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Early Amtrak routes in Washington state

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#1 Twin Star Rocket

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Posted 24 August 2018 - 10:11 PM

It's interesting to trace the route structure of the long distance trains through some selected Amtrak timetables:

At the start of Amtrak in 1971, only the Empire Builder operated; the North Coast Hiawatha was inaugurated within the first year.


01-16-72:  Empire Builder (7/8) and North Coast Hiawatha (9/10) both use former NP line from Seattle to Pasco via Auburn to reach Spokane.


06-11-72:   Same situation as 01-16-72


05-19-74:  Empire Builder (7/8)  uses ex-NP line as before.

                  North Coast Hiawatha(9/10) uses ex-GN line via Wenatchee.


06-15-76:  Same as 05-19-74


08-30-80:  Empire Builder (7/8) uses ex-NP line as before.

                  North Coast Hiawatha terminated a year or two earlier during Carter-era cuts.


08-31-82:  Empire Builder uses ex-GN line to Seattle and ex-SP&S line to Portland.


Note:  While the Empire Builder used the ex-NP line between Seattle and Pasco via Auburn, it used the ex-SP&S line between

           Pasco and Spokane in one direction and the ex-NP line between Pasco and Spokane in the other direction.  This is not

           discernible from Amtrak timetables!







  • ehbowen likes this

I have traveled by train since 1956 in the USA (including Alaska), Canada (including the Yukon), Mexico, Western Europe, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Zimbabwe.
My last pre-Amtrak trip was the Texas Chief from Ft. Worth to Chicago and the Capitol Limited from Chicago (Northwestern station) to Washington D.C.
I rode my first Amtrak train in April 1972. I have ridden nearly all the long-distance routes including the Texas Chief (Lone Star), Inter-American, Panama Limited, National Limited, Pioneer, Desert Wind, Spirit of California, Sunset Limited (Florida extension), Broadway Limited, and Chief. I also rode the Rio Grande Zephyr, Southern Crescent, Peoria Rocket, Georgia RR mixed train, and Soo Line mixed train in the post-Amtrak era.

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