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Explore Texas's Majestic Landscapes By Amtrak, A 2024 Train Guide

Last revised: January 1, 2024

By: Adam Burns

Texas, known for its vast landscapes and rich cultural heritage, offers a variety of passenger train services that connect major cities and provide an enjoyable and convenient mode of transportation.

From historic routes to modern high-speed trains, Texas has something to offer for every traveler. Let's delve into the vibrant passenger train services available in the Lone Star State.

Photos

0917348623568189629820927.jpgAmtrak P42DC #17 has train #821, the "Heartland Flyer" at Ponder, Texas on March 7, 2021. David Hawkins photo.

Amtrak

Texas Eagle

One of the prominent passenger train services in Texas is Amtrak's Texas Eagle. This long-distance train route stretches from Chicago to San Antonio, with several stops in major Texas cities including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and Houston.

Passengers can relax in comfortable seats, enjoy panoramic views, and experience the charm of train travel as they traverse through Texas's picturesque landscapes. The Texas Eagle offers a range of accommodations, including coach seating, sleeping cars, and dining facilities, ensuring a pleasant journey for all travelers.

Sunset Limited

The Sunset Limited is a legendary passenger train that traverses a remarkable route connecting the vibrant cities of New Orleans, Louisiana, and Los Angeles, California.

The history of the train dates back to 1894, launched by Southern Pacific.  It was continued under Amtrak in 1971.  The Sunset Limited offers passengers a unique opportunity to experience the charm and diversity of the American Southwest while embarking on a scenic and unforgettable journey. Let's delve into the history, highlights, and attractions that make the Sunset Limited an exceptional travel experience.

This transcontinental train owes its name to the majestic sunset vistas it showcases as it traverses the vast landscapes of the southern United States. The route covers approximately 1,995 miles, offering passengers an enchanting adventure through the heartland of America.

The Sunset Limited treats passengers to breathtaking views of diverse landscapes, ranging from the lush greenery of the Deep South to the arid deserts of the Southwest.

As the train rolls along its route, passengers can marvel at picturesque scenes, including expansive farmlands, towering mountains, and serene rivers. The journey is particularly captivating as the train crosses the iconic Atchafalaya Basin in Louisiana, the vast expanse of the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, and the captivating canyons of New Mexico.

The train makes several notable stops along its route, allowing passengers to explore captivating cities and immerse themselves in local culture. Some of the prominent stops include:

  • New Orleans, Louisiana: Embark on your Sunset Limited adventure in the vibrant and soulful city of New Orleans. Explore the charming French Quarter, savor delectable Creole cuisine, and indulge in the city's rich musical heritage.
  • San Antonio, Texas: Known for its historic sites, including the Alamo and the scenic River Walk, San Antonio offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and Texan hospitality.
  • Tucson, Arizona: Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts scene, explore the natural beauty of Saguaro National Park, and experience the city's unique blend of Mexican and American influences.
  • Phoenix, Arizona: Discover the bustling capital of Arizona, where you can explore cultural attractions, enjoy outdoor adventures, and relish the city's warm and sunny climate.
  • Palm Springs, California: Enjoy the desert oasis of Palm Springs, known for its stunning mid-century architecture, world-class golf courses, and rejuvenating hot springs.

Heartland Flyer

The Heartland Flyer connects the vibrant city of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with the charming city of Fort Worth, Texas. Offering a delightful mix of natural beauty, small-town charm, and cultural experiences, the train is a captivating way to explore the heartland region. 

The train covers a distance of approximately 206 miles, passing through the beautiful landscapes of Oklahoma and Texas.

The route winds its way through rolling prairies, verdant farmlands, and quaint towns, showcasing the essence of the heartland region. The journey is filled with scenic delights, allowing passengers to witness stunning sunsets, expansive vistas, and charming rural landscapes.

The Heartland Flyer makes several notable stops along its route, allowing passengers to discover charming towns and unique attractions. Some of the highlights include:

  • Norman, Oklahoma: This vibrant college town is home to the University of Oklahoma. Visitors can explore the picturesque campus, visit the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, and indulge in local dining options.
  • Purcell, Oklahoma: Known as the "Heart of Oklahoma," Purcell offers a glimpse into small-town life with its historic downtown, antique shops, and friendly atmosphere.
  • Pauls Valley, Oklahoma: This quaint town is famous for its annual Watermelon Seed-Spitting World Championship. Visitors can explore the Toy and Action Figure Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of toys and action figures.
  • Ardmore, Oklahoma: With its rich history and charming downtown, Ardmore provides a perfect stop for exploring local boutiques, art galleries, and the vibrant local art scene.

