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Down At The Depot

May 20, 2014

Today we’ll look at some vintage passenger trains, but from a different perspective than you might be accustomed to. Instead of your typical railfan view of an approaching train, let’s check out the view from just outside of the waiting room at Houston Union Station one day in June of 1968.

This first image was taken just before Santa Fe #16, The Texas Chief, departed at 7:20 AM on its roughly 24 hour run to Chicago’s Dearborn Street Station. Note the KCS passenger car in the background. It’s the Good Cheer, an observation/dining car that KCS donated to the NRHS-Gulf Coast Chapter in early 1968. The car would remain parked at Union Station for some 10 years until the Gulf Coast Chapter was able to complete its museum in northeast Houston. Click here to learn more about this car.


The next view is looking down the platform of track #5 around mid-day. The California Special, ATSF train #65, would typically arrive from Clovis, NM at 8:15 AM. The cars are being serviced in order to head back to Clovis as train #66, scheduled to depart at 6:45 PM. Note the Hwy 59 overpass in the background.


The last image is mid-afternoon, looking down platform  #6. Passengers prepare to board MP train #42, the Houston section of the Texas Eagle, in anticipation of departing at 3:40 PM. Note the California Special equipment at far left.


The Houston Astrodome, aka the “8th Wonder of the World” was barely 3 years old when these photographs were taken. Little did any of the people in these 3 images dream that by the year 2000, a new stadium would stand on the Union Station property. Much less could they imagine that Union Station track #6 would be replaced with the 3rd base line of this future ballpark.

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