US Rail Journeys – Red Wing to Milwaukee – S1 Ep.9

In the ninth episode of US Rail Journeys we journey on the Empire Builder from Red Wing to Milwaukee. For much of our journey we are on the Milwaukee Road. The Milwaukee Road was the name often given to the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad.

The first stop in this episode is at Winona where 17,500 passengers used the station in 2017.  This is followed by La Crosse where a Frenchman first noticed Native Americans playing a game where they caught a ball in a net attached to a stick – see the original Lacrosse.

Next we pass through Tomah where the station was used by 13,800 passengers in 2017. After this we stop at Wisconsin Dells, another small station along the way. Passengers joining the train here must buy their tickets from the conductor as, apart from the janitor, it is an unstaffed station.

The countryside is very different from yesterday. The river is vast but the fields are much smaller and the towns much closer together.

Portage is next, another small station seeing less than 10,000 passengers in 2017. Shortly after leaving Portage we reach Columbus, Wisconsin. Another small station it, along with Portage, serves the Madison Metropolitan area.

Our final stop in this episode is at Milwaukee station. This station is served by the Empire Builder and also Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service in addition to local trains and numerous bus routes. The modern station was rebuilt in 2007.

Passengers can disembark for an ‘air break’ in Milwaukee before the train sets off on the next leg towards Chicago.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery.

Join us in two weeks for the next episode where our traveller completes his journey from Portland to Chicago aboard the Empire Builder.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The theme music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

In addition to this website the podcasts are also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

US Rail Journeys – Havre to Red Wing – S1 Ep8

In the eighth episode of US Rail Journeys our traveller continues his journey on the Empire Builder from Havre to Red Wing by the majestic Mississippi.

The first stop in this episode is at Havre in Montana.  Passengers can take an ‘air break’ here. Whilst at the station our traveller views Great Northern loco 2584. This S2 4-8-4 locomotive ran on oil and was in service from 1930 to 1957. The S2 class pulled the Oriental Limited and Empire Builder trains. Find out more about the S2 class here.

Whilst in Havre a long freight train passes through the station. The trucks are loaded with containers two high. I hope they don’t find any low tunnels! More about Havre Station here.

Our journey continues across mile upon mile of grain fields. The prairie really is vast. It is mainly flat but occasionally you can see hills in the distance. The journey continues past the occasional farmstead and we frequently see grain silos.

The scenery changes as we reach the Milk River with trees along the riverbank. The train passes through Malta and on to Glasgow. After leaving Glasgow we pass large grain silos beside the tracks. The grain is loaded in to trains from these silos before being taken away.

The journey continues through Montana with the train passing through Wolf Point, past derelict cars at the bottom of some gardens. The route passes close to the historic Fort Union Trading Post (more here) around 25 miles from our next stop at Williston in North Dakota.

After our stop in Williston the night draws in. Overnight we pass through a string of stations before arriving at Union Station, St Paul, in the morning (details here). The station serves the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

After leaving St. Paul we soon meet the mighty Mississippi which we travel alongside for the rest of this episode.

The episode concludes during the morning when the Empire Builder reaches Red Wing for a short stop where the carriages stop across the level crossing.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery.

Join us in two weeks for the next episode where our traveller continues his journey from Portland to Chicago aboard the Empire Builder.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The theme music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

In addition to this website the podcasts are also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

US Rail Journeys – From Pasco to Shelby – S1 Ep7

In the seventh episode of US Rail Journeys our traveller continues his journey on the Empire Builder from Pasco to Shelby.

It is dark when the train stops at Pasco. Our traveller joins the other passengers on the platform for an ‘air break’. This gives him a chance to look at the night sky.

The journey continues into the night. The train stops at Spokane (more details here) and waits for the section of the train that comes from Seattle. Once both parts of the train have been joined the train continues East. Our traveller is in the very last carriage.

About an hour after leaving Spokane the train reaches Sandpoint, the only Amtrak station in Idaho. The station first opened in 1916 (more details here).

The Empire Builder then reaches Libby in Montana in time to be greeted by the early risers! Nearly 5,100 passengers used the station in 2017. (More details here). By the time our traveller is up and dressed the train has reached the relatively busy Whitefish station (57,000 passengers in 2017). Whitefish is the busiest station between the Pacific Ocean and St Paul, Minnesota.

The next station, only 23 miles further on, is West Glacier which was used by 5,000 passengers in 2014; this is followed, forty minutes later, by the ‘request stop’ at Essex station. The local population is less than 50 and most visitors are going to the Isaak Walton Inn (more details here).

Our next stop is at East Glacier Park, open from April to October, for visitors to the Glacier National Park (more details here). We then pass through Browning station, only open in the winter, on our way to Cut Bank, reached nearly an hour later. Cut Bank is home to a large BNSF freight yard which has a number of ‘grain elevators’.

The episode concludes in the late morning when the Empire Builder reaches Shelby where we get the opportunity to stretch our legs and breathe fresh Montana air.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery.

Join us in two weeks for the next episode where our traveller continues his journey from Portland to Chicago aboard the Empire Builder.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The theme music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

In addition to this website the podcasts are also available through iTunes (Apple podcasts), Spotify and Stitcher.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

US Rail Journeys – From Portland to Pasco – S1 Ep6

Our traveller boards the Empire Builder for the journey from Portland to Chicago. The sixth episode of US Rail Journeys describes the part of the journey from Portland to Pasco.

After leaving his hotel he travels to Portland Union station. When he gets to the station he waits in the Metropolitan Lounge for the train to be ready for boarding. It is a grey, wet day as the train leaves Portland. Very quickly our traveller has travelled from Oregon to Washington State.

During the first afternoon / evening the Empire Builder reaches the Columbia River and follows its path for many miles.

The first station after Portland is Vancouver – Washington, not Canada! The station first opened in 1908. The station is a unique, two sided station, because it is shaped in a Y (wye). For more information click here.

The next stop is at the unstaffed Bingen – White Salmon station which opened in 1992. For more information click here. This if followed by Wishram, an important gateway to the Columbia River. In 2017 it was used by 1,577 passengers. For more information click here.

This episode closes with our traveller reaching Pasco station which serves the ‘Tri cities’ of Kennewick, Richland and Pasco. Opened 20 years ago in 1998 it was used by 24,245 passengers in 2017. For more information  click here.

Click on any of the ‘thumbnails’ below to open the photograph gallery..

Join us at the end of next week for the next episode where our traveller continues his journey from Portland to Chicago aboard the Empire Builder.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

The musical excerpt from The Chrysanthemum by Scott Joplin, played by Gerlutz, is rights free from the Musopen library.

In addition to this website the podcasts are available through Spotify and Stitcher.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

US Rail Journeys – In Portland – Series 1 Episode 5

The fifth episode of US Rail Journeys is spent in the city of Portland, Oregon, where our traveller spends two days seeing the sights of this beautiful city.

He takes a Pink Line tour around this relaxed city. The high-point, quite literally, of the tour is Washington Park where the tour ‘trolley’ takes visitors through this beautiful park. The park is over 410 acres on a steeply wooded hillside and the height varies from 200 feet above sea level to 870.

The tour leaves the park and heads for the Willamette River front where the first thing our traveller sees is the Steel Bridge. The bridge was opened in 1912 and is a  double-deck, vertical lift bridge. The lower deck carries railway, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, whilst the upper deck carries road traffic.

Our traveller then passes the riverside station for the Portland Aerial Tram and also the modern Tilikum Crossing bridge. Access to the bridge is restricted to public transport, bicycles and pedestrians.

At the end of the tour our traveller has an interesting talk with the Pink Line driver about working as a tour guide.

Join us at the end of next week for the next episode where our traveller sets out on his journey from Portland to Chicago aboard the Empire Builder.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

Musical excerpt by Oregon based Pink Martini used with permission.

Excerpt from the Richard Berry composition Louie Louie which provided a hit for the Portland based band the Kingsmen in the 1960s.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

US Rail Journeys – Coast Starlight through the Cascades – Series 1 Episode 4

The journey on the Coast Starlight through the Cascades continues northwards. The first stop in this episode is at Chemult station where the passenger numbers increased to nearly 10,500 passengers in 2017.

Our traveller meets interesting people to interview as the journey continues through stunning scenery. We pass the upper reaches of the Willamette River and then Lookout Lake, created in as a reservoir in the 1950s.

The train then reaches the farmland of the Willamette valley as we progress towards Eugene Station used by over 98,000 passengers in 2016. Here passengers are allowed to have an air break on the platform – its been a good few hours since we breathed natural air!

After the short break we continue north to Amtrak’s westernmost station at Albany used by the Coast Starlight and the Cascades services. The station was used by nearly 34,000 passengers in 2017.

North of Albany we reach Salem station built in the Beaux Arts style in 1918 by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Passenger numbers increased to 63,300 in 2017.

The journey continues past the paper mills of Oregon City and on to Portland Union Station used by nearly 600,000 passengers in 2017 where our traveller leaves the Coast Starlight in order to spend two days in the city.

Join us in two weeks for episode 5 where our traveller spends a couple of days in Portland.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

 

 

 

US Rail Journeys – Coast Starlight part 1 – Series 1 Episode 3

The journey for the Coast Starlight starts in the Financial District of San Francisco. Our traveller waits for the Amtrak Thruway bus to take him to Emeryville to board the famed Coast Starlight.

After arriving at Emeryville we experience the sounds of the railway station with trains passing through whilst waiting to board the Coast Starlight. This train runs daily between Los Angeles and Seattle – a train going in each direction.

After boarding our traveller talks about the stations that will be passed during the night. He then stretches out on his bed in the Amtrak Roomette and falls asleep.

On waking in the morning he opens the curtains to a beautiful dawn. Breakfast is taken with changing scenery passing the window whilst travelling north. The train passes through beautiful countryside reaching Klamath Falls station and then Klamath Lake and then on past Mount Mcloughlin in the Cascade range.

During the journey he interviews a fellow traveller who comes from Basingstoke (UK) – its only 20 miles from where our traveller lives!

Join us next week in episode 4 for the second part of the Coast Starlight journey through amazingly beautiful country.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

US Rail Journeys – The sights and sounds of San Francisco – Series 1 Episode 2

Our traveller arrived in the late afternoon (early morning in London) and travelled into the city using the BART system. Having reached his hotel and checked in and we find our traveller in the lift before setting out to experience the sights and sounds of San Francisco.

After a good sleep our traveller sets out to go along to Fisherman’s Wharf where there are many restaurants and other means of spending money. In addition the booking office for Blue and Gold cruises is located beside Pier 39.

We join the harbour cruise where we see the city’s downtown area before heading out to the Golden Gate Bridge; after passing under the bridge into the Pacific Ocean we turn round and pass Alcatraz Island before returning to Pier 39.

We then take a double deck bus and follow the ‘blue’ route on the map in picture 15.

Finally we ride the cable car back down to the bay. After this our traveller returns to his hotel before setting out for the Amtrak Thruway bus service to Emeryville where we will join the Coast Starlight train to Portland.

Join us in episode 3 for the first part of the Coast Starlight journey through amazingly beautiful country.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

The tune Maple Leaf Rag by Scott Joplin is played by Stefano Ligoratti and is supplied from the rights free library at Musopen.org

The music Steam Railway is used under licence from AKM Music.

© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018

US Rail Journeys – From London to San Francisco Series 1 Episode 1

Join our traveller on his daytime flight with British Airways from London (Heathrow Terminal 5) to San Francisco.

Arriving in the late afternoon he passes through Immigration and Customs and then takes the BART train from the Airport to the city where its a short walk to his hotel.

 

Click on a picture to open the gallery.

Full size copies of the photographs taken by MrT are available from Flickr, Facebook and some through Instagram.

US Rail Journeys

Long distance train travel is fun and informative. The journeys covered here are from travelogues made during my travels across the United States using the long distance services provided by Amtrak.

Episodes will be published on a weekly basis after each journey.