A railroad-themed dining tour of Palestine should hit the spot

·2 min read

Jun. 24—With such an abundance of rich railroad history available in Palestine, it is inevitable that the railroad and eating establishments would cross paths along the timeline.

John Price, operator of the Railroad Heritage Center of Palestine has a brilliant suggestion during Palestine's celebration of 150 years of railroad history: a self-guided railroad-themed dining tour of historic downtown.

"It's an idea that I've had on my mind for quite some time," Price said. "A sort of simulated 'Flight of the Eagle.'"

Introduced in 1940, Eagle was a term used by the Missouri Pacific Railroad to identify its premier passenger services over its rail system, such as the Colorado Eagle, the Delta Eagle, and the Texas Eagle.

The Texas Eagle ran from St. Louis, Missouri to Longview, where it divided into two parts, one destined for El Paso via Dallas and Fort Worth, the other for Palestine.

At Palestine, the train was again divided, one section for Houston, the other to Austin and San Antonio, and for a while to Laredo. Here, the cars or passengers, were transferred to the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de Mexico to become the Aztec Eagle service to Mexico City via San Luis Potosi.

The idea of the dining tour is simply to take in the history on display at the Railroad Heritage Center and to dine at several of the local eateries in buildings with ties to the railroad history.

"The Railroad Heritage Center is in the west end of Main Street in Palestine's historic district," Price said. "From North Queen Street westward along West Oak Street, the area is more open and consequently less frequented than the central and eastern parts of Main Street Palestine. Coincidentally, there are businesses that share, directly and indirectly, a connection with railroading."

Price's suggestion: 'Catch a train' at the Railroad Heritage Center, at 808 West Oak. After soaking up some railroad history, head over to 700 West Oak for breakfast or lunch at San Luis Taqueria. After a little downtown shopping, head for a snack at the Laredo Snack Bar at 707 West Oak. After a little more shopping, a nice sit-down at the Queen Street Grill located inside the Redlands Hotel might hit the spot. The Redlands Hotel is located at West Oak and Queen and has a strong railroad connection; it housed the main offices of the I&GN division of the Missouri Pacific for more than 35 years.

Historic downtown is loaded with fantastic options for dining, so every 'Flight of the Eagle' could be a new adventure.

The Railroad Heritage Center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and is located at 808 W. Oak St. in Palestine.

For more information call 903-586-7141 or visit www.tsrrsociety.com