March 14, 2024 - Longview News Journal -

Fanfare greeted the return of passenger rail service at every stop in made in East Texas early on March 14, 1974 - 50 years ago Thursday.

Crossing over from Arkansas, the train stopped in Texarkana, Marshall and then Longview. Griff Hubbard, who was tasked with preparing each of those depots for the return of passenger service, recalled that dignitaries from each city would join the train at the previous stop before it arrived in the next city.

In Longview, the afternoon newspaper, The Longview Daily News, described a crowd of 500 to 800 people waiting for the train’s arrival in town shortly before 5 a.m. that day. The Longview High School band performed. 

The Texas Eagle’s 50-year history started on the heels of the creation of what became Amtrak.

Former President Richard Nixon signed the Rail Passenger Service Act on Oct. 30, 1970. That created the National Railroad Passenger Corp., which later became Amtrak. The act tasked the company with the responsibility of providing intercity passenger service.

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Photo credit: Michael Minn