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Of all the possible tugster variants, I’d never expected this mutation, but I hope you’re enjoying this traxcentric report on a journey as much as I’m enjoying the journey.  This part 5 is based on three [technically two] Amtrak segments from Alpine TX to Oklahoma City OK, i.e., Sunset Limited, Texas Eagle and Heartland Express.  

The 835 pm Sunset Limited was delayed, in part by wild weather in its starting point, LA.  It was dark through to San Antonio, where my coach was rebranded the Texas Eagle.

It took me a while to “get” the landscape, but when we passed a HUGE hobo camp along the rails just south of Austin, my focus returned.  I’d heard of homelessness in Austin; I’d also recently read Lawrence Wright’s New Yorker article on booming times in the same city.  The dissonance provoked reflection.  Were hobos ever called homeless?  Do we just rename things generation to generation and miss any sort of fix?  Is there a fix?  What ended the Hoovervilles and hobo camps of several generations back?  The train moves quickly, and now I wish I’d snapped pics of the elaborate hobo complexes along the tracks that appeared and then were gone.

By the way, the building is Block 185. The river is the other Colorado, not the one that created the Grand Canyon.  Lots of kayakers enjoyed the warm day.

As the Texas Eagle soars northward, we pass Hutto and 

Taylor. Remember, this is a traxcentric perspective, and I was pleased by the amount of old iron on display in stations. 

Also, I snapped photos using subjective impulse.  So these are from Moody

McGregor [which has a SpaceX presence], 


and the outskirts now of Fort Worth.  Someone else would have snapped other views. Taking this trip is obviously illustrating the vastness of this country past and present.  Check out that “Fort Worth” link for a hint of what I mean.

Here I debarked the Texas Eagle to board the Heartland Flyer.  Hat tip to the folks at Amtrak who came up with these evocative names.

For those who watch, sights abound at the transfer points. So ends segment 5 for me;  once I’m aboard the Heartland Flyer, it’s segment 6 of the 10 max allowed by the railpass.

The population of Haslet has grown 700% since 1970.

As the sun descends, we arrive in Ardmore, which means we’re in Oklahoma.  Along the track, the town features grain elevators with murals and 

oil industry.

Night falls, the Heartland Express has reached its terminus . . . the heart of the heartland, I suppose.  I walked across the street to my lodging, fatigued after a 24-hour jaunt station-to-station, ALP to OKC in Amtrak-speak.

Thanks for riding along and perusing my subjectively chosen set of snapshots.  I appreciate your comments here or in email. In late summer 1986, I had a Eurail Pass and did something similar–although sans social media–from Greece to Norway and then back to Amsterdam.

I will get back to tugsterfare at some point soon, with some exciting plans for the late spring and summer. 



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