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Severe Winter Weather Cancels Empire Builder

Written by Bruce E. Kelly, Contributing Editor
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Bruce Kelly photo

Amtrak’s long-distance Empire Builder trains originating in Seattle, Portland, and Chicago on 12/20 and 12/21 have been cancelled due to severe winter weather that is expected for large segments of the route. 

Empire Builder Trains 7/27 and 8/28 originating Dec. 20 and 21 are cancelled entirely with no alternate transportation due to delayed operations for the past few days and forecasted severe weather,” Amtrak spokesperson Marc Magliari confirmed with Railway Age.

In the photo above, the westbound Empire Builder is seen arriving Spokane, Wash., nearly six hours behind schedule on Dec. 19. Sub-zero temperatures across North Dakota and Montana caused one or more of the new Charger locomotives to malfunction en route, bringing the train to a stop multiple times. The extreme cold also left the dining car’s water lines frozen, forcing First Class passengers to choose between beef stew or whatever microwaved meals were available in the Sightseer Lounge car.

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