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Arkansas ARP - Texas Eagle Schedule Revision Oct 97


- Arkansas Association of Railroad Passengers -

Texas Eagle Schedule Revision

Effective October 25, 1997

The Texas Eagle schedules for both train #21 and train #22 will be lengthened on October 25, 1997. Amtrak management believes that this additional time is needed in order to handle longer trains which include express cars. It is unfortunate that Amtrak feels the need to give Union Pacific additional time to operate this train, because when the train is properly dispatched, the existing schedule already contains a generous amount of surplus time. From November 1996 until Union Pacific freight train interference became intolerable this summer, it was not uncommon for the Texas Eagle to recover up to three hours of time between Chicago and San Antonio, either through making up delays or by arriving early at stations and then waiting for departure time.

In 1977-1978, Amtrak resorted to litigation to force the Missouri Pacific (now Union Pacific) to operate Amtrak trains at 75 mph rather than arbitrarily limiting passenger trains to the 60 mph freight train speed limit which was then in effect. After a favorable court ruling, Amtrak in April 1978 implemented a faster schedule for Chicago-San Antonio passenger service. Since that time, over three hours have been given back to Union Pacific, and the schedule change effective October 25 will give back a substantial amount of additional schedule time. The Union Pacific (Missouri Pacific) has a twenty-three year record of abusing all scheduling concessions secured from Amtrak for this route, as evidenced by the Texas Eagle's past history of dismal on-time performance.

It is generally conceded that the present Texas Eagle schedule already has sufficient "extra" time to accommodate the marginally greater starting and stopping requirements of a longer train. The additional schedule time which will be added in October is a concession to the Union Pacific by Amtrak in an attempt to minimize Union Pacific's irrational opposition to Amtrak's express initiative. Once given this more leisurely schedule, Union Pacific management must be held accountable for failure to operate the Texas Eagle in a timely manner at all stations en route. It shall not be acceptable to continue the Union Pacific's frequent practice of allowing the train to become two or three hours late at intermediate stations and then providing favorable dispatching for the remainder of the trip so that the train arrives at the endpoint terminals on time. Passengers boarding in Little Rock or Longview are entitled to on-time performance just as much as passengers boarding in Chicago or San Antonio. It should also be understood that no additional time should be required in the future for brief station stops at Newport and Hope, Arkansas, should a decision be made to restore Amtrak service to the newly refurbished rail passenger stations in those cities.

In the event of failure by Union Pacific to properly operate the train (excepting delays caused by Amtrak mechanical failure or holding for connecting trains) Amtrak management must be prepared to enforce terms of the contract with the Union Pacific through court action, formal complaints to the Surface Transportation Board and the Federal Railroad Administration, or any other effective course of action.

The new schedule provides generally good arrival and departure times for stations north of San Antonio, but the 1:32am San Antonio arrival time is particularly undesirable. An earlier departure from Chicago is not possible without breaking important connections from western trains, which would be even more undesirable. Restoration of a through coach and sleeping car for passengers traveling on both the Eagle and the Sunset Limited would greatly reduce the negative impact of the San Antonio times. For accounting purposes, these through cars (and all related costs and revenues) should be considered as strictly Texas Eagle cars between Chicago and San Antonio and strictly Sunset Limited cars between San Antonio and Los Angeles. A basic Eagle consist of at least two coaches and one sleeper (in addition to a diner and sightseer lounge) should continue to operate in Chicago-San Antonio service, so that it would be possible to operate an on-time train #22 from San Antonio in cases where the eastbound Sunset Limited is excessively late. [The Sunset Limited also operates over the Union Pacific Railroad, and like the Eagle, has been plagued by horrendous timekeeping problems due to freight train interference in recent months.]

For comparison purposes, the following schedule shows the present schedule (21/22old) and the new schedule (21/22new) which will become effective October 25, 1997.

      21new     21old         STATIONS       22old      22new 

      630pm     630pm         Chicago         115pm     135pm
      725pm     725pm         Joliet         12noon    1201pm
      847pm     850pm         Bloomington    1035am    1027am
     1002pm    1002pm         Springfield     918am     910am
     1113pm    1113pm         Alton           758am     748am
     1225am    1225am        Av St. Louis Lv  710am     659am
      100am     100am        Lv St. Louis Av  620am     607am
      510am     448am         Poplar Bluff    209am     154am
      606am     542am         Walnut Ridge    105am    1249am
      827am     808am         Little Rock    1102pm    1049pm
      918am     853am         Malvern         950pm     934pm
      940am     914am         Arkadelphia     927pm     910pm
     1107am    1039am         Texarkana       812pm     751pm
     1224pm    1154pm         Marshall        648pm     633pm
      101pm    1229pm         Longview        616pm     600pm
      148pm     114pm         Mineola         445pm     427pm
      341pm     305pm        Av Dallas    Lv  333pm     315pm     
      401pm     315pm        Lv Dallas    Av  325pm     255pm
      536pm     438pm        Av Ft. Worth Lv  225pm     150pm
      601pm     458pm        Lv Ft. Worth Av  205pm     125pm
      648pm     544pm         Cleburne        103pm    1221pm
      756pm     651pm         McGregor       1153am    1109am
      842pm     735pm         Temple         1125am    1035am
      942pm     834pm         Taylor         1020am     932am
     1038pm     928pm         Austin          930am     841am
     1118pm    1007pm         San Marcos      840am     750am
      122am    1159pm         San Antonio     700am     600am

Prepared for Arkansas Rail by Bill Pollard. Email:

Posted: Saturday, 30 August 1997; revised 4 January 1998.
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