Sunbeam (passenger train)

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Southern Pacific Sunbeam.JPG
Depiction of the streamlined train.
Type Inter-city rail
System Texas and New Orleans Railroad
(Southern Pacific)
Termini Houston, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Opening 1925
Closed 1955
Line length 264 miles (425 km)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Depiction of the streamlined train circa 1937.

The Sunbeam was a named passenger train operated from 1925 to 1955 between Houston and Dallas by the Texas and New Orleans Railroad (T&NO), a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP).[1][2] The train was designated number 13 northbound, and number 14 southbound.

Originally a heavyweight train, the Sunbeam was re-equipped on September 19, 1937 as a streamlined train sporting the Daylight paint scheme of parent Southern Pacific’s other named passenger trains. For motive power, the T&NO streamlined three P-14 class 4-6-2 Pacific locomotives and painted them and their Vanderbilt tenders in Daylight colors.

Initially, the streamlined Sunbeam was scheduled over the 264-mile route in 4 hours, 45 minutes. Beginning June 1, 1938, the schedule became non-stop between the two largest cities in Texas, and the scheduled time was trimmed by twenty minutes to 4 hours, 25 minutes (265 minutes) in each direction. This fast schedule was designed to meet the mile-a-minute timing of its competitors, the Burlington-Rock Island's Texas Rocket and Sam Houston Zephyr.

The Sunbeam operated in tandem with its slower sibling, the Hustler: "The two sets of equipment were dispatched from each terminal in the morning as the Hustler, making all local stops along the way. Then, at the end of the line, they were turned and sent back as the mile-a-minute Sunbeam express."[3] By 1950, flag stops at Ennis and College Station had been added to the Sunbeam's schedule.

With the advent of T&NO/SP's Diesel locomotive fleet in the postwar period, ALCO PA locomotives were often assigned to the Sunbeam.[4] The Hustler was discontinued in 1954, and the Sunbeam in 1955.


  1. ^ "A Brief History of Railroads in Dallas". Dallas Railroad Museum. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  2. ^ "The Argonaut". The Louisiana Rail Site. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  3. ^ Bowen, Eric H. "Streamliner Schedules". Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  4. ^ Solomon, Brian (1999). Southern Pacific Railroad. MBI Publishing. p. 115. ISBN 0-7603-0614-1. 

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