Extended stop in TX

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Radvlad, Jun 2, 2019.

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  1. Jun 2, 2019 #1

    Radvlad

    Radvlad

    Radvlad

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    Hi Everyone,

    Apologies if this is a dumb question. I remember a few years ago that there was a train that stopped for over 8 hours in TX but you were allowed to stay onboard and sleep. Is this still a thing, and which train? Looking to book my vacation on the train this year and just want to maximize my time on the actual train.
     
  2. Jun 2, 2019 #2

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    That is trains 421/422, which are thru cars between the Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited. The extended stop is at San Antonio.
     
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  3. Jun 2, 2019 #3

    ParanoidAndroid

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    The Texas Eagle stops in San Antonio for 2:10 going east/north, and 4:50 going west now.
     
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  4. Jun 3, 2019 #4

    zephyr17

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    You are if you are booked on 421 or 422. Those are the through cars and you can remain onboard while they are switched. If you are booked on train 21 and train 1, you have to get off and wait at the cramped San Antonio station. Same thing if you're booked on train 2 and 22.
     
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  5. Jun 3, 2019 #5

    Radvlad

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    Thanks for the replies. You guys are awesome.
     
  6. Jun 3, 2019 #6

    gnh

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    I would welcome recommendations for bars/restaurants/grocery shops in San Antonio within walking distance from the station during the westbound layover. Is walking safe at that time of night?
     
  7. Jun 3, 2019 #7

    dogbert617

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    Never have been on the TX Eagle/Sunset Ltd. that far west, but I've heard of people walking over to a nearby 24/7 Denny's to eat, during the San Antonio layover. Heck if you wanted to and the train was early enough, you might even be able to sneak a walk as far as the San Antonio Riverwalk, and/or the Alamo. :) These 2 are not much further of a walk(vs. Denny's) as I remember seeing on a google map, vs. how far away that Denny's is.

    ALWAYS remember of course to make it back to your train before it departs, so you aren't left behind. And I'd EVEN be back on the train, at least a few minutes before those departure times. Which are 2:45am going west for the combined Eagle/Sunset, 6:25am for the eastbound Sunset (towards Houston, New Orleans, etc.), and 7am for the TX Eagle (to Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, etc).
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  8. Jun 3, 2019 #8

    Amtrakfflyer

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    Uber is an option as well. Well worth the 3-5 bucks and pretty instantaneous service in any big city, even at odd hours.
     
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  9. Jun 5, 2019 #9

    SanAntonioClyde

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    there is a new place, Smokes, virtually at the north end of platform. Serves BBQ and has a bar. They welcome Amtrak passengers.
     
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  10. Jun 6, 2019 #10

    Bob Dylan

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    It's in the old Ruth Chris' Steakhouse which moved to the Hyatt across I37 towards the Riverwalk.

    It closes fairly early so you might miss eating there if riding on the Eagle. (and for sure on the Sunset,)

    The Q and Drinks are OK but the Prices are not Low!
     
  11. Jun 6, 2019 #11

    Rasputin

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    I think as long as people watch their time, they should have time during the Texas Eagle and Sunset stopover in San Antonio to go to the Alamo and the Riverwalk, passing Dennys on the way. I walked from the station to the Hyatt Riverwalk with wheeled luggage in the early morning a few years ago and back again a few days later when I left. I found the area to be reasonably safe but late at night it would probably be better to go in a group.

    There was a murder at the San Antonio Amtrak station in 2014 when a person was beaten to death by a deranged individual but I think that was highly unusual and not characteristic of the area.
     
  12. Jun 6, 2019 #12

    Devil's Advocate

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    On most days of the week Smoke closes at 10PM, which is a perfectly normal time for a restaurant to close in San Antonio. Maybe if Amtrak left CHI an hour earlier and didn't slow down to casual walking speed on the approach to SAS they could get their passengers into town fast enough for them to eat something before everything was shuttered.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019
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  13. Jun 6, 2019 #13

    me_little_me

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    Not necessarily true. Depends on whether one is going east/west (SL) or N/S-E/W (TE). If I asked that question to/from NOL, I would want the 1/2 for through trip.
     
  14. Jun 7, 2019 #14

    striker64

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    For the uninitiated, what is actually happening here - is the SL being transferred completely to the TE, resulting in only one train moving on to LAX? Why does the booking system show two options for the same departure day (one that is entirely train 1 from NOL to LAX, the other train 421 SAS to LAX)?
     
  15. Jun 7, 2019 #15

    tricia

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    One train set runs between NOL and SAS. A separate train set runs between CHI and SAS. They join (westbound) to make one train running between SAS and LAX. Eastbound, they split into two trains again at SAS.

