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Amtrak After Dark

January 13, 2011

With the Amtrak schedule change a few years back, Amtrak’s Sunset Limited is strictly a nocturnal operation through the Houston area.

We decided that we wanted to get a few pictures, and some video, of Amtrak #1 departing Houston. We packed up the extra stuff needed f or night work, as well as some cold weather gear, and headed to the depot last night.

Upon arrival at the depot, we saw that the train had already arrived. Resisting the urge to get right to it, we first checked in with Amtrak’s station agent to make sure it would be OK to take some pictures. He acceded to our demand for access was fine with us taking the pictures, so we headed to the end of the platform.

After a few adjustments to the camera and flash, we came up with a shot we were happy with.

Amtrak Sunset Limited passenger train at Houston, Texas

Amtrak #1, the Sunset Limited, just before departing the Houston depot on Jan. 12, 2011

With the still pictures in the bag, we hustled back to the car to get the video equipment. We got everything ready at 9:47 PM, a whole three minutes before departure.

Once the train had left, we wanted to try our luck pacing the train between West Junction and Stafford. But that would require getting on the freeway quickly in order to have a shot at getting to West Junction ahead of the train.

Right off the bat, we were delayed in leaving the depot parking lot because I couldn’t find my glasses. After a frantic 90 seconds of searching for them, I found them in my pocket.

Then it seemingly took forever to get on the freeway due to wrong turns. But we eventually found ourselves on I-10, westbound to I-610, where we would go south.

We just knew that there was no way we could beat the train to West Junction, but we were satisfied with what we had already captured. We actually joked that, if anything, we’d see the gates come down in front of us just to torment us.

I’ll end the written narrative here, allowing the video to tell the “rest of the story”.

PS-Once the video starts playing, click where it says “360p” near the right, bottom corner of the player. It will switch to 480p, greatly improving the quality of the video.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Bob King permalink
    January 13, 2011 10:18 pm

    Very cool video. Boy they really notched it up after West Jctn. Great job pacing the train.

  2. Jerry H. Sullivan permalink
    January 14, 2011 1:01 pm

    Great video. Gosh, how I miss that train. I rode it some 15 times in and out of
    Jacksonville, FL to Houston, where one of my sons lives (James Sullivan, Candidate
    for judge last fall – he lost), then came Katrina and John Mica. Now that good ole John
    heads up the committee that oversees Amtrak, you better get all the pix you can. He
    wants the whole national system to be history.
    Some years ago, I stood about where you set up the video at the station, holding my
    3 year old (at the time, now he is 11) grandson so we could watch the train leave for
    the west. I had just arrived from the east, about as on time as it ever was.

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