Ep.07 – US Railway Travelogue

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.

10 1 Amtrak Western Routes
Map showing Amtrak’s western routes, the Empire Builder along the top. Credit: Amtrak.
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Logo of the Empire Builder – as seen on one of the Dining Car Menus. Credit: Tim Davies.
10 3 Route of the Empire Builder
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.

7 4 City of Pasco Transportation Depot by Allen4names licensed under CC BY-SA 3 0

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

Next stop, in three hours time is Spokane.

7 5 Spokane_Train_Station by Nikki Nagasaki

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!

7 6 Sandpoint_station by Mitchaznia

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

Another small town passed through in the night was Libby.

7 7 Libby_station_-_May_2017 by Mitchazenia own work CC BY SA 4 0

Libby Station. Credit: Mitchazenia. Under CC-BY-SA 4.0
7 8 Libby,_Montana by By USEPA Environmental-Protection-Agency (Downtown Libby, Montana - date unknown) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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.

7 9 Empire Builder Entering Flathead tunnel from the west by Loco Steve CC BY 2 0
Empire Builder entering Flathead Tunnel, from the west. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY 2.0
7 10 Empire Builder Leaving Flathead Tunnel by Loco Steve 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.

7 11 Whitefish_Depot by Elkman
Whitefish Depot. Credit: Elkman. Under CC BY-SA 3.0
7 12 Whitefish_train_station public domain
Whitefish train station. Credit: Rajesh Dhawan. Under Public Domain.
7 13 WhitefishMountainResortAerialView by Donnie Clapp licenced by CC BY-SA 4 0.jpg
Whitefish Mountain Resort (Aerial View). Credit: Donnie Clapp. Under CC BY-SA 4.0

Next stop is West Glacier.

7 14 West_Glacier,_MT_Amtrak_trackside by Kgrr own waork CC BY-SA 3 0
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.

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The Observation Car on The Empire Builder. Credit: Tim Davies
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Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
7 17 Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana.jpg
Mountain, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies
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Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
7 20 Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana.jpg
Mountains, forests and rivers in Montana. Credit: Tim Davies.
7 21 Clinging to mountain in Montana by Loco Steve licenced CC BY-SA 2 0
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.

7 22 Essex_station_facing_west,_May_2017 by Adam Moss
Essex Station facing west. Credit: Adam Moss. Under CC BY-SA 2.0
7 23 Isaac Walton Inn by Loco Steve CC BY-SA 2 0
Izaac Walton Inn. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY 3.0.
7 24 Marias_Pass_Monuments by Kimoss1 licenced CC BY 3 0.JPG
Marias Pass monument. Credit: Kjmoss1. Under CC BY 3.0

The train next passes through the Marias Pass.

7 25 Eastbound Empire Builder at Marias Pass  by Loco Steve licenced CC BY 2 0.jpg
Eastbound Empire Builder at Marias Pass. Credit: Loco Steve. Under CC BY 2.0
7 26 Empire_Builder_@Two_Medicine_Trestle_(_2_Views_) by Steve Wilson licenced CC BY-SA 2 0
Empire Builder, crossing Two Medicine Trestle, East Glacier. Credit: Steve Wilson. Under CC BY-SA 2.0
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General view. Credit: Tim Davies.
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General view. Credit: Tim Davies.

Next station en route: East Glacier Park.

7 29 East Glacier Park station.jpg
East Glacier Park Station. Credit: Tim Davies.
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East Glacier Park Station. Credit: Tim Davies.
7 31 Train_Station_at_Glacier by Matt Beldyk
Train Station at Glacier. Credit: Matt Beldyk. Under CC BY-SA 2.0

Next station en-route is Browning.

7 32 Browning_station by Mitchaznia
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.

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Leaving the Rockies behind. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Between the mountains and the plains. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Final view of the Rockies. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Out onto the plains. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Farmstead, near Cut Bank. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Cut Bank. Credit: Tim Davies
7 39 Cut_Bank_station by Mitchaznia licenced CC BY SA 4 0
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.

7 40 Cut Bank to Shelby.jpg
Cut Bank to Shelby. Credit: Tim Davies.
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The open prairie, East of Cut Bank. Credit: Tim Davies
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Between Cut Bank and Shelby. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Between Cut Bank and Shelby. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Shelby Station. Credit: Tim Davies.
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Air break at Shelby station. Credit: Tim Davies.
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The tracks at Shelby station. Credit: Tim Davies.
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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);

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