The Sunset Limited (Texas)
Photos and notes from my trip on Amtrak's Sunset Limited, April 6 - 8, 2013.
Beaumont, TX (BMT - mile 281)
Houston, TX (HOS - mile 363)
San Antonio, TX (SAS - mile 573)
The Southern Pacific Passenger and Freight Station at 1174 East Commerce opened in 1902. It was designed by Daniel J. Patterson in Spanish Mission Revival Style and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Amtrak moved its operations in 1998 to the a newly-built adjacent building and the station was repurposed as the event facility Sunset Station. The station is an anchor for the St. Paul Square Historic District.
The Sunset Limited joined with the Texas Eagle in San Antonio, TX with a 2:40 scheduled layover that, along with the pleasant April weather, gave me an opportunity to explore the area.
Southern Pacific locomotive 794 was built by the American Locomotive Company in 1916. The locomotive has a 2-8-2 Mikado configuration and delivered 53,630 pounds of tractive effort. The total loaded weight was 221 tons.
Sanderson, TX (SND - mile 868)
The Amtrak facilities in many of these remote western towns are quite spartan, and are often just a partially-paved area to transfer between auto and train.
Alpine, TX (ALP - mile 959)
El Paso, TX (ELP - mile 1,178)
El Paso's Union Passenger Station was designed by famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham and opened on March 1, 1906. In 1940 the exterior was remodeled to give it a more "Southwestern look," with the steeple replaced by a small clock tower and the red brick covered in stucco.
With the decline of passenger rail traffic came a concurrent decline in the building's usefulness and maintenance. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and sold to the city that same year, with subsequent repurposing as a base for the city's bus system. The building was renovated in 1982 with the 1940 changes reverted to the original 1906 appearance. Amtrak leases space in the building from the city and the facility is also available as a rental for events. (The City of El Paso)
Now we're all sons of bitches. (Ken Bainbridge, test director for the first atomic bomb in 1945)