All Aboard!

Amtrak Train Posters

AS AMERICA slowly comes out of the coronavirus, my husband and I were itching to leave our self-imposed quarantine bubble for a vacation.

Both of us have had our Covid-19 vaccinations but still unsure about flying. So we decided to see America by rail. Tuesday, May 17, my husband will embark on an eight-day adventure on Amtrak to New Orleans. 

The Empire Builder

WHY A TRAIN? For the adventure, for one. To see America in a leisurely way. To meet other Americans who choose to travel by train. And, hopefully, less exposure to COVID (despite our vaccinations.) We’re excited that the CDC and President Biden have proclaimed that vaccinated people no longer need social distance or wear masks. We are finally ready to re-enter the world after more than a year.

The Empire Builder’s Route

We’ll board the Amtrak Empire Builder at the King Street Station in Seattle for Chicago–a journey that will take 46 hours. The Empire Builder will take us through the Cascade Mountains to Glacier National Park. Next through Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota. Then south through Minnesota by way of Minneapolis. Through Wisconsin and Illinois to our destination, Chicago.

The King Street Station in Seattle

The Empire Builder is renowned for its full-length Great Dome car to offer passengers sweeping views of the route through three dome coaches and one full-length Great Dome for first-class passengers (that’s us!)

The Empire Builder’s Great Dome Car

Traveling in Style

WE’LL BE TRAVELING in style, first-class, with a bedroom aboard the train. According to Amtrak, the bedroom features:

  • A sofa and armchair by day
  • Upper and lower berths by night
  • Fresh towels and linens
  • In-room sink, restroom, and shower
  • A dedicated Sleeping Car attendant
  • Complimentary lounge access
  • Priority boarding
  • Complimentary meals

Amtrak Bedrooms

A Historic Train

THE EMPIRE BUILDER is an Amtrak long-distance passenger train. Introduced in 1929, the Empire Builder was the flagship passenger train of the Great Northern Railway and its successor, the Burlington Northern Railroad. It was retained by Amtrak when it took over intercity rail service in 1971.

The Great Northern Railway inaugurated the Empire Builder on June 10, 1929. It was named in honor of the company’s founder, James J. Hill, who had reorganized several failing railroads into the only successful attempt at a privately funded transcontinental railroad. It reached the Pacific Northwest in the late 19th century, and for this feat, he was nicknamed “The Empire Builder.” (Source: Wikipedia.)

All Aboard!

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Debora Ragland Buerk
The Write Stuff
Looking at life from a different POV.

2 thoughts on “All Aboard!”

  1. I took The Empire Builder west from Chicago to Portland in 1981 with Adam & Emily. We met so many wonderful people on our journey who helped entertain a 5 & 3 yr. old. The views are phenomenal. Enjoy your new adventure, Debora & Larry!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your friend left Rice Lake, Wisconsin in November 1947. My mother, my two sisters, one 13 and one not quite two were with me. I was seven. We were on our way to board the Empire Builder in Minneapolis. I was very excited as we would be moving to Portland. My father had accepted a job at American Linen Supply and had preceded us by two months. My high school brother chose to go by Greyhound. My oldest brother, a freshman at the University of WI, joined us later. I cherish so many memories of that trip.

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