coach and sleeping car begins operating between Chicago-Los Angeles via the Sunset Limited west of San Antonio. For the first time, train from Chicago operates directly into former SP station, rather than via transfer bus from MP station site. The Inter-American name is retired in favor of a new name,The Eagle, the traditional identification of premier trains on this route prior to Amtrak. Operation of both The Eagle and Sunset Limited remains tri-weekly.
- October 28, 1984
Amtrak begins service to Arkadelphia, Arkansas, after a lengthy campaign to secure service, conducted by Arkadelphia travel agent Barrie Gravel.
- October 25, 1987
- The last heritage sleeping car on the Eagle operated on train 22 today, using car 2900, Pacific Bay. Prior to this date, sleepers included one Superliner sleeper and one heritage sleeper; after this date, two Superliner sleepers will operate.
- November 14, 1988
- Full Texas Eagle name is restored, and new Dallas-Corsicana-Houston service (trains 521-522) is inaugurated. Through coach and sleeping car service from Chicago to both Houston and San Antonio (Los Angeles). Dining car operates to San Antonio, while lounge car provides food service to Houston.
- May 21, 1989
- Texas Eagle train 21 is rescheduled to depart Chicago at 3:15pm, rather than the 5:15pm or later departure whcih had been in effect since 1980. This change greatly compromises connections in Chicago, thus discouraging potential travelers.
- January 20, 1990
- Texas Eagle service to both San Antonio and Houston begins daily operation. Through cars to Los Angeles via Sunset Limited continue tri-weekly. A later Chicago departure for train 21, 4:15pm, partially mitigates the damage caused by the earlier departure schedule.
- June 11, 1990
Effective this date, service to Bloomington Union Station is discontinued, with new service inaugurated at a new station located at 100 East Parkinson Street, Normal, IL. The station stop is redesignated Bloomington-Normal.
- October 28, 1990
- Chicago departure for train 21 is restored to 5:45pm, with next day 11:45pm arrival in San Antonio. Train 22 departs San Antonio at 7:05am and arrives Chicago 1:40pm.
- October 31, 1993
- Texas Eagle reduced to tri-weekly operation south of St. Louis. Chicago departure remains 5:45pm, allowing connections from all long-distance routes.
- September 9, 1995
- Discontinuance of trains 521-522 between Dallas and Houston; Chicago-Houston service replaced with Thruway bus transfer from Longview to Houston.
- October 29, 1995
- Chicago departure is moved to 6:30pm, the latest departure time used for Eagle train 21. Train 22 arrives Chicago 1:05pm, thus allowing connections to and from all other long-distance routes.
- April 12, 1996
- Walnut Ridge, Arkansas dedicates their newly restored train station, one of the first such station restorations on the Texas Eagle route.
- April 15, 1996
- Amtrak's Texas Eagle makes final stop at Newport, Arkansas, ending passenger train service to the city. A major renovation improved the station building, but city officials indicated that restoring train service was not a priority. As a result, the passenger train operates through Newport nonstop.
- April 28, 1996
- Mineola, Texas is added as a new stop on the Texas Eagle route.
- June 1, 1996
The Sunset Limited - Texas Eagle was rerouted in Arizona to avoid Union Pacific secondary trackage, thus bypassing Phoenix. A stop was established at Maricopa in an effort to serve the Phoenix market, but the lack of reliable public transportation between Maricopa and Phoenix remains a deterrent for many passengers.
- August 8, 1996
- Amtrak announced that a series of trains, including the Texas Eagle, Pioneer, and Desert Wind would be discontinued effective November 10, 1996. All pending reservations for travel after November 10 were canceled, and expensive, half-page newspaper advertisements were placed in cities along the affected routes to publicize Amtrak's decision to discontinue service. In most cities, these advertisements represented more column-inch area than had been seen in several years of previous marketing efforts combined.
- October 10, 1996
- Congressional efforts, led by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, resulted in supplemental funding for Amtrak to operate the threatened trains for an additional six months beyond the proposed November 10 discontinuance date. Reservations were once again accepted for travel after November 10, but only until May 10, 1997. In anticipation of discontinuance, the trains had already been removed from the next edition of Amtrak's national timetable, as well as from Amtrak's Travel Planner, a widely distributed marketing tool designed to increase ridership.
- circa February 10, 1997
- Despite ongoing efforts in the Texas legislature to pass a $5.6 million dollar loan to Amtrak for continued Texas Eagle operations, Amtrak posts formal discontinuance notices along the Texas Eagle route, advising that train service was expected to end on May 10, 1997. This notice, posted to comply with the statutory 90-day requirement, also helped to focus maximum effort on getting the Texas Eagle loan through the Texas legislature.
