Amtrak cancels the Empire Builder

4 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    June, 2011
  • 740 posts
Amtrak cancels the Empire Builder
Posted by NP Eddie on Friday, April 13, 2018 11:52 AM


Amtrak has cancelled the Empire Builder due to upcoming snow storms. What a bunch of wimps! What happened to the days of the Great Northern when the EB operated in all kinds of weather! I saw the eastbound Northtown Coast Limited passing Northtown with lots of snow on it!

Ed Burns

Happily retired NP, etc. from Northtown.



  • Member since
    August, 2006
  • From: South Dakota
  • 1,592 posts
Posted by Dakguy201 on Friday, April 13, 2018 12:08 PM

I am 300 miles south of the route of the Empire Builder.  Locally, they are forecasting 4 to 6 inches of snow, but if you go north much it becomes 6 to 12.  Substantial rain is forecast on the front side of the storm; it wouldn't take much change in temperature before that also was snow.

Given the change in number of employees from the "good old days" on the host railroad, I don't think it unreasonable to suspend the EB until the situation becomes clearer.

Edit to add:  As of 5pm Friday, Interstate 90 is closed between Mitchell and Rapid City. 

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 510 posts
Posted by Bruce Kelly on Friday, April 13, 2018 2:08 PM

The host railroad tells me:

"BNSF transportation and maintenance teams have prepared extensively for the upcoming storm and we do not expect any extended service delays. We are currently operating unrestricted through the John F. Stevens Canyon. However, we’ll continue to follow the Avalanche Safety Program protocol, monitor weather conditions and make operational adjustments if needed."

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: NotIn, TX
  • 528 posts
Posted by VerMontanan on Saturday, April 14, 2018 11:23 AM


Given the change in number of employees from the "good old days" on the host railroad, I don't think it unreasonable to suspend the EB until the situation becomes clearer. 

But the spokeswoman for one of the host railroads said, “Amtrak made its own determination about its schedule; we were fully prepared for them to operate on us.” and “It is business as usual."  So we know that's not the case.

I feel sorry for the current spokesperson at Amtrak who knows better than a lot of the stuff he has to say nowadays.


Mark Meyer

  • Member since
    August, 2005
  • From: At the Crossroads of the West
  • 9,861 posts
Posted by Deggesty on Sunday, April 15, 2018 3:39 PM

As to the California Zephry's late performance Saturday. high winds in western Nebraska caused the dispatcher to stop the train until the winds were abated. I did not note the time when we were stopped after breakfast (we were already late) but our total delay by the time we were allowed to move caused Amtrak to bring relief crews from Denver--and these crews were not qualified east of Denver, for they ran between Denver and Grand Junction. Therefire, BNSF brought pilots out to us--on a heavy light engine (four engines).

We arrived in Salt Lake CIty 12:10 late this morning.


Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy