Houston is often described as the place where the Southern US meets The West. As a starting point for my train trip that seems fitting as the train moves towards the dusty West. I’m travelling on train number 1, Sunset Limited which travels from New Orleans to Los Angeles three days a week. As one of two long distance Amtrak services through Texas, it is accompanied by a podcast series written and recorded by the Department for Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University at College Station. There are over 50 individual 2 – 3 minute long audio vignettes describing the history and features of the landscape we travel through. Due to the timing of the train, unfortunately I haven’t been able to fully appreciate all the views accompanying the descriptions.
The train is scheduled for a 30 minute stop in Houston to enable passengers to embark and disembark as well as the dining car to take on supplies.
We left on time and spent the next 45 minutes or so leaving the greater Houston conurbation, passing over freeways and past people’s back yards alongside US Highway 90 Alternate. As we left the city behind us we travelled along lush greenery and I watched the sun set to my right from the lounge car.
For those interested in my travel accommodation, I am travelling coachclass. I have a forward facing window seat which is about as wide as a first class seat on a British Intercity train. It reclines and has a leg and foot rest. There is a fold down table from the seatback in front of me, however the extended legroom means that I am using my lap to rest my laptop rather than that table.
After five hours of travel, we stopped in San Antonio for a 2.5 hour scheduled stop to enable the Texas Eagle (train 21) to join the Sunset Limited adding around 140 further passengers to the train in a sleeper and a coach car.
I was still awake when we arrived and took a stroll around San Antonio train station, where I found this rather beautiful locomotive:
I was also a little perplexed by this sign, which was standing on the platform at San Antonio Station.