HOUSTON'S PASSENGER TRAINS

OF THE PAST

Intercity passenger trains serving Houston in 1942, 1956, and 1971 immediately prior to the creation of Amtrak.


THE STATIONS

The major stations serving Houston, during the golden age of passenger trains.

Union Station
501 Crawford St.
Opened 1911

Number of station tracks: 8 stub
Interlocked switches controlled from Tower 116

Grand Central Station
431 Franklin St.
Opened 1934, replacing earlier station at same location built in 1887

Number of station tracks: 10 through
Non interlocked switches

Main Street Station
3 N. Main St.
Opened 1914


SANTA FE

(Union Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

  5  Ranger                Galveston       8:05        8:25 am
 16  Texas Chief           Oklahoma City               8:10 am     7:20 am
 16  Chicago Express       Newton          8:55 am
 15  Fast Fifteen          Galveston       5:00 pm
 66  California Special    Clovis                      6:45 pm
 15  Texas Chief           Galveston                   7:10 pm
  6  Ranger                Chicago         9:30        9:25 pm


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

  5  Ranger                Chicago         7:40        8:00 am
 65  California Special    Clovis                      8:15 am
 16  Texas Chief           Galveston                   7:55 am
 16  Chicago Express       Galveston       8:45 am
 15  Fast Fifteen          Newton          4:50 pm
 15  Texas Chief           Oklahoma City               7:00 pm     8:30 pm
  6  Ranger                Galveston       9:10        9:10 pm


Passenger service initially retained by Amtrak in 1971, with the Texas Chief.


BURLINGTON ROUTE

(Union Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

  4  Sam Houston Zephyr    Fort Worth      8:30 am     8:35 am
  2  Red Head              Dallas         10:30 am


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

  1  Red Head              Dallas          8:10 pm
  3  Sam Houston Zephyr    Fort Worth      9:00 pm     9:15 pm


Passenger service discontinued in 1966, last train was the Sam Houston Zephyr.


ROCK ISLAND

(Union Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 18  Texas Rocket          Fort Worth      5:00  508   5:00 pm


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 17  Texas Rocket          Fort Worth     12:30  507   1:35 pm


Passenger service discontinued in 1964, last train was the Twin Star Rocket (formerly the Texas Rocket).


MISSOURI PACIFIC

(Union Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

  4  Orleanean             New Orleans     8:50        9:05 am
 11  Valley Eagle          Brownsville     9:40       11:30 am
 22                        Palestine      12:01        4:15 pm
 21                        Galveston       1:40
 26  Texan                 St. Louis       3:00
 15  Pioneer               Brownsville     9:20        9:40 pm
 10  Houstonian            New Orleans     9:30        9:35 pm
 18  Texas Triangle        Fort Worth      9:40
  8  Southerner            Palestine      11:45       11:45 pm


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

  7  Southerner            Palestine       5:45        5:30 am
 17  Texas Triangle        Fort Worth      6:00
 16  Pioneer               Brownsville     7:30        7:30 am
  9  Houstonian            New Orleans     8:05        7:50 am
 25  Texan                 St. Louis       9:29
 22                        Galveston      11:29
 21                        Palestine       1:25       10:40 am
 12  Valley Eagle          Brownsville     6:40        3:25 pm
  3  Orleanean             New Orleans     7:05        6:10 pm


Passenger service discontinued in 1969.

After World War II, several trains were reequipped with streamlined cars, and evolved into the Texas Eagle service.


SOUTHERN PACIFIC

(Grand Central Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

301  (Motor Train)         San Antonio     7:40
  2  Sunset Limited        New Orleans     7:45        8:10 am    12:15 pm
171                        Galveston       8:00
 15  Hustler               Dallas          8:00
 43  (Motor Train)         Austin          8:45
 26  (Motor Train)         Shreveport      9:00
  5  Argonaut              Los Angeles     9:20        8:45 pm
 13  Sunbeam               Dallas          4:45
309  (Motor Train)         Kenedy          5:15
  6  Argonaut              New Orleans     9:40        7:45 pm
303  Border Limited        Corpus Christi  9:40
  1  Sunset Limited        Los Angeles     9:55        7:40 am     8:50 pm
  8  Acadian               New Orleans    10:00    4   9:45 pm
 28                        Shreveport     11:00
 17  Owl                   Dallas         11:30       10:45 pm
 45                        Austin         11:35
  7  Alamo                 San Antonio    11:40


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 46                        Austin          5:45
  8  Alamo                 San Antonio     6:15
 18  Owl                   Dallas          6:30        6:30 am
 27                        Shreveport      7:00
  2  Sunset Limited        Los Angeles     7:15        7:50 am    11:55 pm
304  Border Limited        Corpus Christi  7:20
  3  Acadian               New Orleans     7:30        7:10 am
  5  Argonaut              New Orleans     8:35        8:00 pm
310  (Motor Train)         Kenedy         10:05
 16  Hustler               Dallas          2:05
302  (Motor Train)         San Antonio     4:20
 42  (Motor Train)         Austin          7:20
 25  (Motor Train)         Shreveport      8:35
172                        Galveston       8:50
  6  Argonaut              Los Angeles     9:00        7:00 pm
  1  Sunset Limited        New Orleans     9:15        7:20 am     8:25 pm
 14  Sunbeam               Dallas          9:25


Passenger service retained by Amtrak in 1971, with the Sunset Limited.

In 1960, Southern Pacific moved to a modest new station located to the west, at 902 Washington Ave. Amtrak continues to use that station.


MISSOURI KANSAS TEXAS

(Main Street Station)

Departures



No.  Name                  1942 Dest.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 25  Katy Flyer            Galveston       8:05
 24  Katy Limited          Denison        12:15   22   8:10 am
 26  Katy Flyer            Denison        11:00


Arrivals



No.  Name                  1942 Orig.  1942 Time  1956 Time  1971 Time

 25  Katy Flyer            Denison         7:45
 11  Texas Special         Denison         7:15   21   5:30 pm
 26  Katy Flyer            Galveston      10:00


Passenger service discontinued in 1957, last train was the Texas Special.


STATIONS TODAY

Union Station was served by some Amtrak trains until 1974. Part of Union Station was transformed into part of Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros baseball team. That part of Union Station is at the left field corner of the ballpark.

Grand Central Station was closed in 1960 and demolished. A post office now stands at that location.

Main Street Station was demolished in the 1950's.

Houston Astros
Official Houston Astros Web site, including information on how the restored Union Station presently fits in as part of Minute Maid Park.


MAPPING THE STATIONS AND RAILROADS

Links to locations of past and present stations and railroads, using Google Maps. Satellite views are also available.