The Heartland Flyer concludes its journey in the vibrant city of Fort Worth, Texas. Passengers can immerse themselves in the city's Western heritage by visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards, where they can witness cattle drives and experience the spirit of the Old West.

Additionally, Fort Worth offers a thriving arts district, renowned museums, and a diverse culinary scene, providing ample opportunities for exploration and enjoyment.

Dart Rail

The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) operates an extensive light rail system that serves the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. With multiple lines and stations, DART Rail provides convenient transportation options for both commuters and visitors.

Travelers can explore popular attractions such as the Dallas Arts District, West End Historic District, and Dallas Zoo, all easily accessible via the DART Rail network. The system offers a seamless connection between downtown Dallas, major suburbs, and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, making it a convenient choice for both local travel and airport access.

METRORail

In the bustling city of Houston, the 23-mile METRORail offers a reliable and efficient passenger train service. With three lines covering various parts of the city, METRORail connects key destinations such as downtown Houston, the Museum District, NRG Stadium, and the Texas Medical Center.

Whether you're commuting for work, exploring cultural attractions, or attending sporting events, the METRORail provides a convenient and environmentally friendly way to navigate Houston's vibrant urban landscape.

A-Train

The A-Train is a modern commuter rail system that serves the communities of Denton County in North Texas, operated by the Denton County Transportation Authority (DCTA).

Offering a convenient and sustainable transportation option, the A-Train provides residents and visitors with a seamless and enjoyable journey.

The system currently consists of a single 21-mile line that runs from Downtown Denton to the Trinity Mills Station in Carrollton, connecting several communities along the way. 

There are currently a total of 6 stations. The DCTA has plans to expand the network in the future, extending its reach and providing even more convenient travel options for passengers.

Trinity Railway Express

The Trinity Railway Express (TRE) is a commuter rail service that connects Dallas and Fort Worth in North Texas. 

The system is jointly operated by the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (FWTA), offering a convenient alternative to driving, reducing traffic congestion and providing commuters with a reliable and efficient mode of transportation.

The TRE is known for its efficient and punctual service, ensuring passengers arrive at their destinations on time. The trains operate on a fixed schedule, allowing commuters to plan their journeys with ease. With frequent service during peak hours and convenient connections to other transit options, the TRE offers a reliable and stress-free commuting experience.

The TRE serves several stations strategically located throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, providing easy access to key destinations and connecting transit services.

Some of the prominent stops along the route include Union Station in Downtown Dallas, Victory Station near the American Airlines Center, and T&P Station in Downtown Fort Worth. These stations are designed with passenger convenience in mind, offering amenities such as parking facilities, bike racks, and accessible platforms to accommodate all passengers.

The TRE has played a significant role in driving economic development and revitalization in the communities it serves. The presence of the commuter rail system has attracted businesses, stimulated job growth, and increased property values near its stations.

Additionally, the TRE has improved accessibility to employment centers, educational institutions, and cultural attractions, fostering connectivity and enhancing the quality of life for residents in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

TEXRail

For those traveling between downtown Fort Worth and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, TEXRail offers a convenient option.

This commuter rail line provides a direct connection between downtown Fort Worth's bustling Sundance Square and the airport, with several intermediate stops along the way. TEXRail features modern and comfortable trains, making it an excellent choice for both business and leisure travelers.


9135872357127845231983572687626.jpgAmtrak's eastbound "Texas Eagle" arrives at Dallas Union Station on February 16, 2020. David Hawkins photo.

Texas boasts a diverse and robust range of passenger train services that cater to the needs of both residents and visitors. From long-distance routes like Amtrak's Texas Eagle, which traverse the state, to local rail networks such as DART Rail and METRORail that connect major cities and attractions, Texas offers a variety of options for train travel.

Whether you're looking for a scenic journey, a convenient commute, or a hassle-free way to reach the airport, Texas's passenger train services deliver comfort, convenience, and a unique travel experience.

So, the next time you're planning a trip or exploring the Lone Star State, consider hopping on one of Texas's passenger trains and enjoy the sights, sounds, and charm of train travel in this magnificent state.

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