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This scene depicts Southern Pacifics Grand Central Station in Houston as it appeared in the last days, the end of the age of steam.

The Sunbeam, circa 1937.

The Sunbeam was re-equipped on September 19, 1937 as a streamlined train in the Daylight paint scheme. The T&NO streamlined three P-14 class 4-6-2 Pacific locomotives and painted them and their Vanderbilt tenders in Daylight colors.

Initial streamliner schedule over the 264 miles was 4 hours 45 minutes. Beginning June 1, 1938 the train made no passenger stops between the two largest cities in Texas, and the schedule was trimmed by twenty minutes to 4 hours 25 minutes (265 minutes) each way. The schedule was intended to match the competition, the Burlington-Rock Island's Texas Rocket and Sam Houston Zephyr that ran 249.6 miles between Houston and Dallas in 250 minutes.

The Sunbeam operated in tandem with its slower sibling, the Hustler. In August 1938 the streamlined Hustler left each city at 8:00 am and arrived at 2:00 pm, having made most local stops. Each consist then returned as the Sunbeam, leaving Houston at 4:45 pm and Dallas at 5:00 pm. By 1941 flag stops at Ennis and College Station had been added to the Sunbeam's schedule, but the 265-minute schedule continued into the 1950s.

With the advent of T&NO/SP's Diesel locomotive fleet postwar, ALCO PAs were often assigned to the Sunbeam. In 1954 the Hustler was discontinued; in January 1955 the Sunbeam left Houston in the morning and returned from Dallas on its afternoon schedule. It was discontinued later that year.

Equipment ca. 1950
Train 13—STREAMLINED SUNBEAM. Daily.
All Cars Air-Conditioned.
Chair Cars...Houston to Dallas.
Parlor Car...Houston to Dallas (operated by Southern Pacific). Car 130.
Diner-Lounge-Observation Car...Houston to Dallas. Car 131.
All seats in parlor car on the SUNBEAM must be reserved in advance.

Train 14—STREAMLINED SUNBEAM. Daily.
All Cars Air-Conditioned.
Chair Cars...Dallas to Houston.
Parlor Car...Dallas to Houston (operated by Southern Pacific). Car 140.
Diner-Lounge-Observation Car...Dallas to Houston. Car 141.
All seats in parlor car on the SUNBEAM must be reserved in advance.

Train 15—Hustler. Daily—With Streamlined Equipment.
All Cars Air-Conditioned.
Chair Cars...Houston to Dallas.
Observation-Lounge-Dining Car (Economy priced Coffee Shop Service)...Houston to Dallas. Car 150.
All seats in Observation-Lounge Car on The Hustler must be reserved in advance (operated by Southern Pacific).
Train 16—Hustler. Daily—With Streamlined Equipment.
All Cars Air-Conditioned.
Chair Cars...Dallas to Houston.
Observation-Lounge-Dining Car (Economy priced Coffee Shop Service)...Dallas to Houston. Car 160.
All seats in Observation-Lounge Car on The Hustler must be reserved in advance (operated by Southern Pacific).

The Texas and New Orlean's beautiful Sunbeam.
The Sunbeam, circa 1937.

The Texas and New Orlean's beautiful "Sunbeam."

This scene depicts Southern Pacific's Grand Central Station in Houston as it appeared in the last days, the "end of the age of steam". The Southern Pacific's "Sunbeam" train No. 13 northbound headed by Engine No. 650 - a streamlined Pacific type 4-6-2 locomotive - departs from the terminal on its run to Dallas at 4:45 PM on August 9, 1953.   Plummer, Roger S. ["Sunbeam" departing from Houston], photograph, August 9, 1953; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28882/: accessed June 14, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the American Railroad.

The Sunbeam - Hustler

The Sunbeam was a named passenger train between Houston and Dallas on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad (T&NO), a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP). The train carried number 13 northbound and number 14 southbound.

It began in 1925 as a heavyweight train. In June 1926 it took 6-1/2 hours each way, leaving Houston at noon and Dallas at 1:25pm; in August 1937 it scheduled fifteen regular and flag stops in the 6-1/2 hour run. The Sunbeam was re-equipped on September 19, 1937 as a streamlined train in the Daylight paint scheme. The T&NO streamlined three P-14 class 4-6-2 Pacific locomotives and painted them and their Vanderbilt tenders in Daylight colors.

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