Lone Star (Amtrak)
The Lone Star was an Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 passenger train serving Chicago, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Houston and intermediate points. From Amtrak's inception in 1971 until March 1974, the train was known as the Texas Chief, as it had been under the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway , often abbreviated as Santa Fe, was one of the larger railroads in the United States. The company was first chartered in February 1859...

. The name change was prompted by the AT&SF's determination that Amtrak's trains no longer met its service standards and so required Amtrak to stop using the Chief name. The Lone Star name was first used by the St. Louis Southwestern Railway
St. Louis Southwestern Railway
The St. Louis Southwestern Railway , known by its nickname of "The Cotton Belt Route" or simply Cotton Belt, was organized on January 15, 1891, although it had its origins in a series of short lines founded in Tyler, Texas, in 1870 that connected northeastern Texas to Arkansas and southeastern...

 for a passenger train operating between St. Louis, Memphis and Dallas. The original Lone Star
Lone Star (SSW passenger train)
The Lone Star was a passenger train operated by St. Louis Southwestern Railway between Memphis, and Dallas, with through connections via Cotton Belt parent, Southern Pacific, for San Antonio, El Paso, and ultimately Los Angeles. there was also through cars operating between Memphis, Lewisville and...

 was discontinued in 1952.


The original Texas Chief's route ran from Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, to Galveston, Texas
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

 via Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

, Wichita
Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area...

, Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 31st among United States cities in population. The city's population, from the 2010 census, was 579,999, with a metro-area population of 1,252,987 . In 2010, the Oklahoma...

, Fort Worth
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

, and Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 until early 1967, when the train's run was truncated in Houston. From 1955 until 1968 a section would cut off at Gainesville, Texas
Gainesville, Texas
Gainesville is a city in and the county seat of Cooke County, Texas, United States. The population was 15,538 at the 2000 census.-History:...

 to serve Denton, Texas
Denton, Texas
The city of Denton is the county seat of Denton County, Texas in the United States. Its population was 119,454 according to the 2010 U.S. Census, making it the eleventh largest city in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex...

 and Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

. Initially Amtrak ran the Texas Chief as a Chicago-Kansas City-Fort Worth-Houston service; Amtrak considered a Dallas routing but rejected it because of concerns over the Dallas station. While a Dallas routing remained a priority, Amtrak was unable to add that service until July 1, 1975, after the train had become the Lone Star. Between October 1976 and February 15, 1977, the Lone Star was combined with the Southwest Limited
Southwest Limited
The name Southwest Limited has been used by the following American passenger trains:*a Chicago-Los Angeles train operated by Amtrak, and now known as the Southwest Chief...

(Chicago-Los Angeles) between Chicago and Kansas City, temporarily eliminating the Dallas through cars.


The original Texas Chief was inaugurated as a coach and Pullman
Sleeping car
The sleeping car or sleeper is a railway/railroad passenger car that can accommodate all its passengers in beds of one kind or another, primarily for the purpose of making nighttime travel more restful. The first such cars saw sporadic use on American railroads in the 1830s and could be configured...

 train on April 3, 1948.

At Amtrak's inception, the Texas Chief operated Chicago-Houston. It inherited the Hi-level (bilevel) chair cars from the former San Francisco Chief
San Francisco Chief
The San Francisco Chief was a named passenger train operated by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway as Nos. 1 & 2 from June 6, 1954 to May 1, 1971. It covered the Santa Fe line from near San Francisco, California to Barstow, California, then east to Chicago, Illinois via the Belen cutoff....

, which had been discontinued at that same time. The train operated separately from the Super Chief
Super Chief
The Super Chief was one of the named passenger trains and the flagship of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. It was often referred to as "The Train of the Stars" because of the many celebrities who traveled on the streamliner between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California.The Super...

(renamed the Southwest Limited
Southwest Limited
The name Southwest Limited has been used by the following American passenger trains:*a Chicago-Los Angeles train operated by Amtrak, and now known as the Southwest Chief...

in 1974 and now known as the Southwest Chief
Southwest Chief
The Southwest Chief is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on a 2256-mile BNSF route through the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. It runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, passing through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California...

) along their shared route from Chicago to Newton, Kansas
Newton, Kansas
Newton is a city in and the county seat of Harvey County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 19,132. Newton is located north of Wichita and is included in the Wichita metropolitan statistical area...


A number of colleges and universities along the route—including the University of Kansas
University of Kansas
The University of Kansas is a public research university and the largest university in the state of Kansas. KU campuses are located in Lawrence, Wichita, Overland Park, and Kansas City, Kansas with the main campus being located in Lawrence on Mount Oread, the highest point in Lawrence. The...

, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Wichita State University
Wichita State University
Wichita State University is a NCAA Division I public university in Wichita, Kansas with selective admissions. WSU is one of six state universities governed by the Kansas Board of Regents. The current president is Dr. Donald Beggs....

, University of Oklahoma
University of Oklahoma
The University of Oklahoma is a coeducational public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. Founded in 1890, it existed in Oklahoma Territory near Indian Territory for 17 years before the two became the state of Oklahoma. the university had 29,931 students enrolled, most located at its...

 -- provided students looking for economical transportation.

Amtrak cutbacks of 1979

Due to cuts ordered by the US Department of Transportation
United States Department of Transportation
The United States Department of Transportation is a federal Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967...

, Amtrak's Lone Star was discontinued on October 9, 1979. At the time of its discontinuance, the train was ranked as Amtrak's 7th most popular long-distance train.

Chicago-Houston service continued in the form of a section of the Chicago-Laredo Inter-American
Inter-American (Amtrak)
The Inter-American was a passenger train operated by Amtrak between Chicago, Illinois to Laredo, Texas. Its route changed over time and was eventually replaced by the Eagle.- History :...

that split from the train in Temple, Texas
Temple, Texas
Temple is a city in Bell County, Texas, United States. Located near the county seat of Belton, Temple lies in the region referred to as Central Texas. Located off Interstate 35, Temple is 65 miles north of Austin and 34 miles south of Waco. In the 2010 Census, Temple's population was 66,102, an...

. This left Oklahoma without passenger rail service until 1999.

Current status of route

In 1999, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation contracted with Amtrak to run the Oklahoma City to Fort Worth Heartland Flyer
Heartland Flyer
The Heartland Flyer is a daily passenger train that follows a 206-mile route between Fort Worth, Texas and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Amtrak serves as contractor, initially only for the State of Oklahoma, but now also to the State of Texas....

. The train provides connecting service at Fort Worth to Amtrak's Texas Eagle
Texas Eagle
The Texas Eagle is a 1306-mile passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the central and western United States. Trains run daily between Chicago, Illinois, and San Antonio, Texas, and continue to Los Angeles, California, 2728 miles total, three days a week...


Of the original Texas Chief/Lone Star route, only sections from Newton, Kansas, to Oklahoma City, and Temple, Texas to Houston and Galveston remain without passenger train service in 2009.
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