back in the ancient 1950s (August 1959 to be exact), my mother and I rode
trains from Brenham, Texas to Childress, via Houston and then Dallas. I snapped
a few photos with my trusty Kodak Brownie and scanned those to put on this
web page. While the quality is lacking, I found the most interesting shot
to be of the Texas Zephyr at the station in Childress showing what I believe
was an articulated diner. Also shown is the locomotive, an E5, but I wasn't
an official railfan then yet, so I couldn't throw rocks at that auto in front
of the locomotive. I found the April 1959 Burlington timetable for the Texas
Zephyr and Sam Houston Zephyr and included a scan of those at the end of
"Texaszephyr" of the Railspot Group at Yahoo emailed me the following: "The
northbound morning train out of Houston over the BRI was the SAM HOUSTON
ZEPHYR (Train #4) which made connections with the northbound TEXAS ZEPHYR
(Train #2) at Dallas Union Station. You would have arrived in Houston from
Brenham on the CALIFORNIA SPECIAL. This is all very interesting. Although
the SF operated their TEXAS CHIEF direct from Houston to Ft. Worth (where
you could have still made connections with the TZ), the CHIEF did not stop
at Brenham. But the CALIFORNIA SPECIAL did. Because of this strange fact
and because of the schedules of SF trains in and out of Houston, it was easier
for you to ride the train the long way down to Houston, than to wait for
the westbound CALIFORNIA SPECIAL that would have taken you only as far as
Temple where you would have had to wait until the next day's northbound TEXAS
CHIEF. Neat" - Thanks TZ.
August 1959 was the date stamped on the photos, which are enlarged and
enhanced below. This was at Childress, Texas late in the evening and shows
the northbound Texas Zephyr on its way to Denver from Dallas.
Note the articulated car. The car on the right was 'Silver' Something, as were all of the TZ's cars.
An enhanced view of the locomotive, an E-5, but I still can't read any numbers. Anyone have any ideas? ("texaszephyr"
of the Railspot Yahoo Group said the following: "Great photos. Here are a
few points. First, the engine is an E-5. The Burlington never owned any E-6's.
Next, the cars on the TZ are the ex-1936
DENVER ZEPHYR equipment which was sold to the C&S and reassigned (and
re-lettered) for the TZ. Some of these were semi-articulated, some articulated
and some (like the obs) not articulated at all. All Burlington lightweight
cars were "Silver somethings".)
Me (Ken Ziegenbein) in a coach on the Sam Houston Zephyr after it arrived
in Dallas. The seat headrests had "Route of the Rockets" on them and I assume
these cars were run on both the Sam Houston Zephyr and Twin Star Rockets at times. As
you could tell, I was ansy about waiting there to have my picture taken since
our other train, the Texas Zephyr, was waiting at Dallas Union Station.
An email from "texaszephyr' of the Railspot Yahoo Group
said: "As for the "Route of the Rockets" headrest covers, two things. Based
on the times you gave out of Houston this still has to be the SHZ. However
the reason that it may have RI headrest covers was that the SHZ and the TWIN
STAR ROCKET were jointly operated trains south of Dallas (over the ex-BRI,
Joint Texas Division) and these photos may have been taken during the alternating
time period that the CRI&P was operating the line. Both the RI and FW&D
took turns every five years operating the JTD and maybe this was when the
Rock was in charge. (Just a guess). If not, then please recheck your departure
times out of Houston and see if it was late enough in the afternoon to have
been aboard the northbound TWIN STAR. (My bet is that it was the SHZ, just
with RI headrest covers due to who was operating the JTD at the time.)"
(Ken Z - I checked the departure tiime from Houston and it was
definitely in the morning shortly after the SF California Special arrived
from Brenham. I distinctlly remember us going to the ticket counter at Houston
Union Station and hurridly buying the tickets to Childress and that the person
who sold us those tickets didn't mention anything about having to change
trains in Dallas - the conductor on the Sam Houston Zephyr was the one who
told us we had to change trains and that the Texas Zephyr would be on the
adjacent track in Dallas when we got there).
Scene at Houston Union Station in July 1959. (Technical stuff -
I scanned these dark photos in both 256 grayscale and the 'millions of colors'
setting. I noticed on the grayscale setting that I couldn' t see any details
on the rear of the observation cars, but could see more detail with the color
setting - the photos above, both at the Houston station and of the Texas
Zephyr, were thus scanned with the 'millions of colors' setting. The original
photos were, of course, black and white).
LEFT-Union Station in Houston, August 1959. RIGHT-Same at Houston July 1956
I found these shots of the Sam Houston Zephyr sitting at Union Station in
Houston in July 1956. You can seel the steam coming out. Doesn't it make
you want to get on and take a trip? Those were the days!
Below is the April 1959 timetable for the Texas Zephyr and Sam Houston Zephyr: