Amtrak History Archives -

Watch: St. Paul Union Depot to Welcome Amtrak Customers

By | Cross country | 3 Comments

Customers planning to ride our Empire Builder through St. Paul, Minn., this summer are in for a treat. A total restoration of St. Paul Union Depot (affectionately called “SPUD” by savvy travelers) is now complete, and beginning May 7, Amtrak will begin service to the magnificent building.

The service will begin before National Train Day, a free day of family-friendly festivities across the country on May 10.

“Just in time for National Train Day, Empire Builder passengers will have better access to all the Twin Cities have to offer from Union Depot with more local and regional connections, enhanced amenities and a historic waiting room hosting community events,” says Mark Murphy, Amtrak general manager for long-distance trains.

For history buffs traveling on the Empire Builder, be sure to Google “James J. Hill.” He was the namesake of the Empire Builder and also one of the nine founders of the St. Paul Union Depot Company, which built the original Union Depot waaaaaay back in 1881.

“These historic buildings can be saved, be made more relevant to the transportation network and serve as ‘front doors’ to their communities and to the future,” Murphy says of SPUD and similar openings in Denver and Kansas City.

This beautiful building isn’t just used as a transportation hub. Art installations, musical performances and community events are often hosted at the historic location, as explained by Rafael Ortega, the Ramsey, Minn., regional railroad chair, in the video above.

To learn more about SPUD and all that it has to offer, watch the video at the top of this page!


What’s your favorite thing about historic train stations? Tell us in the comments below!

From Stations to Slopes: The History of Amtrak Ski Trains

By | Cross country | No Comments

Retro Amtrak Ski PosterOur Winter Ski Getaway is in its final days, so we’re using this Throwback Thursday to hit the slopes!

Long before we tracked a group of brave free skiers through Montana, Amtrak made a business of delivering customers to some of the best ski terrain in the country. Few people know, however, that it all started in 1936 in the Sawtooth Mountains near Ketchum, Idaho, thanks to a former chairman of the Union Pacific Railroad. He spotted an opportunity and opened his own resort!

Learn more about Amtrak ski trains at

Today our trains still bring customers to some of the best slopes in the country, including Whitefish, Mont., for skiing at Big Mountain and to Denver and Glenwood Springs for easy access to Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Aspen, Snowmass, Sunlight Mountain and Powderhorn.

Back in the 1970s, one of the first routes we heavily promoted was the Montrealer (northbound)/Washingtonian (southbound) between Washington and Montreal. Although it passed through Vermont in the late evening and early morning, the train stopped at towns like White River Junction, Montpelier and St. Albans that were close to major ski centers.

For winter weather enthusiasts, Amtrak can still get you to some of the nation’s coolest (get it?) destinations. But if you’re looking to save 20 percent, book our Empire Builder to Whitefish by April 8!

To learn more about the history of Amtrak’s Ski Trains, visit