The Amtrak Empire Builder train crosses some of the most dramatic land in the United States, passing through Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington State.
The entire Amtrak Empire Builder route takes 46 hours at average speed of 50 miles per hour, but our plan was to leave Chicago at 2:15 on Thursday afternoon, spend 30 hours in a luxurious bedroom, and arrive just as the sun sets over Glacier National Park at 8:30 on Friday evening. This would be my first experience onboard an overnight train, and I picked what may be America’s Greatest Rail Journey – the Amtrak Empire Builder.
Join me to see what it’s like to travel on this train during these unprecedented times, learn a bit of the history behind this remarkable route, and – perhaps best of all – witness some spectacular sights along the way. In this video, we’ll explore the Amtrak Empire Builder’s route, passenger experience, the scenery the train passes through, and the amenities provided to passengers who book the most luxurious experience available – an Amtrak Bedroom.
We’ll explore the entire Amtrak Sleeper Car in detail, looking at the Amtrak Roomettes AND Amtrak Bedroom Suites.
The Amtrak Empire Builder route traces its heritage back to 1929 when it was the flagship route of the vaunted “Great Northern Railway.” In the early part of the 20th century, railroad companies were the airlines of their time. Perhaps none were as storied as the Great Northern Railway. The Amtrak Empire Builder is the latest incarnation of a route The Great Northern Railway operated. This is the northernmost transcontinental railway in the country and was also the only privately funded transcontinental railroad in the nation’s history. Unlike every other one, it was built without any federal funding.
Today, Amtrak is the only passenger operator the Empire Builder route and, as with nearly all of Amtrak’s operations, we competed with freight traffic, which always takes priority because the freight lines own the track on this route. Amtrak is just borrowing it for the Empire Builder, which means delays are very possible. Fortunately, for us, though, we really didn’t experience any during our 30+ hours onboard!
Watch this video to see one of the most luxurious experiences available on the rails in the United States: Amtrak’s Empire Builder in an Amtrak Bedroom!