GN/BN Empire Builder Question?

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GN/BN Empire Builder Question?

Postby AmtrakFan » Mon Sep 06, 2004 9:55 pm

What was the Empire Builders Consist in the late 50's and early 60's? Also what was it in BN Days?


A Reference Source

Postby 2nd trick op » Sun Oct 10, 2004 12:51 pm

The exact date escapes me, but if you can get access to back copies of TRAINS, possibly through a major library, there is an excellent narrative of a trip on the Empire Bulder, sometime around 1960. The name of the article was "The Clean Window Train". Good Luck.
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Postby AmtrakFan » Sun Oct 10, 2004 6:34 pm



gn/bn empire builders quesiton

Postby bill haithcoat » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:51 pm

Amtrak fan--I just discovered this question of yours (from September and October) today. I don't know if you are still interested, or if you have found some info otherwise.

However, I should be able to help you with this next week, around Feb. 15 or so ----- my computer is at home, I am at work, and I will be on vacation after today and until next Tuesday.

Meanwhile, from memory, (at the office), I recall it being something like this: maybe about 3 coaches and 3 pullmans CHI to - Seattle, maybe about two each to Portland. A diner, a great dome, Some of the coaches will have domes.

Keep in mind in later years it and its archrival, Northern Pacific"s "North Coast Limited"(similar equipment) ran combined from CHI to the Twin Cities, on CB&Q or later BN tracks. As I recall, I sort of think the Portland sections of these two trains ran combined between Spokane and Portland, also.

In the early days of Amtrak, there was a train called the "North Coast Hiawatha". That name was meant to evoke the memory of both the North Coast Liimited and the Olympian Hiwatha, a Milwaukee train to Seattle and Tacoma.
bill haithcoat

Postby AmtrakFan » Thu Feb 10, 2005 1:07 pm

Yes I am still intersted.

Postby CarterB » Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:00 pm

Sometime soon after "A Day", (1971-72) I rode one of the few Dome/Lounge/Sleepers from Chicago to Seattle. (I think Empire Builder? maybe North Coast Hiawatha?) (I do remember going via Minot, ND and
I seem to remember it had been repainted in the GN/BN "all blue" scheme? I do remember that I had one of the few duplex single rooms and that the car had a "Lounge in the Sky" Anyone know the color scheme/s of the "soon after A Day" sleeper domes?
Bring back the Slumbercoaches!!
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gn/bn empire builder question

Postby bill haithcoat » Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:45 am

I brought in a timetable for April 27, 1969, it seems to be representative. Seems the consist did not change too much during the years, except it was normally longer in the summer.

here goes:

60 seat coach CHI-Sea
46 seats dome coach CHI-SEA(summer only)
46 seats dome coach Chi-Sea
48 seat coach St. Paul Seattle (summer only)
48 seats coach St. Paul Portland(summer only)
46 seat dome coach Chi-Portland
Ranch lounge Chi-Sea(lounge for caoch passengrs)
Diner Chi-Seattle and Portland
Pullmans, 6 roomette 5 double bedroom 2 compartment. Chi Sea(Summer only)
7 duplex roomette, 6 dbr, 1 compt, Chi-Sea
6 rmt 5 dbr 2 compt Chi-Portland
6 rmte, 5 dbr, 2 compt st. paul sea(summer only)
6 rmte 3 dbr buffetlounge Spokane Portland
Great dome fulll length lounge(lower level beverage service for all passengers,upper level dome for sleeper only
bill haithcoat

Postby Scoring Guy » Mon Oct 10, 2005 11:32 am

Mr. Haithcoat:
The one thing I would differ with you on here is the location of the Full Length dome car: I would suggest that it would have been coupled behind the dining car and in front of the sleeping cars (for one reason it would have been a good place for the 1st class passengers to "Que" up for meals).
The 6 roomette, 3 bedroom lounge/buffet car was basically a round ended "Coulee" observation car (re-floorplanned after the arrival of the full domes) , albeit, with not much lounge space left in the rounded end, and would certainly have been that last car in the consist, although it wasn't usually (if ever) earmarked for Portland, but rather Seattle.
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GN/BN empire builder question

Postby bill haithcoat » Mon Oct 10, 2005 11:47 am

No problem. You are right on both counts.

I was not attempting to list cars in exact order(as if I had seen an actual consist). I was just listing them as I found them lifted off the page of the timetable.

Perhaps the large dome was put at the rear of the listing because they thought it would stand out better that way, or sometrhing.
bill haithcoat

Postby Scoring Guy » Thu Oct 20, 2005 1:18 pm

Actually I was wrong on one of these points;
Since the timetable you cited was from 1969, the GN had retired the "Coulee" observation cars by that time, so this wasn't a Chicago-Seattle observation car:
therefore, your listing of of the 6rmte, 3br,Buffet/Lounge car, was correct as a Portland/Spokane car - which was owned and operated the SP&S which shuttled the GN (and NP) thru cars between Spokane and Portland on their "Dome Streamliner", for EB and NCL, and on the #3 & #4 for the WS and MS.
I was thinking with the wrong part of my body again. Sorry.
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