US Railway Travelogue – Episode 7: USRAIL007

Episode 7 is part 2 of the Portland to Chicago leg of Tim Davies’ journey across the USA on the iconic Amtrak trains – for this part of the journey, continuing on the Empire Builder train.

Map showing Amtrak’s western routes, the Empire Builder along the top. Credit: Amtrak.
Logo of the Empire Builder – as seen on one of the Dining Car Menus. Credit: Tim Davies.
Map showing route of the Empire Builder.

We pick up this episode as the train slows coming into Pasco Station, where passengers can disembark for a few minutes’ fresh air.

City of Pasco Transportation Depot. Credit: Allen4names under CC-BY-SA 3.0

Next stop, in three hours time is Spokane.

Spokane Station. Credit. Hikki Nagasaki. Under Public Domain.

Passed in the night, next station was Sandpoint.  Named the most beautiful small town in 2011 by the newspaper USA Today.  Shame Tim missed it!

Sandpoint Station. Credit: Mitchazenia. Under CC BY-SA 4.0

Another small town passed through in the night was Libby.

Libby Station. Credit: Mitchazenia. Under CC-BY-SA 4.0
Libby, Montana. Credit USEPA. Environmental Protection Agency. Under Public Domain.

Next en route is the seven mile long Flathead Tunnel – the third longest tunnel in the western hemisphere, and second longest in the US.

Empire Builder entering Flathead Tunnel, from the west. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY 2.0
Empire Builder leaving Flathead Tunnel. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY 2.0

Tim awoke next day as the train arrived at Whitefish.

Whitefish Depot. Credit: Elkman. Under CC BY-SA 3.0
Whitefish train station. Credit: Rajesh Dhawan. Under Public Domain.
Whitefish Mountain Resort (Aerial View). Credit: Donnie Clapp. Under CC BY-SA 4.0

Next stop is West Glacier.

West Glacier station. Credit: Kgrr. Under CC BY-SA 3.0.

The train moves through into a mountainous, fir-forested area, with stunning scenery, which makes the observation car very useful, but Tim still manages to catch a conversation with the odd passenger taking the same trip.

The Observation Car on The Empire Builder. Credit: Tim Davies
Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
Mountain, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies
Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
Clinging to a mountain in Montana. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY-SA 2.0

Another small station passed through – Essex – featuring the Izaac Walton Inn.

Essex Station facing west. Credit: Adam Moss. Under CC BY-SA 2.0
Izaac Walton Inn. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY 3.0.
Marias Pass monument. Credit: Kjmoss1. Under CC BY 3.0

The train next passes through the Marias Pass.

Eastbound Empire Builder at Marias Pass. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY 2.0
Empire Builder, crossing Two Medicine Trestle, East Glacier. Credit: Steve Wilson. Under CC BY-SA 2.0
General view. Credit: Tim Davies.
General view. Credit: Tim Davies.

Next station en route: East Glacier Park.

East Glacier Park Station. Credit: Tim Davies.
East Glacier Park Station. Credit: Tim Davies.
Train Station at Glacier. Credit: Matt Beldyk. Under CC BY-SA 2.0

Next station en-route is Browning.

Browning Station. Credit: Mitchazenia. Under CC BY-SA 4.0

We start to leave the Rockies behind, as well as passing our next stop, Cut Bank, while talking to some more fellow passengers.

Leaving the Rockies behind. Credit: Tim Davies.
Between the mountains and the plains. Credit: Tim Davies.
Final view of the Rockies. Credit: Tim Davies.
Out onto the plains. Credit: Tim Davies.
Farmstead, near Cut Bank. Credit: Tim Davies.
Cut Bank. Credit: Tim Davies
Cut Bank station. Credit: Mitchazenia. Under CC BY-SA 4.0

Then on from Cut Bank to Shelby, and on to the open prairies.  Canada is only 25 miles away as we leave the station.

Cut Bank to Shelby. Credit: Tim Davies.
The open prairie, East of Cut Bank. Credit: Tim Davies
Between Cut Bank and Shelby. Credit: Tim Davies.
Between Cut Bank and Shelby. Credit: Tim Davies.
Shelby Station. Credit: Tim Davies.
Air break at Shelby station. Credit: Tim Davies.
The tracks at Shelby station. Credit: Tim Davies.
Looking west at Shelby Station. Credit: Tim Davies.

Tim returns for part three of the Portland to Chicago leg of his trip on the Empire Builder, emerging from amongst the grain silos outside Shelby in Episode 8, which follows soon.

Music credits:

Theme: “Steam Railway”, AK012, Composer: Kimber-McTiffen; Track Number 1, Royalty Free from “The Special Interest Video Selection“; (AKM Music);

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *