After riding the Missouri River Runner to St. Louis, the next order of business was to use the Texas Eagle by Amtrak to get to Dallas. This train is much bigger and it is made for long haul trips…. all the way to Los Angeles.
It starts with a long layover in St. Louis at their Gateway terminal that is shared with Greyhound. Five hours later, I was boarding the train to bound for the great state of Texas. There is not much at that terminal and nothing is really close by, either. There was a Pizza Hut express and a KFC express in the terminal for seriously over priced meals that are smaller than the normal stores.
To past the time, I just used the wifi that Amtrak’s offers in the terminal (doesn’t work but in the direct waiting area) and waited for the Texas Eagle to arrive from Chicago where it started. The good news is the train got there a few minutes early.
I will say boarding this train was a little different than it was from Kansas City. The conductor formed a line in the terminal and checked everyone’s ticket and made each person’s show their ID. That took some time but people just did like he asked of them.
My Experience on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle
After getting on the train, I found a seat that did not have anyone in the other one so I could lay down overnight. The seat in general are very spacey but I wanted two of them to relax even more. Shortly after getting on, one of the employees came by and put “DAL” on a card by my seat so they knew where I got off.
Then, I slept.
The next morning, I woke up shortly before we arrived at Marshall, TX. I had hoped to get up earlier but for some reason, I thought sleeping was a better idea. It was in Marshall that Amtrak changes the staff and drivers of Texas Eagle so it takes a little time to get that done.
It is also in Marshall that they come around to make sure everyone has a ticket again and they got off where they said they would. It is not a big issue but it did mean that I had to go find my ticket in my seat.
After that, it was to the observation car for the rest of the trip. This is a car that has nothing but windows on both sides and you can see everything as you pass. This is, by far, my favorite part of being on an Amtrak train.
Being that Texas Eagle was just a few hours from Dallas, I waited until I was there to get some food. I find that Amtrak charges way too much for their food items on the train! Normally, I bring some food with me from home but this trip, that didn’t happen.
At about 11:30 in the morning, I walked out of the train into the Union Station in Dallas.
Tips for traveling on Texas Eagle
The only thing I found very disappointing is that they did not have the wifi on board working. This is not the end of the world because it was just an overnight trip but if I was going to Chicago to Los Angeles that is over two days; that would have become more of a problem.
With that being said, I would highly suggest downloading some movies or something to watch while on the trip. Because every row has 120V plugins, you can charge your laptop and play some Call of Duty to pass the time… if you are not a gamer, a good movie you downloaded would be a smart idea as well.
The other main tip that I would suggest is to bring some food and drinks with you from the store. Everything on board is severely overpriced and small in the offering. I bought a gallon of sweet tea that costed less than a small bottle did on the train.
The only other tip that I tell you is make sure you get an upper level seat. They are better for watching the landscapes of America pass by as you go down the tracks. If you can’t, being able to spend the day in the observation car is a smart move.
The final one is don’t travel on a holiday (like I did). Downtown Dallas is basically closed down and finding food is next to impossible.
Amtrak (Texas Eagle) vs Greyhound
A common decade would be using Texas Eagle by Amtrak or taking a Greyhound bus. You can even throw into the mix getting a budget flight from Southwest Airlines that is headquartered in Dallas. The truth is that all of them were within $15 of each other when I booked my ticket online.
I have nothing against Greyhound (I do use them) but in the decade with Amtrak is almost laughable. Everything that I love about the Texas Eagle is not offered by the bus company. I only use the bus when the train does not go there or there is a huge price difference.
As far as time in transition, it is about the same too. Greyhound left an hour and a half before Texas Eagle by Amtrak and arrived 20 minutes before in Dallas. There would have been an hour layover in Oklahoma City in the middle of the night with them too!
As far as flying down from Kansas City, I seriously considered it. I just wanted to see the country for a change and I am not a huge fan of flying when there are decent options. The whole world looks the same at 33,000 feet!
The only advantage I could see to flying down would be add up flyer miles for a long trip. However, that does not even really make sense because Amtrak has a Guest Rewards program themselves!
All in all, using the Texas Eagle by Amtrak just makes sense!