The advantages of this schedule are several, including much improved (before midnight) arrival times for train #21 in both St. Louis and San Antonio. Train #22 will also offer a later departure from San Antonio, providing that important station with times which can be more readily marketed. Running times between Chicago and St. Louis were reduced slightly by elimination of station stops at Dwight and Carlinville.
Unfortunately, the schedule of train #22 also creates numerous problems, most of which can hopefully be resolved by additional minor schedule adjustments in the near future. The new Eagle schedule breaks the connection between #22 and #301 at St. Louis for passengers traveling to Kansas City, forcing a layover of 7.5 hours. The "near miss" between #22's arrival at 8:07am and #301's departure at 7:30am is ironically reminiscent of the 1970s when the eastbound National Limited departed St. Louis about 45 minutes before the arrival of the northbound Inter-American. Train #22 will also miss connections with the departing Empire Builder, California Zephyr and Southwest Chief at Chicago, necessitating an overnight layover in Chicago (or more likely, a decision to avoid travel by Amtrak).
Finally, the change will place #22 through Little Rock just after midnight. This means that #22 will operate through Little Rock on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday, although passengers will actually need to be at the station on Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Thursday night and Sunday night. The potential for confusion is great, and the problems are compounded with a less than daily train where passengers cannot be readily reaccommodated on the next night's train.
Moving the San Antonio departure of #22 to 7:00am, and reclaiming only a little of the 3.5 hours of schedule "padding" that has been given to the Union Pacific since 1990 would correct the deficiencies of the new schedule, while maintaining all of the positive aspects of the change.
It is somewhat peculiar that this time change is being rushed into effect on September 1, rather than at the customary timetable change in October. The issue of horrible misconnections between #2 and #22 have been going on for months, due to intolerable Union Pacific operating practices along the route of the Sunset Limited, and this presumably had some impact on the decision to accelerate the schedule change.
The Eagle's last major schedule change took place in October 1997.
NEW SCHEDULE -- Effective September 1, 1998 21old 21new STATIONS 22new 22old 630pm 555pm Chicago 245pm 135pm 745pm 650pm Joliet 147pm 1201pm 910pm 810pm Bloomington 1215pm 1027am 1022pm 922pm Springfield 1104am 910am 1133pm 1028pm Alton 949am 748am 1245am 1140pm Av St. Louis Lv 900am 659am 120am 1159pm Lv St. Louis Av 807am 607am 510am 403am Poplar Bluff 354am 154am 606am 457am Walnut Ridge 249am 1249am Newport 832am 727am Little Rock 1249am 1049pm 918am 812am Malvern 1134pm 934pm 940am 833am Arkadelphia 1110pm 910pm Hope 1107am 958am Texarkana 956pm 756pm 1224pm 1113am Marshall 833pm 633pm 101pm 1148am Longview 800pm 600pm 148pm 1235pm Mineola 627pm 427pm 341pm 236pm Av Dallas Lv 515pm 315pm 401pm 256pm Lv Dallas Av 455pm 255pm 536pm 419pm Av Ft. Worth Lv 350pm 150pm 556pm 439pm Lv Ft. Worth Av 325pm 125pm 648pm 531pm Cleburne 221pm 1221pm 756pm 639pm McGregor 109pm 1109am 839pm 722pm Temple 1240am 1040am 932pm 815pm Taylor 1132am 932am 1026pm 909pm Austin 1041am 841am 1108pm 951pm San Marcos 950am 750am 122am 1159pm San Antonio 800am 600am
Prepared for Arkansas Rail by
Posted: Monday 24 August 1998.
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