The Sam Houston Zephyr was one of two regional streamliners offering express passenger service between Dallas and Houston, the other being the Southern Pacific's Sunbeam. It originally operated with one of the shovel-nose articulated trainsets built for the Twin Zephyrs of 1935. That original trainset was destroyed by fire in 1944 while Rock Island (which jointly owned the Fort Worth-Houston line and switched off  its management every five years) was in charge of the line, whereupon Rock Island and Burlington introduced "new" (or, at least, new to this route) equipment to cover the duties of the Sam Houston Zephyr and to supplant the former Texas Rocket with the new Twin Star Rocket (see that page for more details). 

From the pages of the Official Guide, August 1950

Burlington Route heraldChicago, Rock Island & Pacific herald

The Sam Houston Zephyr
The Twin Star Rocket
Trains 11 and 12

Burlington Route (Fort Worth & Denver)
Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
May 28, 1950

The Texas Zephyr
21-1 Connecting Train Number 2-22
12 30P Dp 0.0 Denver, CO (MT) C R Ar 7 30A
11 20P Dp 465.4 Amarillo, TX (CT) C R Ar 9 40P
6 00A Ar 801.5 Fort Worth, TX (Texas & Pacific Sta.) C R Dp 3 00P
7 15A Ar 835.1 Dallas, TX (Union Depot) (CT) C R Dp 2 00P
The Twin Star Rocket continues to Minneapolis/St. Paul
507 Continuing Train Number 508
12 01P Dp 0 Minneapolis, MN (CT) C R Ar 6 30P
12 25P Dp 10.9 St. Paul, MN C R Ar 6 00P
9 40P Dp 489 Kansas City, MO C Ar 8 40A
4 30A Dp 870 El Reno, OK C Ar 1 53A
8 05A Ar 1083 Fort Worth, TX (Union Sta.) (CT) C R Dp 10 05P
3 507 11 Train Number 4 12 508
Daily Daily Ex Su Miles Services Daily Ex Su Daily
4 00P 8 20A Dp 0.0 Fort Worth, TX (See Note) (CT) C R Ar 1 25P 9 55P
4 45P 9 15A Ar 33.6 Dallas, TX (Union Depot) C R Dp 12 42P 9 10P
5 00P 9 25A Dp Ar 12 37P 9 00P
5 39P 10 06A 3 00P 64.4 Waxahachie, TX C 11 51A 2 37P 8 16P
3 19P 76.7 Bardwell, TX 2 08P
F 3 36P 87.0 Emhouse, TX F 1 51P
6 09P 10 36A 3 48P 95.5 Corsicana, TX 11 23A 1 39P 7 48P
F 4 00P 103.9 Navarro, TX F 1 25P
4 12P 113.0 Streetman, TX 1 11P
F 4 24P 120.8 Kirvin, TX F12 59P
6 39P 11 09A 4 40P Ar 131.2 Teague, TX C Dp 10 50A 12 43P 7 17P
6 40P 11 11A 4 45P Dp Ar 10 47A 12 38P 7 16P
F 4 53P 137.4 Freestone, TX F12 29P
5 00P 142.2 Donie, TX F12 22P
5 14P 150.9 Newby, TX C 12 10P
F 5 26P 158.9 Concord, TX F11 58A
5 38P 167.1 Flynn, TX C F11 46A
5 51P 176.0 Normangee, TX C 11 29A
6 04P 183.8 North Zulch, TX C 11 16A
6 20P 193.8 Iola, TX C 11 02A
6 39P 205.1 Singleton, TX C 10 47A
6 48P 210.3 Shiro, TX C 10 40A
6 59P 216.5 Richards, TX C 10 31A
F 7 12P 223.7 Dacus, TX F10 21A
F 7 22P 229.7 Dobbin, TX F10 13A
7 54P 250.8 Tomball, TX C 9 46A
N N N 257.6 Belt Junction, TX C N N N
9 00P 1 35P 8 47P Ar 283.2 Houston, TX (Union Station) (CT)
(Galveston via bus)
C R Dp 8 35A 9 00A 5 00P

Train 3 (Fort Worth-Houston): 4 stops; 5:00; 56.6 MPHTrain 4 (Houston-Fort Worth): 4 stops; 4:50; 58.6 MPH

Train 507 (Fort Worth-Houston): 4 stops; 5:00; 56.6 MPHTrain 508 (Houston-Fort Worth): 4 stops; 4:55; 57.6 MPH

Train 11 (Waxahachie-Houston): 21 stops; 5:47; 37.8 MPHTrain 12 (Houston-Waxahachie): 21 stops; 5:37; 39.0 MPH

NOTE (Stations in Fort Worth): The Twin Star Rocket operates out of Union Station (Santa Fe Station) in Fort Worth. The Sam Houston Zephyr operates out of the Texas & Pacific Station in Fort Worth, as does the Texas Zephyr. The two stations are approximately 600 yards apart.

(Rock Island Notes)

Rock Island Lines

Route of the Rockets

TWIN STAR ROCKET—Nos. 507 and 508.

★ Parlor Lounge Observation Car (R. I. Car), Dining Car and Chair Cars—Between Houston and Minneapolis.

 Sleeping Car—8 Duplex Roomettes, 6 Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms between  Houston and Minneapolis.

8-Section, 5 Double Bedrooms between Houston and Kansas City.

Sam Houston Zephyr—Nos. 3 and 4.
Observation-Parlor-Lounge and Chair Cars—Between Fort Worth-Dallas and Houston.
Dining Car—Service for all meals.

Note—The Sam Houston Zephyr is not an extra fare train, but all seats in coach and parlor lounge are reserved and individually assigned in advance.

Nos. 11 and 12
Coach—Waxahachie and Houston.


(Burlington Lines Notes)


Twin  Star Rocket is not an extra fare train, but all Parlor Car seats are reserved, individually assigned in advance and sold by number.

Parlor Car and Chair Cars.
Houston to Dallas-Fort Worth.
Dining Car Service for all meals.

Parlor Car and Chair Cars.
Fort Worth-Dallas to Houston.
Dining Car Service for all meals.


The Zephyr is not an extra fare train, but all seats - both coach and parlor - are reserved; individually assigned in advance, and sold by number.

Dining-Parlor Car and Chair Cars.

Houston to Dallas-Fort Worth.
Dining Car service for all meals.

Dining-Parlor Car and Chair Cars.

Fort Worth-Dallas to Houston.
Dining Car service for all meals.

Daily, except Sunday.
Houston to Waxahachie.

Daily, except Sunday.
Waxahachie to Houston.

While the Rock Island (or the typesetter at the publisher) may have neglected to insert the star denoting that the dining car for the Sam Houston Zephyr was air-conditioned, it most certainly was. The car survives today, in the collection of the Galveston Railroad Museum...the Budd-built Silver Hours Parlor-Diner-Observation. It originally featured 22 individual armchair seats in its first-class observation-parlor section, and 24 seats at 6 tables for four in the dining section (which was open to both coach and first class passengers, as was generally true for most American passenger trains). Both sections featured air-conditioning...with the notable exception of the kitchen. There is a ventilator in the kitchen area which scoops air from outside as the train moves, but as far as cooling or ventilation is concerned, that's it. And if you take a close look at the range in the back corner, you will discern that it is a charcoal- and wood-burning stove...still in common use by professionals in the era when the car was built (1939). So, imagine cooking over a charcoal- and wood-burning stove...without air the middle of summer...between Dallas and Houston. It WAS a tough job....