Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Empire Builder (7, 8)
Seattle or Portland, Spokane, Glacier
Park, Fargo, Minneapolis-St. Paul,
Milwaukee, Chicago
Chicago to Seattle: 2,206 miles;
Chicago to Portland: 2,275 miles
Eastbound: 45ΒΌ hours; westbound,
46 hours
Superliner coaches, sleepers, dining
car, lounge car
I've taken the Empire Builder eight or nine times in both direc-
tions, and it is another of my favorite trains. I think I prefer the
westbound trip because the scenery keeps getting better as you
go, but it's really a toss-up.
Leaving Chicago, the Builder heads north into the heart of
the Wisconsin dairy land, running along the Mississippi River
and stopping in Minneapolis-St. Paul late in the evening. You'll
be crossing the plains of North Dakota when you wake up the
next morning, and by lunchtime you'll be in the Big Sky country
of Montana. It will take all day to cross the state, but don't let
anyone tell you this is a boring ride. It's a rolling terrain with vast
fields of grain, grazing cattle, and oil wells here and there. When
the Builder reaches the town of Havre in the midafternoon, you'll
have time to get off and walk around a bit because there's a crew
change here. There's also a magnificent steam locomotive on dis-
play right next to the station. About three hours later, after you
leave the little community of Cut Bank, you should start seeing
the Rocky Mountains up ahead.
The train's first stop in the Rockies is East Glacier. From the
train you'll be able to see the venerable old Glacier Park Lodge,
which was originally built to accommodate passengers of the
Great Northern Railroad. Leaving East Glacier, the train will
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