Allow me to tie up the loose ends of my previous entry on this topic:
I did what I should have done earlier, I paged over to the Missouri Pacific timetables for more details:
It’s not a thru train from St. Louis to Mexico, nor are there any thru cars, but rather these are two trains operating end to end.
The (southbound) # 21 section (does that number sound familiar Amtrak fans?) of the “Texas Eagle” (details about the T.E. train to follow) terminates at San Antonio, and any passengers on it, that are going on to Laredo or Mexico have to change trains. The train to/thru Mexico, appears to be a joint operation of the National Railway of Mexico, which supplies most of the equipment, and the Missouri Pacific which supplies the lounge-diner. No way to tell from the timetable as to whose mode of power and crew is used between San Antonio and the border. The two sleepers that were shown as “thru sleepers” on the NR of M timetable, are NOT thru sleepers in the usual sense, i.e. they weren’t on the “TE” train from St. Louis to San Antonio. This train, south from San Antonio, is referred to as the # 21 “Sunshine Special”, but it should not be confused with the M.P. train, the # 31 “Sunshine Special” (#32 northbound) which arrives in San Antonio about five hours later than the “Texas Eagle”, even though it departed St. Louis only five minutes after the “Texas Eagle”.
In the process of investigating the above question, I became intrigued by the complex operation of the “Texas Eagle”. I shall address this in terms of the South/West Bound run, and you can extrapolate the North/East Bound run.
Upon leaving St. Louis, the “Texas Eagle” is three sections: # 1 St. Louis to Dallas & Ft. Worth to El Paso, # 21 St. Louis to San Antonio, and # 21-25, St. Louis to Houston-Galveston. In addition there’s a feeder train from Memphis, whose thru cars are attached at Little Rock.
Out of St. Louis, this train would have been a railfan’s dream: It carried 10 sleeping cars, six of which are thru cars from eastern routes (MP-StL to Ft. Worth; MP-StL to Galveston; 2-MP- StL to San Antonio, plus, PRR – NYC to Ft. Worth; PRR – NYC to El Paso; B&O – Wash. To Ft. Worth; PRR – Wash. To Houston; PRR – NYC to Houston; and PRR – NYC to San Antonio) while the two additional sleeping cars from Memphis, added at Little Rock are bound for Houston and Ft. Worth. Besides a host of coaches (probably six) there’s a dining car going to Ft. Worth, and two diner-lounge cars destined for Houston and San Antonio. Apparently to eliminate that confusion, there’s no baggage service.
At Texarkana, the #1 section is separated from the two #21 sections, and its operation is taken over by the Texas Pacific RR. Both of these two parts continue to follow the same route, at slightly different schedules, until Longview, where the #1 section heads west on the T.P. mainline. Running slightly ahead of the #1 section west from Longview is the TP’s # 1“Louisiana Eagle, coming from New Orleans. They both arrive at Dallas, and the appropriate thru cars from each are combined for the short run to Ft. Worth. West from Ft. Worth, for the daylight run to El Paso, the #1 (as a joint MP & TP train) is only coaches except for the lone PPR thru sleeper. Although the “Texas Eagle” timetable shows a termination in Los Angeles, this actually requires an overnight stay in El Paso, and a boarding of the S.P. Argonaut in the morning – there’s no thru M.P. equipment to Los Angeles. However the T.P. offers a thru sleeper from Dallas to Los Angeles, departing on their train # 5, which leaves about eight hours after the “TE” arrives.
Meanwhile, the two #21 sections of the “Texas Eagle” continue south from Longview, and the # 21-25 section headed for Houston-Galveston, splits off at Palestine. That leaves the # 21 to continue south to San Antonio, where the #21 “Sunshine Special” train is waiting for its transfer passengers going to Mexico.
Keep in mind that this is February of 1949, and no doubt this route went through many variations before and after that time. However, this railway guide is the only document that this Wisconsinite has in his collection that references the Missouri Pacific.
And Amtrak thinks it has its hands full with its connections at San Antonio, or Spokane, etc.