Skip to comments.Rail enthusiasts flock to Sandpoint
Posted on 08/03/2010 5:07:25 AM PDT by Willie Green
SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) About 50 trains chug through Sandpoint each day, night and day.
Almost all carry cargo grain, windmill turbines, airplane fuselages, even Barnum and Bailey circus elephants.
Near midnight, and then again at 2:32 a.m., Amtraks Empire Builder drops and collects passengers; Sandpoint boasts the only Amtrak stop in Idaho.
Railfans from throughout the world travel to Sandpoint to train-watch and photograph trains roaring across the bridge over Lake Penned Aureole. Its a magnificent meeting of water, mountain and machine.
Sandpoint traces its vital beginning to the railroads, and the railroads might be one key to its economic future especially if aging baby boomers journey there in great numbers in search of trains.
Love and others would welcome more train promotion nationally, to attract railfans and folks such as Bosse who might retire in Sandpoint because of its train culture.
Trains dont make a big splash, but they are consistent, she said.
Baby boomers those born between 1946 and 1964 will cause a cataclysmic spike in the countrys retirement population between 2010 and 2030, according to the federal Administration on Aging.
Railfans need time and money, Taylor said, and its expected that many retired boomers will possess both.
In Sandpoint, you can watch trains power across the lake, day or night. You can buy houses with train crossings in the back yard.
You can, at least for now, visit a depot built in 1916. You can experience sights and sounds that transport you to a different reality.
(Excerpt) Read more at idahostatejournal.com ...
Railfans from throughout the world travel to Sandpoint to train-watch and photograph trains roaring across the bridge over Lake Penned Aureole.
"Lake Penned Aureole" is actually Lake Pend Oreille
I had never heard of this place before, but I can see where it could be a popular retirement community in addition to being a tourist destination.
If I were a rich man (I'm not), I would own a cabin on the shore of Lake Pend Oreille.
One night in some restaurant we watched some rail grinding equipment working the local curves. I put on a good light show. If they have 50 trains/day, they would likely need are relatively high level of track maintenance.
Wow, that's convenient.
The Navy likes Lake Pend Oreille:
Pretty cool stuff.
's bin spiel chequed, donchaknow...
Wow, that's convenient.
The Empire Builder is Amtrak's busiest long distance route, providing service to over ½ million passengers annually between Chicago and Portland/Seattle (the train splits in Spokane.)
One train passes in each direction daily. The schedule is timed so the train will pass through the scenic Rocky Mountains (especially Glacier National Park) during daylight, but this is more likely in summer and on eastbound trains. It normally takes 45 to 46 hours to travel the entire route, barring delays. This averages 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) including stops.
The eastbound train arrives at East Glacier Park (Amtrak station) at 9:54 AM.
The westbound train arrives from Chicago at 6:45 PM.
Although there is still demand for leisurely long distance passenger rail service, the opportunity for real ridership growth is in shorter, regional trips of less than 600 miles where short-hop airflights are inefficient. IMHO, one way that Amtrak could become more efficient would be to operate Diesel multiple units on a more frequent/conventient schedule (DMUs) on shorter segments of these routes to accommodate commuters/daytrippers rather than long distance travelers.
Although traditional passenger rail is more fuel efficient than car or air travel, DMUs are even more fuel efficient than the classic locomotive pulled passenger cars.
Here is a YouTube of a US RailCar DMU that I think would provide wonderful regional service within these spectacularly scenic routes.