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New Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle Timetables


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#1 ParanoidAndroid

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 11:23 PM

I've made new Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle Timetables.

Major changes include:

- Adds daytime service to San Antonio, TX; Little Rock, AR; Yuma, AZ; Palm Springs CA!

- Daytime service to scenic Arkansas and Missouri

- Approximate twelve hour shift in the schedules, with a bunch of tweaking (i.e. 1-2 hour layovers)

- Connections to other trains at Chicago and Los Angeles are retained

- Overnight between Fort Worth & Austin with long layover in Fort Worth... boarding times should be around 12am westbound, 6am eastbound

Possible problems:

- Barely less than 8 hours turnaround at New Orleans.. a couple other trains do this as well, however (Empire Builder, Cardinal/Hoosier State)

- Long layovers might cause problems, but not sure what exactly, if it does... it will increase travel times by a couple hours

- Metropolitan Lounge might close before #21 boards in Chicago just before 11pm.. might need to keep it open a couple more hours

- El Paso, TX; Houston, TX; Fort Worth, TX; St. Louis, MO; Lake Charles, LA boarding times are quite early/late in the day

 

Overall, I tried to solve the San Antonio problem, while retaining connections at endpoints, and not putting too many other cities in the dark.

Attached Files


Edited by ParanoidAndroid, 12 May 2018 - 11:27 PM.

I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), Coast Starlight #11 (SLO-LAX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have observed, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (lucky), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), Empire Builder #28 at PDX, and Sunset Limited #2/Texas Eagle #422 at LAX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#2 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 12 May 2018 - 11:55 PM

This schedule would be better for some major cities, but also worse for some others. Personally, I feel as though too many of the big markets are pushed to poor calling times. For example, the most populated regions north of San Antonio are DFW and Chicago, both of which could end up with post-midnight service with relatively minor delays. I don't think this is a bad schedule, but also don't believe it to be superior to the current one. If a second frequency were to ever be added, this may be a good option.
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<p>Routes Travelled: CL WAS-CHI, Card. CHI-WAS, Caro. CLT-RGH, CS SEA-LAX, CZ CHI-RIC, Cre. BAL-ATL, EB SEA-CHI, ES NYG/NYP-NFL, LSL BOS/NYP-CHI, ML ALB-NYP, NER FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, PS LAX-ANA, Pen. NYP-PGH, Pie. RGH-CLT, SM ORL-NYP, SS FTL-NYP

#3 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 07:21 AM

I do like the idea of "red-eye" CHI-STL service but I do not like the idea of late times for the DAL-FTW metroplex southbound. Also, any passengers coming east of CHI will have to wait almost all day in CHI for the TE then. Was the 7:00pm westbound out of NOL chosen to be continuing the Crescent because that is the arrival of the Crescent out of NOL? If it's not, there is no chance a passenger can connect and the layover is now a full 24 hours rather than just an overnight (assuming the passenger arranges it to arrive in NOL the day before the SL actually runs). Houston is also a bit early for my liking westbound. 

 

Going the other direction, HOS also gets screwed, the NOL transfer between the Crescent and SL still sucks (although the SL would have to arrive in NOL around 5am for a same day transfer to the Crescent) and DAL-FTW is early in the morning. 

 

If I had my way, I would break up the SL and TE and just terminate the TE in SAS. The "TE" does very little business beyond San Antonio, the top 10 city pairs in ridership and top 10 city pairs in revenue are between CHI-SAS (CHI-Tucson is #10).

 

https://www.railpass...les/3444/32.pdf

 

 

Then you can schedule the SL to accommodate NOL-HOS-SAS-LAX better without worrying about it fitting with the TE and maybe you can fit it better with the Crescent in NOL.  I tried doing that and I proposed "through cars" to accommodate Dallas/Austin.

 

 

Attached Files


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Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
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#4 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 03:55 PM

I have found the through Sleeper is almost always full, not LA-CHI or CHI-LA but stops on either side of SAS.  For example, in a few weeks I am going AUS/LAX, 10 weeks out when I made the reservation, there were only 3 Roomettes and 1 bedroom left.  I personally think the TE should be a daily CHI-LAX with the SL being NOL/SAS.

 

No matter what, the UP will be impossible to work with they will demand at a minimum truck loads of cash each year.



#5 cpotisch

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:28 PM

I have found the through Sleeper is almost always full, not LA-CHI or CHI-LA but stops on either side of SAS.  For example, in a few weeks I am going AUS/LAX, 10 weeks out when I made the reservation, there were only 3 Roomettes and 1 bedroom left.  I personally think the TE should be a daily CHI-LAX with the SL being NOL/SAS.
 
