Modified Empire Builder Schedule Starting 4/15

It’s no secret that the Empire Builder has been running late a lot as of recent. Just last month, the train arrived on time a paltry 12% of the time. A large part of this has to do with the never-ending congestion on the tracks in western North Dakota and eastern Montana, home to the latest oil boom in the US. Weather-related delays, such as the mudslides between Seattle and Everett or the avalanche that cut off Essex MT certainly haven’t helped matters either. Starting April 15th, Amtrak will be instituting a new modified schedule for the Empire Builder, which for now is temporary until further notice.

Overall, the new schedule will see trains in the westbound direction (7/27) serving stops roughly 90 minutes later than the current schedule, and trains in the eastbound direction (8.28) will serve stops roughly 3 hours earlier than the current schedule. Below is a table comparing the current and modified schedules for all stops in Washington in both directions.

Station Current Modified
Train 7
Spokane (Arrive) 1:40AM 3:10AM
Spokane (Depart) 2:15AM 3:45AM
Ephrata 4:22AM 5:52AM
Wenatchee 5:35AM 7:05AM
Leavenworth 6:08AM 7:38AM
Everett 8:38AM 10:08AM
Edmonds 9:10AM 10:40AM
Seattle 10:25AM 11:55AM
Train 27
Spokane (Arrive) 1:40AM 3:10AM
Spokane (Depart) 2:45AM 4:15AM
Pasco 5:35AM 7:05AM
Wishram 7:30AM 9:00AM
Bingen-White Salmon 8:04AM 9:34AM
Vancouver 9:18AM 10:48AM
Portland 10:10AM 11:40AM
Station Current Modified
Train 8
Seattle 4:40PM 1:40PM
Edmonds 5:12PM 2:12PM
Everett 5:39PM 2:39PM
Leavenworth 8:00PM 5:00PM
Wenatchee 8:42PM 5:42PM
Ephrata 9:42PM 6:42PM
Spokane (Arrive) 12:45AM 9:45PM
Spokane (Depart) 1:30AM 10:30PM
Train 28
Portland 4:45PM 1:40PM
Vancouver 5:07PM 2:02PM
Bingen-White Salmon 6:21PM 3:16PM
Wishram 6:55PM 3:50PM
Pasco 8:57PM 5:52PM
Spokane (Arrive) 12:13AM 9:08PM
Spokane (Depart) 1:30AM 10:30PM

It’s hard to say at this point how long this modified schedule will remain in place for the Empire Builder. The 7/27 schedule is essentially taking the delayed arrivals that the train has already been doing for weeks now and making it official. The new 8/28 schedule does present some interesting opportunities, as the train is now a “daylight” service. For example, passengers in Wenatchee will be able to catch a Link Transit bus in most any direction that the agency serves, something that hasn’t been possible with the current 8:42PM arrival. With this modified schedule, station hours at most stops will likely be changing accordingly as well, so keep an eye out for that. Amtrak is pretty good about updating that info online, or you can always call them at 1-800-USA-RAIL.

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