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Hello to all,

Has anyone ever rode the Amtrak Empire Builder train from Seattle to Chicago? Just wondering if it good for site seeing?
 

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I've ridden the Empire Builder for Chicago to Seattle..... Back in the 70's... Took the whole family. It was just after Amtrak took over the run. While there wee some "issues", it was a great trip even back then.

The scenery is fabulous.
 

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Scenery probably has not changed much but the overall improvement of equipment is much better. Later RJD
 

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The Empire Builder waas the subject of an episode of Extreme Trains a week or two ago. It sure looked like a nice train going through some beautiful scenery. The Cascade Tunnel was interesting too.
 

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Simply put...it's a great train ride. It's very frequently completely sold out...and if you plan on taking it, make you reservations early....real early IF you want a sleeping car reservation. Someday, I'm going to take it from Portland or Seattle to Whitefish...where I go each year for a week of fishing.

I'm told, it's pretty boring (scenary wise) from Chicago to the east slope of the Rockies...but once past that spot, it's just beautiful going through Marias Pass and into Whitefish, MT. If the train is on time, you'll go through the pass and get to see the southern end of perhaps the most beautiful national park in the US, Glacier National Park, during the day...but the mountain beauty is everywhere around there. Also, Whitefish is one of those places with a great looking railroad station.

The bad news is that the trip from Whitefish to Portland/Seattle is at night...so you miss the great mountain views as you pass into Idaho and Washington.
 

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Posted By Mike Reilley on 12/27/2008 7:28 PM
Simply put...it's a great train ride.

I'm told, it's pretty boring (scenary wise) from Chicago to the east slope of the Rockies...but once past that spot, it's just beautiful going through Marias Pass and into Whitefish, MT. If the train is on time, you'll go through the pass and get to see the southern end of perhaps the most beautiful national park in the US, Glacier National Park, during the day...but the mountain beauty is everywhere around there. Also, Whitefish is one of those places with a great looking railroad station.

Mike, that depends on the time of year you do the trip. I've done it in January and the winter landscape through North Dakota can be wonderful. On one trip, we were running 12 hours late and did the Cascades in daylight just after a 4 foot snowfall. I was standing on the rear platform of the last car with the door open... (this was before the "tight regs".) All I could see was white snow and 2 ribbons of rail. No ties, roadbed or ballast. The snow deadened the sound and it was very quiet. The snow was piled 36 inches high on the telegraph poles as there was no wind at all. It was spectacular........
 

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Heh....I REALLY LIKE the idea of the train running late if you get to see those mountains in the daytime. The nighttime passage from Portland to Whitefish has always dissuaded me from taking the train to there. I wonder how I schedule the train to run late?

As for the beauty of "whtie stuff"...thank you very much, I'll avoid it at all costs. I hate snow...even though it's pretty. Makes me cold just thinking of riding a train through a sea of white powder. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
 

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My son & I rode it about 5 years ago but I prefer the California Zephyr, from Denver to California the scenery can't be beat! If you have the time I'd ride "The Builder" one way and The Calif Z and Coast Starlite the other.
 

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My wife and I took it last June. A great trip! We stopped in Glacier for three days in the middle of the trip and explored the park. If rail ridership continues to build, maybe they could add a second train running 12 hours later.
That way, with overnight stays, you wouldn't miss so much great scenery.
Jim Shutt
SAGRES
 

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I wonder who schedules these things. Via Rail does the same thing in Canada. Travel through the Fraser Canyon is at night either way.
There is so much to see from the east slopes of the Rockies to the coast. There is a thousand miles of prairies, you're gonna see some of it.
But the mountains; every corner is a new vista. I hope they wise up soon and figure out what attracts people to train travel.

Grahame Morris
 

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I want to thank Skatewake for starting this subject and the reply's.


My son who is in the Coast Guard, was transferred to Coos Bay, Oregon last summer. It's a long way from the hoosierland to Coos Bay.


Don't want to fly, would like to see the sights between here and there. Don't like the 5 travel days each way. Don't want to drive 12 hours a day to make the trip shorter. Would like to do some camping but that would require the Jeep and about 17-18 MPG.

Did not think of Amtrak because my one trip with them was a disaster!


This looks like a great trip! A roomette would be perfect. I think we are gonna do it.


Roomette


Thanks,
Craig
 

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I agree Stan. We are going to seriously talk about it tonight.


Too bad Marty's place is not close by a stop... That is the time of year we will be visiting.


I can book through the Amtrak site travel from Elkhart, IN to Coos Bay, OR (if I don't mind bus travel) round trip, 2 adults for $1,308. AND NO DRIVING!!


Round trip for 2 adults, Elkhart, IN to Coos Bay, OR $1,308.

2 Coach seats between Elkhart and Chicago.

Roomette between Chicago and Portland each way. Meals included!
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=am2/am2Popup&accomm=Superliner%20Roomette
Take a look at the Virtual Tour. They also have a family bedroom.

Bus between Portland and Coos Bay.

Two days.


I think it's almost a done deal.

Craig
 

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LOL!!! At that time of year the North Table Creek Railroad should be running some specials to Nebraska City.....


Craig
 

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Eric would probably be your engineer from lincoln NE to Gilsberg .
I'm sure we could figure something out getting you from Lincln to here is 50 mins, you can hitch hike from the motel to here.
then we could get you back to meet a train ,,at 2AM
BTY we do have a cab company with one cab. hes usually parked down by the corner bar.
 

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Charles - I'm glad you brought this subject back up. We did take the Empire Builder to Portland, OR and back, in 2009. Very enjoyable!!! Skipped the bus ride and rented a car for the drive down the beautiful Oregon coast to Coos Bay. Even made a side trip to visit Sasquatch in the piney woods of Port Orford. Not being one to normally sit down with strangers, mealtimes and meeting some great people were a highpoint. Only wish it had been daylight through the mountains.

We enjoyed it so much, we took the California Zephyr to Reno and back, in 2010. The ride up out of Denver in the early morning light was spectacular! And the 450 mile drive to Coos Bay was very scenic.

Craig
 

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Greetings,

As I live in Portland Oregon I am going to add a little to the schedule discussion. The builder coming west gets in to Portland / Seattle around around 10:00 in the morning, this means that you wake up to the trip through the Cascades either down the Columbia River through the Columbia Gorge to Portland or via the Cascade tunnel and into Seattle. The reason that the schedule is set up the way it is was so that you can see the scenery by Glacier National Park, due to the time and distances involved you can either see Glacier Park or the western Rocky Mountains from White Fish Montana to Spokane but not both. The Empire Builder splits or joins depending on which direction that you are traveling at Spokane and this take around an hour so usually the Builder leaves Spokane around 2:30-2:45 in the morning and some where just south of Pasco Washington the sun starting to come up just as you get to the Columbia River so the views at breakfast are just wonderful of the river. If you take the train in the summer is stays light late enough that you will still get some wonderful viewing west of Glacier Park, while in the winter, not so much.
 
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