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Back to the Future, Amtrak Style

May 7, 2012

Amtrak rolls out a new timetable today. It makes significant changes to the schedules for trains #1 and #2 (PDF), the westbound and eastbound Sunset Limited.  The new schedule calls for Houston departures in daylight (excepting the few months of CST in winter),  something that stopped happening 48 years ago!

In 1964, the Southern Pacific changed the westbound departure time of the Sunset Limited from 7:40 AM to 9:00 PM. When Amtrak took over in 1971, westbound departure was pushed back to 9:50 PM. This is pretty much where it has been until now.

Effective today, #1’s new departure time from Houston  is 6:55 PM, making photography of it in the Sugar Land area feasible. To commemorate the occasion, I plan on getting a few shots of it later this afternoon.

Since 1950 at least, the eastbound Sunset has been a mid to late morning arrival into Houston. This changed about 2008, when Amtrak made  it a 4:40 AM Houston arrival. As of tomorrow, #2’s schedule calls for an 11:10 AM Houston arrival. Work permitting, I’ll get shots of it also.

Since no post is complete without photos, I dug up some shots of very late Amtrak #1 that I took on Thursday, June 24, 2004. This train should have departed the previous evening at 9:50 PM . The photo was taken at 2:26 PM, making this Sunset Limited over 16 hours late!

I had no idea that this train was even coming. I was taking some pictures of a rock train in the Missouri City siding when I saw a westbound headlight. I realized it was Amtrak a second or two before it blew by me. I’d never seen a train go by so fast through here! The current maximum authorized speed for passenger trains here is 79mph, which is just about how fast I estimated the speed of this train.

Amtrak Sunset limited at Missouri City, TX

Amtrak westbound Sunset limited at Missouri City, TX

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One Comment leave one →
  1. OZARK WEAVERS permalink
    May 7, 2012 2:01 pm

    LOVE-THAT-MIRROR-YOU-USE ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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