The Oldest Railroad In The U.S Still Brings People Together

The Sunset Limited is America’s oldest train line running continuously between New Orleans and Los Angeles since 1894. It was America’s second transcontinental route, and the only suspension of operations happened in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The railroad, the train, and the journey itself encompass all that United States stands for perseverance, strength, and journeying together.


Its former name was the Sunset Express, an all-sleeper train operated by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Today, it has been acquired by Armtrak and poses a modern interior resembling the current trends of passenger trainers.


However, much history, nostalgia, and charm still connect the entire country. It’s also played a major role in shaping America to become what it is today. People connect and travel through the bayous of New Orleans and the deserts and mountains that make up the south.


At one time, it was the fastest mode of transportation, ending a full journey in 4 days. Today, it’s one of the slowest, and still, people choose to travel via Sunset Limited.


Sunset Limited would go as far as San Fransisco in its initial days. The Sunset route was and continues to be operational year-round.

Before flying made traveling much more convenient, this route saved passengers the hassle of spending days stuck in the snow and the Rockies. It was the perfect shortcut to the West Coast as compared to the other routes via Chicago and St. Louis.


As of now, the train traverses through swamps and dense forests, providing respite from harsh and cold December winds. You can see the passing scenery in this double-decker through floor-to-roof windows.

There are bunk beds to lounge in and a dining car to bring people together over some food. People comment on what they see outside whether it’s an alligator or the vast expanse of land.


Even the desert is a powerful reminder of how big and beautiful this country is. The ride follows through Mississippi parallel to the Gulf of Mexico, on to Texas, San Antonio, Arizona, and concludes at Los Angeles. Runaways, artists, old couples, and academics all come together. Some become friends, while others drop off at their stations, never to speak to each other again.


The train has its own life that touches each one of its passengers. It’s a safe passage for all sorts of people from different economic and ideological backgrounds. The versatility and peaceful co-existence that defines this train seeps into its passengers, giving them the journey of a lifetime.


They may not have much in common, but they all agree that America is more than meets the eye. It’s a special country, and that macro perspective just makes everybody aware of the wonderful opportunity it is to be here.


The Sunset Limited is every American’s opportunity to spend days on the road, soaking in different cultures. It’s a window into the past to see how train rides influenced pop culture and its significance to the nation’s infrastructure.


It costs time and money, but Sunset Limited is doing a good job of bringing people together. It gives them one direction to move towards for a few days, enough to remind the passengers there is so much to look forward to together.