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Home > Archives > Empire Builder in the mountains, 1980s.

Empire Builder in the mountains, 1980s.

Black and white photograph showing the Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle) passing through snow-capped mountains; image probably dates to the early 1980s.

<i>Empire Builder</i> in the mountains, 1980s.

The Empire Builder was the first train to feature full bi-level Superliner service, with inaugural trains making their debut at the end of October 1979. To mark the occasion, “Champagne was offered to adult passengers…and buttons and other souvenirs were distributed.”

Earlier in the month, promotional trains with Superliner coaches, a Dining car and a Sleeping car had covered the entire route between Chicago and Seattle, stopping at each Amtrak-served community to show off the new face of long-distance train travel. Visitors could tour the cars and learn about accommodations. At St. Cloud, Staples and Detroit Lakes in Minnesota, the display train welcomed approximately 5,000 enthusiastic visitors despite cool temperatures. This photograph was most likely taken in western Montana or Idaho.

Photographer: Unknown for Amtrak.