No matter what, the UP will be impossible to work with they will demand at a minimum truck loads of cash each year.

When I took #422 a few months ago, both through-cars were almost completely full LAX-SAS. While there is minimal demand end-to-end on the Sunset/Eagle, there are many reasonable desirable segments on it. If only UP was a remotely reasonable negotiator...

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#6 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 04:40 PM

Certainly a trip from AUS or DAL/FTW to LAX is reasonable (in fact STL to LAX might be) but I think cutting the one seat ride from NOL (and HOS) is a mistake too. The #2 most popular city pair by ridership  on the SL is the end to end pair, NOL-LAX and HOS-LAX is #6. By revenue they rank #1 and #4 respectively. 14.3% or approximately 1 in 7 SL passengers travel more than 1500 miles (SAS-LAX is 1423 miles).

 

https://www.railpass...les/3438/33.pdf

 

Ideally you'd like the ability for both passengers north of San Antonio and east of San Antonio not to have to transfer (especially at the lousy times the transfer would be). But if someone would have to transfer, you'd want it to be the fewer number of passengers to do so. Also, CHI-LAX via the TE is almost three days in length while NOL-LAX is just two days. If one train had to be broken up, it would make more sense to be the TE. I've proposed a "coast to coast" train and others say a three day train is unreliable and subject to delays. Well the TE between CHI-LAX is just that and there already is a two day CHI-LAX train.


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore Limited (NYP-CHI), , Silver Meteor (PHL-ORL), Southwest Chief (CHI-LAX), California Zephyr (CHI-SLC, SLC-EMY), City of New Orleans and/or Illini (CHI-Champaign, IL), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/


#7 iplaybass

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 05:48 PM

I'm looking at the hour plus stops in STL. While a red eye STL-CHI might make some sense, #321/#322 wouldn't need to exist, with horrible timing for intermediate pax, while those making connections at CHI filling the nearest Lincoln service.

Does Amtrak have numbers for 321/22 to see if it would be necessary to adjust the Lincoln service to compensate (timing and/or consist), and get agreement from UP.
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#8 cpotisch

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 06:16 PM

I've proposed a "coast to coast" train and others say a three day train is unreliable and subject to delays. Well the TE between CHI-LAX is just that and there already is a two day CHI-LAX train.

A coast to coast train would be a significantly longer ride than even the TE, and delays would multiply over the course of the run. And a coast to coast train would have to be single-level, which isn't ideal for such a long run. There's much more to it then just "This existing train is three days, and this new train could be three days. So they're exactly the same thing and that's that."


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#9 Bob Dylan

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 09:26 PM

Thanks for the idea and work put in,but this just ain't gonna happen.

A Daily CHI-LAX Texas Eagle and a Stub/Shuttle Train between NOL and SAS is the plan, IF UP ever negotiates in good faith???
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#10 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 13 May 2018 - 11:51 PM


I've proposed a "coast to coast" train and others say a three day train is unreliable and subject to delays. Well the TE between CHI-LAX is just that and there already is a two day CHI-LAX train.

A coast to coast train would be a significantly longer ride than even the TE, and delays would multiply over the course of the run. And a coast to coast train would have to be single-level, which isn't ideal for such a long run. There's much more to it then just "This existing train is three days, and this new train could be three days. So they're exactly the same thing and that's that."
They actually aren't that different in length. The Southwest Chief-Capitol Limited route is roughly 308 miles longer than the Texas Eagle, which is only about 10%. In addition, it only takes about 48 minutes longer (not including layover time in San Antonio, as a coast to coast train would likely have a similar stopover in Chicago). A route to Washington would also allow the use of Superliners, although Philadelphia and New York passengers would still have to transfer. In the current scenario where OTP is a serious issue and there is the equipment issues, it is probably not realistic, but coast to coast thru-cars have happened in the past and may be again feasible at some point in the future.
<p>Routes Travelled: CL WAS-CHI, Card. CHI-WAS, Caro. CLT-RGH, CS SEA-LAX, CZ CHI-RIC, Cre. BAL-ATL, EB SEA-CHI, ES NYG/NYP-NFL, LSL BOS/NYP-CHI, ML ALB-NYP, NER FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, PS LAX-ANA, Pen. NYP-PGH, Pie. RGH-CLT, SM ORL-NYP, SS FTL-NYP

#11 ParanoidAndroid

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 02:15 AM

Thanks for the idea and work put in,but this just ain't gonna happen.

