Day 2 on the Empire Builder

Saint Paul Travel Blog

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Sunset from the Empire Builder
We had a long stop in St Paul, Minnesota and I was able to stretch my legs for a bit before breakfast in the dining car. During breakfast, I sat with a nice couple from Connecticut, he was a retired newspaper man and I enjoyed speaking with him about news reporting and photography. My father was in the newspaper business too.

After breakfast I went back to my sleeper car and just stared out the window as the scenery went by. I reflected on my trip and was becoming saddened that it was almost over with. With one more big event to go in Chicago, then home, it seemed as only a few days had passed since I started the trip, instead of 4 weeks.

I made my way to the lounge car and started a conversation with Andrea from the UK who has been traveling around the United States for 3 weeks. We spoke about our travels and shared stories. Once again, this is why I enjoy the train, you get to meet the nicest people from almost anywhere.
mahoney says:
All the photos taken from the train were taken though the windows of the observation cars. Thanks for the comments!
Posted on: May 22, 2008
proloz says:
Yes CFD, both the Capitol Limited and the Empire Builder trains both had observation cars with domed windows. Very cool. BTW, I'm originally from the UK and rode trains everywhere there....the country is so huge here though that you can be on a train for 3 days---like me! LOL

Last year I traveled across country from Maryland to Everett WA on the Capitol Limited--switching in Chicago to the Empire Builder. I was on a train for 3 days and it cost around $2000 for myself and my husband. Thing is, I won't fly. So by train we went. It was quite an adventure. A vacation in itself.

The meals were wonderful, the staff friendly. Showering while on a train is a bit of an But overall it was very nice. Great way to see the scenery across the US. I hope that Amtrak travel increases because people just don't know what they are missing.

The roomettes are a little pricey, but worth it---it's a must on the Empire builder if you are going the whole way. To be able to lay down and sleep was sooooo nice. My husband had a steak every evening for dinner, he was in heaven there. The food was really yummy.

I do have to say though, on the way back to Chicago we were almost SIX hours late....we missed our connecting train out of the city and Amtrak put us up in the Homewood Suites Hotel, which is owned by Hilton. It was VERY nice....and luckily fit into our schedule. So we got a free night in Chicago to boot. In a very nice suite. I figured they'd put us in a Hampton Inn or something equivalent to that.

Oh and on a side note---the Metro Lounge in Union Station is really great. Make sure you utilize it---it's free to those departing on a sleeper or arriving on a sleeper. I'm very thankful we used it both ways, as the couch Amtrak lounge looked very uncomfy. Plus we got to check our bags for free and got free refreshments.

Overall I truly enjoyed it. When we first boarded the train in Cumberland, Maryland I was quite nervous and didn't know what to expect. By our return journey on the empire builder I felt like an old pro at train travel. :)
Posted on: May 22, 2008
CFD says:
Does they still have the observation decks on some of the long distance trains? A friend of mine who traveled with amtrack many years ago where really impressed with them.. Here in Europe were complaining if the train ride is more than 5-6hour. Guess we're spoiled ;)
Posted on: Jan 25, 2008
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Sunset from the Empire Builder
Sunset from the Empire Builder
Saint Paul
photo by: mahoney