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Southwest Chief
Southwest Chief at Devil's Throne, New Mexico.jpg
Amtrak's Southwest Chief at Devil's Throne in New Mexico
Service type Long-distance higher speed rail
Status Operating
Locale Midwestern and Southwestern United States
Predecessor Super Chief, El Capitan
First service 1974
Current operator(s) Amtrak
Ridership 1,006 daily
367,267 total (FY15)
Start Chicago, Illinois
Stops 31
End Los Angeles, California
Distance travelled 2,265 mi (3,645 km)
Average journey time 43 hours, 15 minutes
Service frequency Daily each way
Train number(s) 3 (Chicago to Los Angeles) Westbound
4 (Los Angeles to Chicago) Eastbound
On-board services
Class(es) Coach
Seating arrangements Airline-style coach seating
Sleeping arrangements Superliner Roomette (2 beds)
Family Bedroom (4 beds)
Superliner Bedroom (2 beds)
Superliner Bedroom Suite (4 beds)
Superliner Accessible Bedroom (2 beds)
Catering facilities Dining car
On-board café
Observation facilities Sightseer Lounge Car
Baggage facilities Checked baggage (select stations)
Rolling stock P42 locomotives
Superliner cars
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speed 90 mph (145 km/h) maximum
55 mph (89 km/h) average (including stops)
Track owner(s) BNSF Railway

The Southwest Chief (formerly the Southwest Limited and Super Chief) is a passenger train operated by Amtrak. It is on a 2,265-mile (3,645 km) route that goes through the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. It goes between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, going through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

During fiscal year 2018, the Southwest Chief carried 331,239 passengers. This was 8.8 percent less than it was from FY 2017. The route grossed $43,184,176 in revenue during FY 2018. This was 3.8 percent less than it was from FY 2017. Amtrak had plans for replacing the route between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Dodge City, Kansas with bus service. As of October 2018, these plans were canceled.


Accidents and incidents

  • On October 2, 1979, the Southwest Limited derailed (went off the rails) at Lawrence, Kansas. Of the 30 crew and 147 passengers on board, two people were killed and 69 were injured. The cause was too much speed on a curve. Other causes included an engineer that was not familiar with the route, and that a sign that said to slow down had been removed during track repairs.

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