A Daily CHI-LAX Texas Eagle and a Stub/Shuttle Train between NOL and SAS is the plan, IF UP ever negotiates in good faith???

 

Ah, I know. Timetable-fiddling is a fun hobby though ;). It's like a game in which you have to consider all the factors and create the most optimized scenario.

 

 

I do like the idea of "red-eye" CHI-STL service but I do not like the idea of late times for the DAL-FTW metroplex southbound. Also, any passengers coming east of CHI will have to wait almost all day in CHI for the TE then. Was the 7:00pm westbound out of NOL chosen to be continuing the Crescent because that is the arrival of the Crescent out of NOL? If it's not, there is no chance a passenger can connect and the layover is now a full 24 hours rather than just an overnight (assuming the passenger arranges it to arrive in NOL the day before the SL actually runs). Houston is also a bit early for my liking westbound. 

 

Going the other direction, HOS also gets screwed, the NOL transfer between the Crescent and SL still sucks (although the SL would have to arrive in NOL around 5am for a same day transfer to the Crescent) and DAL-FTW is early in the morning. 

 

If I had my way, I would break up the SL and TE and just terminate the TE in SAS. The "TE" does very little business beyond San Antonio, the top 10 city pairs in ridership and top 10 city pairs in revenue are between CHI-SAS (CHI-Tucson is #10).

 

https://www.railpass...les/3444/32.pdf

 

 

Then you can schedule the SL to accommodate NOL-HOS-SAS-LAX better without worrying about it fitting with the TE and maybe you can fit it better with the Crescent in NOL.  I tried doing that and I proposed "through cars" to accommodate Dallas/Austin.

 

 

 

I could agree with these two statements in red. A stub from Dallas to connect at San Antonio would probably be enough to serve most trips today. Even if the #421/#422 cars are full, there are only two of them, so there are still probably less trips being taken on that portion. Personally, I'd make the Dallas section be operated to Fort Worth with a TRE engineer (12 hour rule issues), and then the Amtrak engineer could drive it down to San Antonio in the 7-8 hours. Similar thing coming back. Whether to make it overnight with a long FTW layover, or make it same-day and serve Dallas early/late at night is a matter of choice. It's either arriving Dallas at midnight, or 7am, and leaving Dallas at 10pm, or at 6am.

It is interesting to consider that on the current schedule, there is a bit of padding (an hour or more) westbound into Dallas/Fort Worth. That could alleviate some built up delays en route from Chicago, so operating that schedule as the new Texas Eagle might still be realistic.

 

I'd rather not have the eastbound leave LA at 6:00am... that is a bit too early for such a large and wide metropolis (places like San Diego, 2 hours away, are in the same catchment area). Departing any later will break the connection with the Crescent, which would be missed 40% of the time, according to Juckins. So I've opted to make it leave at 8:00am for connection with 561/1761, an earlier Houston arrival, and arriving into New Orleans at 7:10am. If the Crescent is pushed back 2 hours to leave at 9:00am (thus Atlanta at 9:35pm/10:04pm if on-time), that could work.

 

I also looked at the much quicker Empire Builder add/drop at Spokane, and I sped up the San Antonio process. I'm pretty sure it took a couple hours before just to optimize the schedule. 

Attached Files


Edited by ParanoidAndroid, 14 May 2018 - 02:17 AM.

I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), Coast Starlight #11 (SLO-LAX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have observed, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (lucky), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), Empire Builder #28 at PDX, and Sunset Limited #2/Texas Eagle #422 at LAX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#12 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 08:36 AM

With current demand for the 2130/2230 sleeper, and the 2115/2215 Coach they could easily add an additional sleeper and coach to the 421/422.  Might be interesting to see the passenger numbers through San Antonio from the TE route with the additional cars.



#13 Trogdor

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 10:02 AM

All that extra time just makes the train more expensive to operate, and less attractive for folks who might actually give some modicum of value to their time.


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#14 cpotisch

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 10:09 AM

With current demand for the 2130/2230 sleeper, and the 2115/2215 Coach they could easily add an additional sleeper and coach to the 421/422.  Might be interesting to see the passenger numbers through San Antonio from the TE route with the additional cars.

