What makes the current Texas Eagle detour unique is not only the number of days that the reroute takes place – departures from Chicago and San Antonio through June 22 will be affected – but that the westbound and eastbound trains utilize directional running along different Union Pacific lines.
The westbound Eagle runs its regular route past Longview to Big Sandy where it backs onto the former Cotton Belt, then heads west to Corsicana on tracks that last saw a passenger train in the mid-1950s.
That’s where the westbound train switches to a route once used by the Laredo section of the original Texas and Pacific/Missouri Pacific Texas Eagle west to Taylor, which is on the current Amtrak route.
Eastbound, the detouring train backtracks from Taylor through Hearne directly east to Longview.
- Bus substitution Ft. Worth-Longview on June 8. On that day only, Nos. 21 and 22 operate round-trip from San Antonio to Ft. Worth so there is no detour; a bus bridge carries passengers between Ft. Worth and Longview.
- Sleeping car space may be difficult to book on through-car Sunset Limited connection days. Because the detour was announced long after most passengers traveling to and from points west of San Antonio ticketed their trips – mainly to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, space may appear to be sold out for various segments. For instance, heading to Chicago on June 2, no roomettes were available between Hope, Ark., and Arkadelphia, Ark. Only by piecing together three different roomettes was it possible to reserve sleeper space for the entire eastbound trip, but this is not a cost-effective option. However, there was through-roomette inventory heading west on a “San Antonio only” day.
- Watch the schedule and be prepared to wait. After significant delays when the detour was first initiated, trains have more recently arrived at Taylor and Longview early and have had to wait for busses carrying passengers to and from stations including Ft. Worth and Dallas. Auto traffic has been congested, especially on Interstate 35 between Austin and Temple. So beginning June 6, the westbound train’s schedule has been adjusted one hour later at Taylor for all stops into San Antonio.
Although Trains News Wire readers reported significant freight interference on earlier detour trips, the only problem encountered westbound on last week’s journey was waiting for two eastbound UP freight trains west of Hearne at Gause and stopping for 30 minutes eastbound outside of Longview after the UP dispatcher chose to block the platform with a westbound Kansas City Southern freight.
No matter. In each instance the respective Eagles had to wait for buses anyway and would arrive into San Antonio and St. Louis ahead of schedule.