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Amtrak Route Scrapbooks

Sunset Limited

amtk_route_SunsetLimited The Sunset Limited is a three-times-a-week passenger train operated by Amtrak over a route between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Los Angeles, California -- the nation's second transcontinental route and a distance of nearly 2000 miles. Trains #1 and #2 retain both the name and (essentially) the route of the Southern Pacific Railroad's most famous daily train -- the oldest named train in the country, dating back to 1894. The name Sunset Limited traces its origins to the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway, which was known as the Sunset Route as early as 1874. The Sunset Route was the southernmost of the three gateways to the west coast envisioned through the Transcontinental Railroad Act. The other two were Chicago and St. Louis, but the Sunset Route was an all-season route and did not have to face significant mountain ranges on its trek to the Pacific. Southern Pacific ran a diminished Sunset until 1971 and the creation of Amtrak. Starting in 1993, Amtrak extended the Sunset's route eastward from New Orleans all the way ot Jacksonville, making the route Amtrak's only true transcontinental line. However, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused significant damage to the Florida trackage owned by CSX Transportation, and the Sunset's terminus was returned to New Orleans.
The Sunset Limited whisks you 1,995 miles from America's Most Interesting City, New Orleans, through the bayous of Louisiana, the huge Heart of Texas, the storied West and beyond -- to the home of the Hollywood Western, Los Angeles. While many transcontinental rail lines were forged from east to west, the Sunset had its beginnings in California. The link you are traveling was the second such route, completed in 1883. Eleven years later, its passengers could disembark in New Orleans and continue east by sea on railroad-owned passenger steamers. So sit back and enjoy sunlit marvels of color and unobstructed splendor, for just as a sunset is so much more than just an astronomical event, so too are the pictures painted in your window. The sun will eventually set on your trip, but the afterglow will last forever.



Sunset route map / web


1959 timetable


Links / Sources

This page was updated on 2016-10-25