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Home > Archives > Empire Builder 75th anniversary button, 2004.

Empire Builder 75th anniversary button, 2004.

Promotional button made to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle/Portland). Metal button with pin; measures approximately 2.25" across.

<i>Empire Builder</i> 75th anniversary button, 2004.

The inaugural run of the Empire Builder departed Chicago Union Station for Seattle on June 10, 1929. The train was christened the Empire Builder the next day in St. Paul, Minn., before continuing westward. Ralph Budd, president of the Great Northern Railway (GN), named the transcontinental train to honor the legacy of the GN's founder, James J. Hill - known as the "Empire Builder."

Amtrak took over operation of the train on May 1, 1971. The route covers 2,255 (Portland) / 2,205 miles (Seattle), passes through eight states and has 46 stops. To mark the 75th anniversary, celebrations took place aboard the train in both directions and at many key stations.

The Amtrak Empire Builder was the first train to feature full Superliner service, with inaugural trains making their debut at the end of October 1979. Earlier in the month, promotional trains with Superliner coaches, a dining car and a sleeping car had covered the entire route, stopping at each Amtrak-served community to show off the new face of long-distance train travel.

From the Amtrak Corporate Collection.