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Sunset Limited Facts

Sunset Marketing and Revitalization Team News

January 24, 2008
Amtrak's Sunset Limited (Amtrak Trains 1 and 2) is one of America's oldest passenger train routes. Originally developed by the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 19th Centrury, the Sunset has spanned the Sun Belt since before that name became popular, connecting New Orleans, Louisiana, to Los Angeles, California, through southern Arizona, New Mexico, and central Texas. The name dates to 1874, when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway was known as the Sunset Route.

At the end of the 19th Century, Southern Pacific Lines began publishing a magazine call "Sunset" which extolled the virtues of the West, Sunset Magazine cover to entice Americans to travel to California on their passenger trains.

Sunset Limited at Houston Station

In 1993, Amtrak extended the Sunset Limited to the east, through Mississippi and Alabama to Jacksonville and Orlando, Florida.

When the Southern Pacific Railroad abandoned service from Phoenix to the west, Amtrak was forced to drop service to Arizona's capital city. Phoenix is now the largest city in America without Amtrak service. Union Pacific is double tracking much of that mainline now through Arizona, and local efforts in Tucson and Phoenix for commuter trains is gaining ground. But so far, there is little support in Arizona for reconnecting Phoenix to the Amtrak system. YOU can change that by working with local groups and contacting YOUR representatives to see that Phoenix service is restored.

In 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the eastern portion of the route was temporarily halted, while restoraton work on the CSX line was completed. That work was finished in 2006. Amtrak has not yet restored the line, and has not replaced the train with connecting motor coaches (a bus bridge) as they have done so often in other parts of the country.

Effectively, the line has been severed. The route is now two lines, one of which operates west of New Orleans three days a week, and one east of New Orleans, which does not operate at all. Amtrak has neither opened a bus replacement nor -- since the CSX reopened the line in 2006 -- reinstated the service.

Friends of the Sunset Limited urges you to write to your state and federal legislators and the Amtrak Board urging them to restore America's only Coast to Coast passenger rail route.

Rail Support Links




Los Angeles -- New Orleans
New Orleans -- Orlando
Los Angeles, CA (Connect with Coast Starlght, Pacific Surfliner, San Joaquin, Southwest Chief) New Orleans, LA (Connect with City of New Orleans, Crescent)
Pomona Bay St. Louis, MS
Ontario Gulfport
Palm Springs Biloxi
Yuma, AZ Pascagoula
Maricopa (Phoenix) Mobile, AL
Tucson Atmore
Benson Pensacola, FL
Lordsburg, NM Crestview (Ft. Walton Beach)
Deming Chipley (Panama City)
El Paso, TX (Ciudad Juarez, Mexico) Tallahassee, FL
Alpine (Big Bend National Park) Madison
Sanderson Lake City
Del Rio Jacksonville (Connect with Silver Meteor, Silver Star)
San Antonio (connect with Texas Eagle) Palatka
Houston (Galveston) DeLand (Daytona Beach)
Beaumont (Port Arthur) Winter Park
Lake Charles, LA Orlando, FL (Disneyworld)
Lafayette Tampa, St. Petersburg
New Iberia
New Orleans (Connect with City of New Orleans, Crescent)

Current Sunset Limited Schedule