The Empire Builder [May 2005]

For this year's Essexpress Weekend, I chose to return to the Seattle section of the Empire Builder. While Portland offers a much better airport-train connection, and the Columbia Gorge is beautiful, there's something about a trip to the Seattle waterfront for a bowl of clam chowder, follwed by dinner in the diner as the train approaches the Cascade Tunnel.
King Street Station is, at long last, undergoing a major rennovation. Inside, many of the opulent ceiling details of the waiting room have reappeared, while outside, brick cleaning and iron work is restoring Jim Hill's beautiful civic work.
Always a Class Act, attendant Eugene Montgomery, in his fifth (and final) decade of service, poses in front of Line 830.
Before depature time, the Conductor briefs Attendant Montgomery...or is it the other way around?
After an on-time departure, we pass by the giant Interbay engine facility, with dozens of BNSF locomotives in attendance.
At Skykomish, the Cascades beckon in the distance.
The following morning, an ancient wooden baggage cart is used to offload luggage at Whitefish.
On our early arrival returning to Seattle, we find the Coast Starlight still in the station.
Amtrak's maintenance and cleaning crews quickly go to work, preparing the Empire Builder for yet another run later in the day.
One last look, as Mr. Montgomery departs for the Seattle crewbase, a job well done.

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