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Twin Cities to Home via Portland 8/16/2009

by Chris Guenzler

After Dennis Larsen dropped me off out in front, I entered Midway Station in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

I entered the Midway Station and knew I was in the right place when I saw this up on the wall.

I headed over to the Empire Builder First Class Lounge and left my luggage in front of the door. I went to the Amtrak agent and got the code to open the door and then went inside taking my luggage with me. I plugged my computer in and then turned on the television watching Saturday Night Live 2008 Election Bash before watching the 10 PM News.


Views inside the Empire Builder Lounge in Midway Station in the Twin Cities. My computer recharged all the way and I packed it up for the trip to the train once it got here.

The private cars from our NRHS Twin Cities Limited where still out on Track 2.

At 10:32 PM the Empire Builder pulled into the Midway Station. First the Conductor came and took every sleeping car passengers ticket. Next you waited for your Sleeping Car Attendant, in my case Dan, to come and take you out to the train. I was in the last car, the through Sleeper to Portland 2730 also known as the 32077 District of Colombia. I had Room 5 for my trip to Portland. The train consisted of Engines 206 and 152, Baggage 1260, Transition 39028, Sleepers 32106 and 32016, Diner 38034, Coaches 34033 and 34057, Lounge 33028, Coaches 34027 and 31025, Sleeper 32077 District of Columbia with the private car Gritty Place on the rear only as far as Fargo. Everything in front of the lounge car goes to Seattle and the lounge car back heads to Portland. My room was already made up so I had to do was turn the mattress around and I was ready to go to bed. I called it a night just as the Empire Builder left the Twin Cities.


Somewhere east of Devils Lake was where I woke up and went straight to the Dining Car for a breakfast of Pancakes and sausage patties. I walked back the six cars to my room.

The train rolled into Rugby.

Rugby is located the geographical center of North America. Being this far north in the USA just tells you how large Canada really is. I took a nap just to outside of Minot where I got up and ready for the fresh air break there.

The former Soo Line Station in Minot. We pulled in and I got off to a 48 degree morning with a light rain falling.

The Empire Builder at Minot. Our train departed there 45 minutes late.

The Amtrak Station in Minot.

Soo Tower where once I was on the tracks that crossed when I rode behind the Canadian Pacific 2816 Steam Engine on that four day trip I made from Shoreham Yard in Minneapolis to Portal on the Canadian Border back in July of 2004.

The double track goes down to one for the crossing of the Gassman Coule Trestle.

The Gassman Coule Trestle. I put on my Yes "Live on Montreux" and relaxed under a blanket as our sleeping car got colder and colder.

Later entering the Big Sky State of Montana.

A freight train waiting for us at Glasgow.

Glasgow Amtrak Station.

BNSF stack train leaving Malta.

Malta Amtrak Station.

West of Malta we passed the eastbound Empire Builder. I read the Minnesota and Ontario Iron Ore Railroad book I bought in Two Harbors the day of the RDC Trip there.

The BNSF Havre Diesel Servicing Facility before we stopped at the Fuel Pads to refuel the Empire Builder prior to our fresh air stop there. I detrained and got a pair of ice cream sandwiches and sat on a bench by the Havre sign. Imagine if it would have been two women instead of two men. The name of the place might have been called Havhim. Our train left Havre about twenty five minutes late.

Later we passed this freight train on a big curve.

That Rarus Railroad engine is still serving that grain elevator. At 5:00 PM I went to the Dinning Car and enjoyed a Steak and vanilla ice cream for dessert. I was seated with a family from Madison, Wisconsin heading to Whitefish. Their daughter Sophia Mussacchlo is 12 years old and won the best piano player award for the entire state of Wisconsin. She also has a nice smile. I returned to my room for Aerosmith DVD of "You Gotta Move" and was now on full Rocky Mountain alert.

On this trip west I would get to see the Rocky Mountains.

Interesting sky.


The closer you got the more details you could make out.

That furthest peak is in Canada and the rest make up Glacier National Park.

The Empire Builder heads for East Glacier our next stop.

The view from the other side of the train.

Magnificent Mountains of Glacier National Park.

Two views of a much more interesting sky on this late afternoon.

Two Medicine Bridge.

After we left East Glacier.

Passing the lakes near Bison.

Railroad Summit of Marias Pass.

A BNSF ballast train waits for us to clear.

The mountains as we near Marias. The train made the Flag Stop at Essex before continuing west.

Later the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex.

Mountain Peaks in Glacier National Park as we drop down the grade along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

A park setting with mountains looming behind.

The Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

More of the peaks of Glacier National Park before we headed through the tunnels in the canyon to West Glacier our next station stop. After that it was a quick trip to Whitefish where I got my last fresh air of the day. With that I made up my room and slept the night away.

Click here for the rest of this trip home