Four trains west
13 Images

Four trains west

Four trains west

An Amtrak train rolls by the north bank of the Columbia River in Wishram, Wash., in the Portland section of the Empire Builder route.

 (Amtrak)
Four trains west

Breakfast, being served here aboard the westbound Capitol Limited, is Amtrak’s most consistently tasty meal. This dining car, standard equipment on the Capitol, is a “Cross Country Cafe,” which includes a small lounge section.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago Union Station, which a year ago replaced a much smaller, dowdier facility.

Amtrak’s Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago Union Station, which a year ago replaced a much smaller, dowdier facility there, includes this “Pennsylvania Room,” paying homage to the Pennsylvania Railroad, one of the ancestral lines that used the station.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

The Capitol Limited’s Sightseer Lounge is bright and airy, accommodating readers as well as gawkers in a spacious and comfortable environment.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
The Capitol Limited’s Sightseer Lounge is the place to be as the westbound train rolls into Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

The Capitol Limited’s Sightseer Lounge is the place to be as the westbound train rolls into Harpers Ferry, W.Va., where the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers meet -- as do Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

In Havre, Mont., where the train makes a leisurely stop, a statue of James J. Hill stands behind the BNFS (the railroad over which the Empire Builder runs) divisional offices, which also holds the Amtrak station. Hill, president of the Great Northern, now part of BNSF, was known as the “Empire Builder” and so is the train’s eponymous figure.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

Eastern Montana, sad country where farming proved unsustainable, has many unintended monuments to this failure and the population’s decline.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

Note is taken near Shelby, Mont., of the meth epidemic that has overtaken much of the rural United States already beset by poverty and declining work opportunities.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

The main street of Shelby, Mont., is empty as the Empire Builder pulls to a stop.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

On a sunny late afternoon in West Glacier, Mont., passengers from the lone Portland-bound sleeper, the last Amtrak car in the train, chat with the car’s attendant. Behind it are two historic cars owned by Northern Sky Rail Charters with a private group aboard.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

The Empire Builder’s trip to Portland ended on a high note with a morning-long run along the Columbia River, with glimpses of Mount Hood popping up for most of the way.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Cascades trains operate between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, Canada. They’re unique on the Amtrak system.

Cascades trains operate between Eugene, Ore., and Vancouver, Canada. They’re unique on the Amtrak system, with Spanish-designed, articulated Talgo trainsets, and they also have a unique livery. This Cascades train is ready to depart Portland, Ore., for Seattle.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
Four trains west

Journey’s end was Seattle’s King Street Station, stunning today after a stop-and-go restoration that spanned two decades.

 (Karl Zimmermann)
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