- May 10, 1997
- Desert Wind and Pioneer trains begin their last runs. Amid some uncertainty about the future, operation of the Texas Eagle continues on a day to day basis, although through cars from Chicago-Los Angeles are discontinued. Train operates with an abbreviated consist of a single snack coach, later expanded to include a dorm car (with some rooms sold to public), a lounge car for food service, and a coach.
- May 11, 1997
- In anticipation of a Texas Eagle discontinuance which did not occur, Amtrak issues a national timetable showing NO service along the Texas Eagle route. The Amtrak travel planner similarly indicates no service south of St. Louis through Arkansas and Texas to San Antonio.
- June 10, 1997
- Texas Eagle resumes operation as a full-service train, with dining car, Sightseer lounge car, two sleeping cars and three coaches. Operation through September 30, 1997 is guaranteed, but operation after that date is still uncertain. Through car service to Los Angeles is not restored.
- July 26, 1997
- Amtrak announces that operation of the Texas Eagle will be continued for "...an indefinite period..." beyond the September 30, 1997 date specified in a loan agreement between Amtrak and the State of Texas. Amtrak cites revenue from growing express business as a reason for continuing train operations.
- September 15, 1997
- At the invitation of Amtrak Marketing Department, a group of civic leaders, elected officials and rail advocates meet in Marshall, Texas to form a grass-roots marketing support group for the Texas Eagle. This group's general purpose is to address concerns over lack of local input to Amtrak which had been raised by the Texas Eagle Mayor's Coalition. This group would soon evolve into TEMPO, the Texas Eagle Marketing & Performance Organization.
- February 6, 1998
- Texas Eagle - California Servicebegins, adding a fourth frequency between Chicago and Los Angeles.
- May 17, 1998
- Through coach and sleeping car service is resumed between Chicago and Los Angeles, thanks in part to efforts by John R. (Jack) Martin, president of National Association of Railroad Passengers. The through car service allows passengers to remain on board, asleep, during the middle of night transfer from Texas Eagle to Sunset Limited.
- June 11, 1998
- Thruway bus service is inaugurated to Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
- February 20, 1999
- Amtrak opens new station in San Antonio, Texas, after moving out of the historic Southern Pacific station.
- June 15, 1999
- The Heartland Flyer begins operation between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. This new route, a collaboration between Amtrak and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, restored passenger train service over a route which had been discontinued 20 years earlier. The new service connects with the Texas Eagle in Fort Worth, allowing Oklahomans to travel with only one change of trains to Austin, San Antonio or Los Angeles. Oklahoma City again becomes an important destination station on the Amtrak national system.
- August 23, 1999
- Texas Eagle local revenue management team assumes responsibility for Texas Eagle revenue managment, in a pilot project originally expected to last one year.
- November 13, 1999
- Grand opening of the fully restored Texas and Pacific passenger station in Marshall, Texas. U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison was the keynote speaker, with numerous other dignitaries in attendance including Meridian, Mississippi Mayor John Robert Smith who at that time was a member of the Amtrak Board of Directors. Marshall Mayor Audrey Kariel recognized the importance of passenger service to Marshall, and was a strong proponent of restoring the depot.
- May 21, 2000
- Celebration for the restoration of daily Texas Eagle service between Chicago and San Antonio was held in the historic Fort Worth "Santa Fe" passenger station. Amtrak officials in attendance included Sylvia DeLeon-Amtrak board member, George Warrington-President/CEO, Ed Walker-President of Amtrak Intercity, Ed Ellis-VP Intercity-Mail/Express, Don Saunders-VP Intercity West, Joy Smith-General Manager Southwest Business Group, Tim Cooper-Eagle Product Line Director, along with Amtrak government affairs and marketing representatives Deborah Hare, Ray Lang, Mary Jennings, and Nancy Calvert.
- May 22, 2000
- First run of train 21 via former Cotton Belt Railroad between Texarkana and Big Sandy, to accommodate Union Pacific demands for Amtrak to conform to directional running. A transfer, station name of Eagle Transfer, was established at Gilmer, Texas, with Marshall and Longview passengers detraining at this point for travel via Thruway bus to their destination. The name Eagle Transfer was used to avoid the possibility of the southbound detour gaining acceptance as a permanent operating procedure.
- February 28, 2001
- Directional running of the Texas Eagle ends in east Texas, with westbound train #21 being restored to its traditional Texas & Pacific route via Marshall and Longview. The Thruway bus transfer point of Gilmer, Texas, never appeared by name in any Amtrak timetable. In exchange for the elimination of directional running, the "California Service" fourth frequency is discontinued between San Antonio and Los Angeles, with last runs originating on this date.