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The Texas Chief was a passenger train operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway between Chicago, Illinois, and Galveston, Texas. It was the first Santa Fe "Chief" outside the Chicago–Los Angeles routes. The Santa Fe conveyed the Texas Chief to Amtrak in 1971, which renamed it the Lone Star in 1974. The train was taken off in 1979.

Texas Chief
Texas Chief (15032008214).jpg
The Dallas section of the Texas Chief in 1964
Service typeInter-city rail
First serviceApril 3, 1948
Last serviceMay 19, 1974
SuccessorLone Star
Former operator(s)
StartChicago, Illinois
EndGalveston, Texas



Santa FeEdit

The Santa Fe introduced the Texas Chief on April 3, 1948. The train competed with the Texas Eagle (Missouri Pacific Railroad) and the Texas Special (Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad/St. Louis–San Francisco Railway). The journey from Chicago to Galveston required 26 hours 15 minutes, ten hours faster the previous service on the route. Service to Dallas, Texas, began in 1955. Patronage was strong; historian Keith L. Bryant Jr. credited the Texas Chief with causing the withdrawal of the Texas Special.[1] The Texas Chief was the first major train outside the Chicago–Los Angeles route to carry the "Chief" moniker popularized by the Chief and Super Chief.[2]


The general decline in passenger traffic in the 1960s led to cutbacks on the Texas Chief. Service south of Houston, Texas, ended in April 1967. The Dallas section ended on August 4, 1968.[3]

Amtrak retained the Texas Chief between Chicago and Houston.[3] In 1973 Amtrak proposed re-routing the Texas Chief to serve Dallas. This new route would use the Southern Pacific between Dallas and Houston. Opposition from the SP killed the plan.[4] In 1974 the Santa Fe withdrew permission to use the name due to a perceived decline in service, so Amtrak renamed it the Lone Star.[5]

Rolling stockEdit

The Texas Chief debuted with new equipment, including coaches, Pullman sleeping cars, a dining car, and a lounge.[1] In 1966 the Santa Fe assigned its 10 new GE U28CG diesel locomotives to the Texas Chief.[6] After 1968 excess Hi-Level coaches from the El Capitan and San Francisco Chief could be found on the Texas Chief, along with Big Dome full-length dome lounges from the discontinued Chief.[7][8]

The Texas Chief featured a wide variety of equipment during its short Amtrak tenure. In addition to ex-Santa Fe equipment such as Hi-Level coaches and Big Domes, Amtrak assigned Vista-Dome dormitory-buffet-lounge-observation cars from the former California Zephyr.[9]


  1. ^ a b Bryant 1974, p. 350
  2. ^ Yenne 2005, p. 93
  3. ^ a b Sanders 2006, p. 107
  4. ^ Smith 1974, p. 83
  5. ^ Sanders 2006, p. 109
  6. ^ EuDaly 2009, p. 218
  7. ^ Flick & Kogan 1999, p. 22
  8. ^ Wayner 1972, p. 196
  9. ^ Sanders 2006, p. 119


  • Bryant, Jr., Keith L. (1974). History of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-6066-0.
  • EuDaly, Kevin; et al. (2009). The Complete Book of North American Railroading. Minneapolis: Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-0-7603-2848-4. OCLC 209631579.
  • Flick, Michael W.; Kogan, Dennis (1999). "Santa Fe's Hi-Level Passenger Cars". Warbonnet. 5 (3).
  • Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34705-3.
  • Smith, Jr., Griffin (August 1974). "Waiting For The Train". Texas Monthly. 2 (8).
  • Wayner, Robert J., ed. (1972). Car Names, Numbers and Consists. New York: Wayner Publications. OCLC 8848690.
  • Yenne, Bill (2005). Santa Fe Chiefs. Saint Paul, Minnesota: MBI. ISBN 978-0-7603-1848-5.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit