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.
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© The MrT Podcast Studio 2017 to 2018