    Amtrak's booking system needs to assign you to a specific car that will begin/end at either NOL or CHI. If you're traveling from LAX to NOL, you could book yourself onto the Texas Eagle's trainset--but when the train arrives in SAS, you'll need to hop off for several hours before being allowed to board a car that will get you to NOL.
     
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  16. Jun 7, 2019 #16

    Rasputin

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    I certainly enjoy being on the through cars and sleeping through San Antonio. West of San Antonio as a matter of personal preference I enjoy being on the through Texas Eagle sleeper at the rear of the train (I realize some may differ). However if I am coming into San Antonio from New Orleans on No. 1, I am not so enamored with being in the rear Texas Eagle sleeper that I would want to wake up in the wee hours of the morning in San Antonio and lug my blanket and pillow from a Sunset sleeper to the Texas Eagle sleeper.
     
  17. Jun 7, 2019 #17

    Devil's Advocate

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    Just to be clear only two active revenue cars change trains, one sleeper and one coach. Those two cars are referred to as train 421 (heading South and West from Chicago to Los Angeles) or train 422 (heading East and North from Los Angeles to Chicago). The transfer of these two cars is handled at Sunset Station in San Antonio. There are also two protect cars stored on a third house track in case the inbound train is running too late for the outbound train to wait.
     
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  18. Jun 8, 2019 #18

    striker64

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    So if I'm riding westbound from NOL to LAX, I would want to book the SL option to avoid having to get off in SAS, right? And I would have to get off the train if I pick the booking that shows a transfer to the TE at SAS?

    Amtrak's website doesn't spell this out anywhere unless I'm just missing it, so I appreciate the info.
     
  19. Jun 8, 2019 #19

    Radvlad

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    To tag on to striker64's post, If I start out in Dallas, and don't want to change trains in San Antonio, I would want the SL train, correct?
     
  20. Jun 8, 2019 #20

    bratkinson

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    Let's try this again...
    Train #21 runs CHI-SAS only and terminates there.
    Train #421, which is the last two cars of train #21 runs CHI-LAX
    Train #1 runs NOL-LAX
    At SAS, the last two cars of the 'combined' #21/#421 are added to train #1 and depart SAS for LAX.

    Running the opposite direction, Train #422, the last two cars of Train #2, are removed at SAS and added to the rear of Train #22 which originates at SAS.

    If one books CHI-LAX, they will be booked in train #421. That's the only option presented. That way, they stay in their seats or rooms while their two cars are switched to #1 at SAS. They do NOT have to get off the train, move to a different car, etc. HOWEVER...if one books CHI-SAS only, then the option of being in train #21 or #421 is offered. As the passenger is leaving at SAS, it doesn't matter that that car is switched to Train #1 upon its arrival at SAS.

    Why two trains? Because the Amtrak computer is incapable of handing 'sections' of a single train. So, they simply created a 'fake' train number (#421 and #422) which has 1 sleeper and 1 coach which makes all stops CHI-LAX. Booking passengers from, say, STL to FTW on #421 doesn't present any problems as those seats/rooms are available CHI-STL and become available for anyone traveling between FTW and LAX.

    Moving cars from one train to another is standard practice for both the Empire Builder (SEA and PDX sections) and the Lakeshore Ltd (NYP and BOS sections). When departing CHI, these trains run as 7/27 and 48/448. #27 is actually the rear of train #7, and #448 is the front of train #48. Anyone booked on #27 goes to PDX, but the seats and rooms can also be sold anywhere between CHI and PDX, and resold as it becomes available enroute. The same is true on train #448 as intermediate seats/rooms can be sold for stops between CHI and ALB.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  21. Jun 8, 2019 #21

    striker64

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    I appreciate you spelling it out. That's very helpful.
     
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  22. Jun 8, 2019 #22

    Ziv

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    I went to Dennys in a pack of 7 or 8 people from the train. I felt ok on my own but I was glad the single women joined the group and didnt try it on their own. They probably would have been fine but safer is better.
     
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  23. Jun 8, 2019 #23

    Radvlad

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    Thanks tons bratkinson. That was a great explanation, I didn't understand the two different train numbers previously. You made it really clear.
     
  24. Jun 8, 2019 #24

    Rasputin

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    Don't get hung up on the train names. As indicated pay attention to the train numbers. If you want to go from NOL to LAX in a through car, be sure you are booked on a coach or sleeper on Train #1. (Train # 2 in the eastbound direction)
     
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  25. Jun 8, 2019 #25

    Rasputin

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    If you start out in Dallas and are going to LAX, you want to be on a coach or sleeper on train #421 in order to be in a through car. (Train #422 eastbound)

    In trying to make a booking don't forget that trains 421 and 422 operate only three days a week. It is not a daily service.
     

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