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Amtrak trip

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Amtrak trip
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 18, 2001 5:23 AM
I was thinking of riding the "Empire Builder" from the Twin Cities to Glacier National Park. I was wondering if anyone else has ridden the "Builder" and has any travel suggestions.
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Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, August 18, 2001 6:54 AM
I took the Empire Builder out to Seattle from Chicago in October two years ago. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip. I went first class and it was great to have everything done for you. The only down side is the size of the single compartments. With the bed down, there is lillte room to stand which makes it hard to dress. I wound up using the upper birth where I couldn't see out the window. Hope this helps.
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Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, August 19, 2001 12:26 PM
since "71" i've been on the train 7 times. all through trips from chicago west to seattle and portland, or vice versa. it's an underestimated beauty of a trip. the route is interesting and somewhat historic. it's not one of the busiest amtrak runs so there is "elbow" room onboard. the staff and riders are normally friendly and talkative. scenery is a little sparse in the middle but comes back with a fury when you approach glacier park.
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Posted by Anonymous on Monday, August 20, 2001 8:57 AM
Hi Dave,

I just took the Empire Builder from Milwaukee to Seattle to cover the 17th National Garden Railway Convention. It was my first overnighter on a train. My wife and two boys (ages 9 and 11) and my parents came along as well. We booked three economy/standard sleepers.

While it is true that the window in the door to my parent's sleeper was missing, and the train had to apply the emergency brakes several times the first night of the trip because of mechanical failures (it's a bit disconcerting to wake up to the smell of burning brake pads), the trip was good. A couple with whom I had breakfast and who have traveled the US via Amtrak commented that in their experience the Empire Builder is the "armpit route" of Amtrak mostly because of substandard equipment.

At one time we were 2.5 hours behind schedule because of the mechanical malfunctions, but by the time we arrived in Seattle we had made up 2 of those hours. The scenery through Glacier park was fabulous on Saturday evening and all through Sunday morning (daylight hours).

If I had to do it again, I would book a delux sleeper. Economy is a bit cramped. Otherwise, the food was pretty good and we had an enjoyable time.

Regards,

Jim Schulz
associate editor, Trains.com
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Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, August 22, 2001 8:33 PM
thanks for all the information on the trip. I'm looking forward to going on it someday.

thanks, again
Dave.

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