Amtrak’s ‘Empire Builder’ Revisited (Chicago, IL-Whitefish, MT-Yellowstone Park-Seattle, WA)

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Routes shown:

The Lakeshore Limited (Buffalo, NY Chicago, IL) -1st leg of trip
The Empire Builder (Chicago, IL – Whitefish, MT) -2nd leg of trip
Note: Budget Rent a Car provides rental car connections at Whitefish, MT for passengers wishing to visit Yellowstone Park
The Empire Builder (Whitefish – Seattle, WA) -3rd leg of trip
The Coast Starlight (Seattle, WA – Portland, OR) -4th leg of trip
The Empire Builder (Portland, OR – Chicago, IL) -5th leg of trip
Plus return trip on the Lakeshore Limited (Chicago, IL – Buffalo, NY) -6th leg of trip

The Lakeshore Limited (Buffalo, NY – Chicago, IL):

The ‘Lakeshore Limited‘ is Amtrak’s overnight train connecting Buffalo (Depew), NY with Chicago, IL. The train actually runs all the way from New York City to Chicago via Buffalo & Cleveland. The train is Amtrak’s modern-day replacement for the famous all-pullman ‘Twentieth Century Limited’ inaugurated by the New York Central on June 15, 1902.

Modern equipment consists of Amfleet coaches & lounges and Viewliner diners & sleepers with bedrooms & roomette accommodations. Motive power consists of General Electric 4,250 horsepower P42DC diesel locomotives.

Highlights of the trip include the beautiful shores of Lake Erie, the vast industrial steel making complexes near Gary, IN, and splendid views of the Chicago skyline.

If you enjoy fine dining & comfortable accommodations on memorable a trip to or from the Windy City, then you’ll enjoy a ride on Amtrak’s Lakeshore Limited.

The Empire Builder (Chicago, IL – Whitefish, MT):

The ‘Empire Builder‘ is Amtrak’s Chicago to Seattle & Portland passenger train initially operated by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q), Great Northern (GN) & Spokane, Portland & Seattle (SP&S) railways & inaugurated with streamlined equipment on February 23, 1947. The train has been operated by Amtrak since 1971 and for the most part runs on the original route except for the eastern portion which now runs on former Milwaukee Road trackage through Wisconsin & Minnesota instead of on the CB&Q.

Modern equipment on Amtrak’s Empire Builder now consists of Superliner sleeping cars with bedroom & roomette accommodations, dining cars, the Sightseer lounge car with large panoramic windows, and coach cars. Motive power consists of General Electric 4,250 horsepower P42DC diesel locomotives.

The route of the Empire Builder is full of scenic delights, running from the sprawling metropolis of Chicago, through Milwaukee, past the red sandstone canyon of the Wisconsin Dells, crossing the mighty Mississippi River at LaCrosse, past Sugar Loaf Mountain at Winona, through St. Paul-Minneapolis, through the Badlands of North Dakota, over the spectacular Cut Bank trestle, into the front range of the Rockies & over Marias Pass at Glacier Park, MT, past the famous Izaak Walton Inn at Essex, and on to the pretty mountain-locked resort town of Whitefish, MT.

If you enjoy spectacular scenery, fantastic dining, superb accommodations & impeccable service, then you’ll enjoy a ride on Amtrak’s Empire Builder.

Also, for passengers wishing to visit Yellowstone Park, Budget Rent a Car provides rental car connections at the Amtrak Station in Whitefish, MT. Passengers may stay overnight at the Downtowner Inn in Whitefish. It is then approximately a 5-1/2hr drive to Bozeman, MT, gateway to Yellowstone Park, where accommodations may be found at the Super 8 in Bozeman. It is then approximately a 7hr drive through Yellowstone Park (which features mountains, canyons, rivers, forests, spectacular geysers and abundant wildlife including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope) and after visiting the Park, persons can stay at the Super 8 at Livingston, MT, before the return trip to Whitefish.

The Empire Builder (Whitefish, MT – Seattle, WA):

The ‘Empire Builder‘ is Amtrak’s Chicago to Seattle & Portland passenger train. For a description of the route between Chicago & Whitefish, please see the route description above.

From Whitefish, MT, the train travels through the Kootenai National Forest to Sandpoint, ID, then on to Spokane, WA, where the train splits into 2 sections, with one section running to Seattle & the other to Portland. After leaving Spokane, the Seattle section of the train then crosses the Columbia River at Wenatchee, passes through the Cascade Mountains & into the 7.8 mile long Cascade Tunnel, past the Sunset Falls at Skykomish & along the coast of Puget sound to the Pacific port of Seattle, WA.

If you enjoy spectacular scenery, fantastic dining, superb accommodations & impeccable service, then you’ll enjoy a ride on Amtrak’s Empire Builder.

Also, for passengers wishing to tour Seattle, there are taxi connections to various hotels including the America’s Best Value Inn in nearby Tukwila, and Tours Northwest provides 3hr Seattle city tours with pickups from this and other hotels.

The Coast Starlight (Seattle, WA – Portland, OR):

The ‘Coast Starlight‘ is Amtrak’s train connecting Seattle, WA, with Portland, OR. The train actually runs all the way from Seattle to Los Angeles via Portland on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) & Union Pacific railroads and began operating in 1971.

Modern equipment on the Coast Starlight consists of Superliner sleeping cars with bedroom & roomette accommodations, dining cars, the Sightseer lounge car with large panoramic windows, the Pacific Parlour car with free wi-fi plus wine-tasting events, and coach cars. Motive power consists of General Electric 4,250 horsepower P42DC diesel locomotives.

The route of the Coast Starlight is a scenic one. As the train departs Seattle it travels along the shores of Puget Sound to the port City of Tacoma, WA and on to Portland, OR.

Spectacular scenery, fine dining, superb accommodations & top-notch service are sure to delight on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight.

The Empire Builder (Portland, OR – Chicago, IL):

The ‘Empire Builder‘ is Amtrak’s train connecting Portland & Seattle with Chicago.

From Portland, the train travels through the spectacular Columbia River Gorge with views of towering Mount Hood and on to Spokane, where the Portland section of the train is joined with the Seattle section for the run to Chicago. For a description of the route between Spokane & Chicago, please see the route descriptions above.

If you enjoy spectacular scenery, fantastic dining, superb accommodations & impeccable service, then you’ll enjoy a ride on Amtrak’s Empire Builder.

Also, for passengers wishing to continue their journey, Amtrak provides service from Chicago, IL to Buffalo, NY & points east on the Lakeshore Limited.

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