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Missouri Pacific’s Texas Eagle

May 12, 2012

Missouri Pacific’s premier passenger train was the Texas Eagle, trains # 1 and #2, operating daily between St. Louis and all over Texas.  I know, “All over Texas” isn’t a destination. That’s the point. You could buy a ticket from St. Louis to Laredo, Houston,  or El Paso and you’d leave St. Louis on the same train.

The MP accomplished this by operating a very long train from St. Louis and splitting into 3 different trains in Texas. A West Texas section (serving Dallas to El Paso destinations) would come off at Longview, a Houston section would come off at Palestine, with the remainder of the train continuing to Austin, San Antonio and ultimately Laredo.

The MP’s route structure made this possible. The St. Louis-Laredo line is a straight shot, with a T&P line diverging westward at Longview and another T&P line diverging southward from Palestine.

The opposite procedure would take place for the northward Texas Eagle, 3 different trains coming together in Texas to form one very long train to St. Louis.

Here’s an image of MP Train #2, the northbound Texas Eagle nearing St. Louis Union Station in December of 1965.

The MP was able to discontinue the Texas segments of this train by 1970. St. Louis to Texarkana  was the only segment that continued until Amtrak, when that service ended.

But it was a temporary end to passenger service for this corridor. Laredo to St. Louis  service was restored by Amtrak’s Inter-American in 1974.  It was re-named “The Eagle” when the route was truncated in 1981, dropping the San Antonio – Laredo segment.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Howard Bingham permalink
    May 13, 2012 2:06 am

    Wonder if the Longview, Palestine, to Houston section could be resurrected today, if the passenger volume were there… Guess if the tracks & row is still intact, it would be part of UP’s directional running…

    It sure would be shorter that the route Amtrak used before they dropped the service to Houstom over 12 years ago & now use a dedicated rthrubus from Houston/Galveston through Nacogdoches to Longview..

  2. May 13, 2012 6:37 am

    With Laredo so much bigger now, I wonder if there would be demand for restoring service there.

  3. Dan Pugh permalink
    May 13, 2012 7:18 am

    Of course the market is there today. The Dallas metroplex is growing at the rate 2.3% per year. Houston is growing at 2.6% a year. San Antonio at 2.5%, and Laredo at 2.9%. Houston service today could be either restored from Palestine or, more likely, be constructed as a continuation south from Fort Worth on the daily Heartland Flyer. Service to Corpus Christi and the Valley or to Laredo could simply be a continuation of the Texas Eagle from San Antonio, as it used to be. How could it not work?

  4. February 9, 2014 1:49 pm

    Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston seriously needs a rail connection.

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