Empire Builder Hints and Tips

Old Apr 23, 18, 7:27 am
  #1  
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Empire Builder Hints and Tips

Hi All,

I am FINALLY taking the empire builder in September from Seattle to Chicago.

I have a roomette booked on the upper level and was wondering if the experts in this forum had any hints or tips to make this a memorable journey??

Thank you
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Old Apr 23, 18, 7:35 am
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Enjoy the scenery, especially through Whitefish Montana/Glacier National Park. You'll come through there around 7 in the morning, I'd try and catch breakfast in the diner around 8 if the train is on time. The other highlight of the trip for me was going through Minnesota and crossing the Mississippi which was pretty scenic, more dramatic than the CZ route through Iowa.
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Old Apr 23, 18, 2:21 pm
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When are you going? Were booked on 9/13 from Whitefish to Chicago - a roomette during the daytime trip from Whitefish to Williston, ND, then a night there to see Roosevelt National Park, and a bedroom on the overnight to Chicago the next evening. Im looking forward to it as Ive never been out that way.
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Old Apr 23, 18, 4:08 pm
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I did that trip in mid July 2016. Was very good. Spend as much time as you can in the upstairs viewing car. I took meals at the first or very last sitting.

You will find a trip report by Seat 2A on this route.
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Old May 8, 18, 12:27 pm
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If they still feature the wine & cheese tasting & quiz, i'd participate in it as it gave us a chance to sample wines we would never have tried coming from the UK. Take a camcorder and enjoy your journey over the glacier national park and the vast dakota plains.
Whatever time of year you do it, you'll love it!
WE were bowled over by Minnesota when we travelled CHI -SEA and the glacier national park going SEA-CHI.
Food and company was great on all three trips.
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Old May 15, 18, 3:44 pm
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Wine and cheese tastings on the Empire Builder have been gone for a number of years.
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Old May 22, 18, 10:31 am
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I am doing my first trip on the Empire Builder next Sunday from Seattle to Minneapolis and I have the full bedroom vs roomette. This will be my first two night trip on Amtrak and am really looking forward to it since I have wanted for a while to do one of the longer routes out West and I have never been to the Northwest before. I have done several one night trips on the Cardinal, Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited (disappointed to hear about the dining downgrades on the later two).

I am flying into Seattle and flying out of Minneapolis. It seems the public transportation to/from airport/train is reasonably easy and direct (light rail in Seattle and a bus in Minneapolis). If anyone has comments on that aspect, I would appreciate it.
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Old May 22, 18, 12:14 pm
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The bus from St. Paul Union Depot (which is the one stop for both Minneapolis and St. Paul, as the conductors announce on every trip I've been on ) is easy and relatively frequent. It's dropping from 15-minute frequency to 20-to-30 minute frequency from Union Depot on June 9, however (right now all buses end at Union Depot, but starting June 9 half of the buses will skip Union Depot and travel further east/north.) It's an easy trip, and even with the increased wait is still faster than doing the light rail.
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Old May 22, 18, 12:21 pm
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Originally Posted by Miesque View Post
I am doing my first trip on the Empire Builder next Sunday from Seattle to Minneapolis and I have the full bedroom vs roomette. This will be my first two night trip on Amtrak and am really looking forward to it since I have wanted for a while to do one of the longer routes out West and I have never been to the Northwest before. I have done several one night trips on the Cardinal, Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited (disappointed to hear about the dining downgrades on the later two).

I am flying into Seattle and flying out of Minneapolis. It seems the public transportation to/from airport/train is reasonably easy and direct (light rail in Seattle and a bus in Minneapolis). If anyone has comments on that aspect, I would appreciate it.
Just as a heads up there's been a lot of trackwork happening between glacier and williston at the moment during the night, so things have been moving a little slow. I trust you left yourself plenty of buffer to get to the airport in MSP. Uber from Union to MSP is about $20 if you want to go that route. Also two blocks south of the depot in whitefish is a liquor store if you need to resupply after the night out of spokane, remember you can drink in your bedroom with your own alcohol legally!
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Old May 22, 18, 1:06 pm
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Originally Posted by IflyNW View Post
Just as a heads up there's been a lot of trackwork happening between glacier and williston at the moment during the night, so things have been moving a little slow. I trust you left yourself plenty of buffer to get to the airport in MSP. Uber from Union to MSP is about $20 if you want to go that route. Also two blocks south of the depot in whitefish is a liquor store if you need to resupply after the night out of spokane, remember you can drink in your bedroom with your own alcohol legally!
Thanks, I know the longer route trains can sometimes be incredibly late so I ended up going conservative and for a 7:43 AM arrival into Minneapolis, I am taking the later of two available flights back at 5:30 PM instead of the 12:45 PM option. I have been checking the arrival times the past two weeks and while there was one day where the train arrived over 9 hours late, it seems to be in a 1-3 hour range and a little late I would actually not mind being late within that range since that would allow for breakfast. And thanks for the liquor store info, I will hopefully have ample wine packed but its good to know.
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