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Sunset Limited

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Dec 15, 2021

The Sunset Limited is an Amtrakpassenger train that for most of its history has run between New Orleans and Los Angeles, over the nation’s second transcontinental route. However, up until Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it ran between Orlando and Los Angeles, and from 1993 to 1996, continued on to Miami (via the Silver Meteors route). It is the oldest continuously operating named train in the United States, introduced in 1894 by the Southern Pacific Railroad, and acquired by Amtrak upon its formation in 1971.

Amtrak service between Los Angeles and New Orleans

This article is about the passenger train. For the Cormac McCarthy play, see The Sunset Limited. For the film based on the play, see The Sunset Limited (film).

This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2019)
Sunset Limited

The Sunset Limited eastbound in Florida in 2004
Overview
Service type Long Distance
Status Operating
Locale Southern United States
First service 1894
Current operator(s) Amtrak
Former operator(s) Southern Pacific (1894–1971)
Ridership 92,827 (FY2019)[1]
Route
Start Los Angeles, California
Stops 20
End New Orleans, Louisiana
Distance travelled 1,995 mi (3,211 km)
Average journey time 46 hours and 28 minutes
Service frequency Three round trips per week
Train number(s) 1 (westbound)
2 (eastbound)
On-board services
Class(es) Reserved coach and Superliner Sleeping accommodations
Disabled access Yes
Seating arrangements Reserved Coach Seat
Superliner Lower Level Coach Seats
Sleeping arrangements Superliner Roomette
Family Bedroom
Superliner Bedroom
Superliner Bedroom Suite
Superliner Accessible Bedroom
Catering facilities Dining car
Cafe car
Observation facilities Sightseer Lounge
Baggage facilities Checked baggage available at selected stations
Technical
Rolling stock Superliners
Track gauge

4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)

Operating speed 79 miles per hour (127 km/h) maximum
44 miles per hour (71 km/h) average (including stops)
Track owner(s) Los Angeles–Lake Charles:UP
Lake Charles–New Orleans: BNSF
Route map

4321 mi
6954 km

Service suspended

4321 mi
6954 km

Sunset Limited
service suspended

 

Silver Service
continue

Orlando
Winter Park
Sanford
Deland
Palatka
Jacksonville
Lake City
Madison
Tallahassee
Chipley
Crestview
Pensacola

FL
AL

Atmore
Mobile

AL
MS

Pascagoula
Biloxi
Gulfport
Bay St. Louis

MS
LA

0 mi
New Orleans

55 mi
89 km

Schriever

127 mi
204 km

New Iberia

145 mi
233 km

Lafayette

219 mi
352 km

Lake Charles

LA
TX

330 mi
531 km

Beaumont

362 mi
583 km

Houston

572 mi
921 km

San Antonio

742 mi
1194 km

Del Rio

867 mi
1395 km

Sanderson

959 mi
1543 km

Alpine

1177 mi
1894 km

El Paso

TX
NM

1265 mi
2036 km

Deming

1325 mi
2132 km

Lordsburg

NM
AZ

1443 mi
2322 km

Benson

1493 mi
2403 km

Tucson
Pre-1996 route

4321 mi
6954 km

4321 mi
6954 km

Coolidge 
Tempe
Phoenix

1579 mi
2541 km

Maricopa

1744 mi
2807 km

Yuma
Indio

closed
1998

1889 mi
3040 km

Palm Springs

1956 mi
3148 km

Ontario

1963 mi
3159 km

Pomona

Alhambra

closed
1975

1995 mi
3211 km

Los Angeles

This diagram:

Along with the Cardinal, this train is one of Amtrak’s two long-distance services which operate just three days a week.[2] Consequently, the Sunset Limited carried the third-fewest passengers of any Amtrak train in fiscal year 2019, 92,827, a 4.4% decrease over FY2018. It had a total revenue of $10,769,179 in 2016, marking a 7.5% decrease over FY2015.[3][4]

. . . Sunset Limited . . .

This section does not cite any sources. (August 2021)
Amtrak Sunset Limited (interactive map)

For most of its existence, the Sunset Limited route was owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. The name Sunset Limited traces its origins to the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway, a Southern Pacific subsidiary which was known as the Sunset Route as early as 1874.

Most of the current route from New Orleans westward is now owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, which acquired Southern Pacific in 1996. However, the route within Louisiana and some of Texas was partially sold to BNSF Railway[5] in 1995 in return for BNSF not objecting to the UP-SP merger.

On the portion of the route east of New Orleans, service was suspended after Hurricane Katrina. Those tracks, between New Orleans and Florida, include parts of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad, the Seaboard Air Line Railroad, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad—all now owned by CSX Transportation. Currently, the segment of the former Atlantic Coast Line Railroad between DeLand and Orlando is owned by Orlando’s commuter service SunRail.

The train uses the following route segments, identified here by the names of their original owners:

Route Original owner Current owner
New OrleansLafayette, Louisiana Morgan’s Louisiana and Texas Railroad and Steamship Company (SP) BNSF / UP[5]
LafayetteLake Charles, Louisiana Louisiana Western Railroad (SP)
Lake CharlesOrange, Texas UP
OrangeHouston, Texas Texas and New Orleans Railroad (SP)
HoustonEl Paso, Texas Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway (SP)
El PasoLos Angeles, California Southern Pacific Railroad

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