Missouri Pacific's "Valley Eagle" train No. 11, southbound, headed by diesel locomotive No. 8005 , departing from Houston Union Station, enroute to Brownsville, Texas on the morning of July 12, 1953. (Plummer, Roger S. ["Valley Eagle" departing from Houston]photographJuly 12,1953; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth28764/m1/1/accessed April 12, 2023), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Museum of the American Railroad.)



The Valley Eagle was a named streamlined passenger train of the Missouri Pacific Railroad that began in 1948. It ran from Houston, Texas's Union Station to Brownsville, Texas at the Mexico–United States border with a second section to Corpus Christi. It first carried the numbers No. 11 south and No. 12 northbound and in later years carried the number of No. 321 south and No. 322 heading north.

It made coordinated connections in Houston with trains from St. Louis (Texas Eagle Nos. 21/22), from Memphis (Nos. 201/202) and from New Orleans (Houstonian Nos. 309/310). The Valley Eagle had its final run in 1962.


Night train counterpart

The Missouri Pacific Railroad also operated the Pioneer, a night train counterpart that outlasted the Valley Eagle. After the Pioneer lost its sleeping car and its name, it continued to 1965 or 1966 as an unnamed night train on the route.


A Map of the Gulf Coast Lines from 1924, showing the Valley Eagle's route from Houston to Brownsville,

as well as the east-west branch line to Corpus Christi. Click to enlarge.

(Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50340329)



The train followed the route of the old St. Louis, Brownsville & Mexico, which was part of the Gulf Coast Lines. In 1924, all became part of the ever-expanding Missouri Pacific, which also acquired the International-Great Northern (I-GN) the same year.

Corpus Christi Section

The train's second section to and/or from Corpus Christi, Texas, was switched daily at Odem, Texas (normally about a ten minute procedure) and would join or unjoin the main section traveling to or from Houston or Brownsville. The trip to or from Odem to Corpus Christi took 40 minutes, and the section was usually 2 or 3 cars pulled by a roadswitcher. The last section to Corpus Christi, train No. 222, ran on June 30, 1962.


A Valley Eagle brochure with map and timetable can be downloaded in PDF form by clicking the image above, courtesy of the Union Pacific.

(Missouri Pacific Railroad via successor Union Pacific)



Service type: Inter-city rail
Status: Discontinued
Locale: Southwestern United States
First service: 1948
Last service: 1962
Former operator: Missouri Pacific Railroad
Route Termini: Houston, Texas / Brownsville, Texas; second section to Corpus Christi, Texas
Distance traveled: 371 miles (597 km) (Houston-Brownsville)
Average journey time: Southbound: 8 hrs 55 min / Northbound: 8 hrs 25 min (1960)
Service frequency: Daily (1948–1962)
Train numbers: Southbound: 321 / Northbound: 322 (1960)
On-board services
Seating arrangements: Reclining seat coach; Dining: Grill counter
Rolling stock: Streamlined passenger cars
Track gauge: 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)


The Valley Eagle approaching the depot at Kingsville, Texas, June 13, 1962. Click to enlarge.

(Unknown photographer, via Pinterest)