But remember that the TE only uses one engine. So if you add additional cars, you might need another loco.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service

 

Wish List: Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster

 


#15 Pere Flyer

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:35 AM

If the TE timetable is changed, the Heartland Flyer timetable must also be changed. Many HF riders connect with the Eagle in their journey (as with the OKC-Newton bus.) Early AM calling times for FTW would likely kill the Oklahoma train and/or reduce Okie ridership on the TE nearly completely.

Pere Marquette: 370 (CHI, HOM, GRR); 371 (GRR, HOM, CHI) | Heartland Flyer: 821 (OKC, NOR, FTW); 822 (FTW, NOR, OKC) | Texas Eagle: 21 (FTW, SAS); 22 (SAS, FTW, AUS, CHI)

 

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#16 ParanoidAndroid

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 11:59 AM

All that extra time just makes the train more expensive to operate, and less attractive for folks who might actually give some modicum of value to their time.


True, that would cost an extra bunch of hours. Better to make the Dallas section same day.

I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), Coast Starlight #11 (SLO-LAX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have observed, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (lucky), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), Empire Builder #28 at PDX, and Sunset Limited #2/Texas Eagle #422 at LAX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#17 ParanoidAndroid

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:03 PM

If the TE timetable is changed, the Heartland Flyer timetable must also be changed. Many HF riders connect with the Eagle in their journey (as with the OKC-Newton bus.) Early AM calling times for FTW would likely kill the Oklahoma train and/or reduce Okie ridership on the TE nearly completely.

The plan was to retain the current Texas Eagle, separate from the Sunset Limited (yes, having two trains a day in Texas seems weird :P). Okla. pax can ride the regular HF to the regular TE as far as Chicago or San Antonio. Passengers going west of SAS (which I doubt there'll be many) will have to stay a night in FTW. If Oklahoma agrees to a second HF frequency (which might benefit tourism there), then the wait will be shorter.

Edited by ParanoidAndroid, 14 May 2018 - 12:08 PM.

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I have ridden Cascades #516 (SEA-STW), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-SLO), Southwest Chief #4 (LAX-CHI), Cardinal #50 (CHI-NYP), Northeast Regional #85 (NYP-WAS), Capitol Limited #30 (HFY-WAS), Coast Starlight #14 (LAX-PDX), Coast Starlight #11 (SLO-LAX), and many Pacific Surfliners with Amtrak. I have observed, including the previous, California Zephyr #5 at SAC (lucky), what I guess to be Crescent #19 (at WAS) and Silver Meteor #97 (at WAS), Empire Builder #28 at PDX, and Sunset Limited #2/Texas Eagle #422 at LAX. I have also ridden the Hokutosei in Japan, Ueno - Sapporo (now discontinued).


#18 Lonestar648

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Posted 14 May 2018 - 12:58 PM

Looking at the next 10 421 trains going through SAS, there are 15 roomettes, 2 Family, and 5 bedrooms still available north through SAS out of 130 - 10 - 50.  Most of these available will sell before departure north of SAS. This isn't even the busiest time of the year.  The first 3 421 trains sleepers are sold out. The SL Sleeper is almost sold out with just a couple Roomettes remaining each of the next three trains, so both trains are selling their sleeping cars.  


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#19 Anthony V

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:16 PM

The Texas Eagle needs to have some sort of Houston section, whether the one from Dallas (1988-1995), or the one from Temple (1973-1981). I'd prefer the one from Dallas because it would also serve College Station, TX (A college town and a major ridership source). The proposed Texas Central Railway Brazos Valley station intended to serve College Station is too far away from the city to be of any use for college students without cars (The train's biggest target audience).

 

In addition, the train should be rerouted onto the former T&P railway (now UP) line between FTW and ELP, so it would be on an all-UP routing and would bring service to West Texas. It would then make the SL through-car connection in ELP instead. To avoid loss of service between FTW and SAS, the HF would be extended south to SAS over that part of the current TE route, as well as north to Newton or KCY as is currently planned. These changes would simplify operations on both routes because they would have fewer dispatching "handoffs" as the train switches between host railroads. Both extensions of the HF would require a second set of equipment for that route. However, the new second set would be better utilized with these route changes than it would if the train ran only from KCY to FTW.


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#20 AlamoWye

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Posted 15 May 2018 - 06:29 PM

The proposed Texas Central Railway Brazos Valley station intended to serve College Station is too far away from the city to be of any use for college students without cars (The train's biggest target audience).

 

Texas Central has made it very clear that they will be running connections between A&M and the Brazos Valley station. If they also found a market for a connection between Sam Houston State I'm sure they would do that also.






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