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Official Amtrak Empire Builder partner

Wanderu is an official partner of Amtrak Empire Builder

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About Amtrak Empire Builder

The Empire Builder is Amtrak’s long-distance passenger rail service that connects Chicago with the Pacific Northwest. Empire Builder trains run daily in either direction, stopping at 45 cities along the way, including Milwaukee, the Twin Cities, and Spokane. West of Spokane, the service is split between two separate routes – one to/from Seattle and one to/from Portland. With over 1,200 daily passengers, this is one of Amtrak’s most popular services. A full trip from Chicago to Seattle/Portland takes about 45-46 hours and covers over 2,200 miles.

The Empire Builder passenger train service was first introduced in 1929 by the Great Northern Railway that operated the route until 1970 when it was transformed into Burlington Northern. In 1971, Amtrak took over the route and has been its main passenger rail service operator ever since.

Contact Amtrak Empire Builder

Phone number: US: 1 (800) 872-7245

Quickview

Amtrak Empire Builder train coverage

Daily Trips407
stations45
cities45
countries1

Amtrak Empire Builder train amenities

Amtrak Empire Builder
Air conditioningAir conditioning
RestroomRestroom
Extra legroomExtra legroom
Loyalty rewardsLoyalty rewards
Power outletPower outlet
SnacksSnacks

What travelers are saying about Amtrak Empire Builder

Here’s what Wanderu users who have booked trips with Amtrak Empire Builder had to say about their travel experience.

Traveling During COVID-19

“They took COVID safety precautions seriously.”
based on 46 reviews

Onboard Experience

“The WiFi actually worked for the entire trip”
based on 64 reviews
“I’ll travel with them again just for the staff!”
based on 164 reviews
“Really cheap tickets and really good service.”
based on 174 reviews
“The train got there on time.”
based on 156 reviews
“Seats were really comfy and spacious”
based on 180 reviews
“The train was almost suspiciously clean”
based on 171 reviews

Amtrak Empire Builder Routes & Network

Amtrak Empire Builder’s train network features 750 train routes that connect 45 cities serving 45 stations. On average, Amtrak Empire Builder performs about 407 train trips every day. The top cities to which Amtrak Empire Builder offers the highest number of daily train service include Grand Forks and St Paul.

Top Cities Served by Amtrak Empire Builder

CityRouteEarliest trainLatest train
Chicago207:02 am4:37 am
St Paul187:02 am5:37 am
Seattle155:24 am7:49 am
Spokane115:24 am7:49 am
Whitefish156:24 am4:20 am
Portland146:24 am7:49 am
Wenatchee119:15 am4:59 am
Milwaukee167:02 am2:47 am
La Crosse126:02 am11:59 pm

Top States Served by Amtrak Empire Builder

StateCities ServedDaily TripsTop city
Idaho115Sandpoint
Montana1196Whitefish
North Dakota7129Fargo
Minnesota6272St Paul
Wisconsin6440Milwaukee
Oregon1145Portland
Washington11542Seattle
Illinois2747Chicago

Amtrak Empire Builder reviews from Wanderu customers

Overall review score for Amtrak Empire Builder

(Based on 205 reviews)

4.4
Ratings (Out of 5)
Comfort

4.5

Timeliness

4.3

Staff

4.4

Value

3.9

Condition

4.4

Amtrak Empire Builder passenger reviews

3.0

Geoff

October 8, 2021- Solo travel

Everett to Wenatchee

Pros: Very comfortable. Cons: Just too slow, stopped too many times. driving is much faster.

Pros: Very comfortable. Cons: Just too slow, stopped too many times. driving is much faster.

5.0

Donna

October 5, 2021- Business

Seattle to Wenatchee

Pros: Very relaxing way to commute to the airport from Wenatchee. Smooth ride and very quiet. Cons: More clear directions on how to access WiFi, if any. No network was available.

Pros: Very relaxing way to commute to the airport from Wenatchee. Smooth ride and very quiet. Cons: More clear directions on how to access WiFi, if any. No network was available.

4.0

Debra

September 23, 2021- Solo travel

Seattle to Wenatchee

The bathrooms were in sore need of cleaning.

The bathrooms were in sore need of cleaning.

5.0

Lily

September 3, 2021- Business

Everett to Wenatchee

Pros: Seats were assigned to ensure everybody could have the two-seat row to themselves. On-train staff were friendly and helpful. Cons: Amtrak didn't make it clear that baggage couldn't be checked. I was able to put my suitcase on the luggage rack but was confused abo...

Pros: Seats were assigned to ensure everybody could have the two-seat row to themselves. On-train staff were friendly and helpful. Cons: Amtrak didn't make it clear that baggage couldn't be checked. I was able to put my suitcase on the luggage rack but was confused about whether or not there was an extra charge for that (there wasn't, thank goodness). Also, please get wifi! Tips: Print your ticket! Makes things a lot of easier for staff at the train station.

More

5.0

heather

August 25, 2021- Solo travel

St Paul to Fargo

Pros: I never knew how classy and spacious a train was. It truly is the way to travel. Cons: Publicity.... advertising....promotion...in fact give me the job and your trains will be very busy . Tips: Enjoy.

Pros: I never knew how classy and spacious a train was. It truly is the way to travel. Cons: Publicity.... advertising....promotion...in fact give me the job and your trains will be very busy . Tips: Enjoy.

Most popular Amtrak Empire Builder routes

The train from Grand Forks to St Paul is Amtrak Empire Builder’s most popular route. Trips from Milwaukee to La Crosse and Spokane to Seattle are also highly popular.

Top Amtrak Empire Builder routes

RouteDaily TripsDurationPrice
Grand Forks to St Paul26h 41m$57
Milwaukee to La Crosse23h 19m$40
Spokane to Seattle18h 10m$36
Portland to Pasco14h 2m$46
Seattle to Wenatchee13h 52m$28
St Paul to Chicago27h 55m$72
Wisconsin Dells to Chicago23h 47m$40
Portland to Spokane17h 28m$57
Seattle to Leavenworth13h 20m$25

Amtrak Empire Builder Cancellation Policy

All Amtrak Empire Builder tickets can be cancelled for a full refund within the first 24 hours after purchase. If more than 24 hours have passed, the cancellation policy and change fee structure for Amtrak bookings depend on the type of fare you purchased:

Saver Fare tickets: A 25% fee applies for any changes. If you cancel the trip, you will receive an eVoucher worth 75% of the original ticket price.

Value Fare tickets: No change fees and fully refundable up to 15 or more days before departure. If cancelled less than 14 days before departure, a 25% cancellation fee applies.

Flexible, Business and Premium Fare tickets: No change fees and fully refundable if cancelled or changed before departure.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable after the train has departed, so be sure to make your updates as soon as possible if your travel plans change.

If your Amtrak Empire Builder ticket is eligible for change or cancellation, you can do that by calling Amtrak’s customer service phone number at 1 (800) 872-7245. To cancel or change your booking online, simply go to www.amtrak.com and click on the “Modify Trip” tab in the upper right corner.

Wanderu also offers an affordable trip protection option by Allianz Global Assistance that you can purchase when booking your tickets. In addition to 24-hour assistance during your trip and coverage for lost or damaged baggage, trip protection can help you get your money back in case you need to cancel or change your trip. You can file a claim to have any Amtrak change or cancellation fees reimbursed if you cannot travel due to covered reasons such as illness, extreme weather, or required work shifts.

Amtrak Empire Builder Train Guide & FAQs

Do Amtrak Empire Builder trains have WiFi?

No, unfortunately Amtrak Empire Builder does not offer WiFi aboard its trains at this time. However, we find that a good book makes the time fly by and streaming services like Netflix allow you download TV shows and movies that you can then watch during your trip. Plan ahead and you will stay entertained during the entire train ride.

Are there power outlets or USB plugs on the train?

Yes, there are power outlets onboard Amtrak Empire Builder trains. You can generally find one or two sockets per row of seats, so be a good traveller and check if your seat neighbor might want to charge up their devices as well. With the onboard power outlets, you can charge both a computer and USB devices with a USB power adapter that typically comes with most phones and tablets.

Since Amtrak Empire Builder might sometimes use replacement train vehicles, not all trips are guaranteed to have power points. We recommend to bring a power bank to charge your phone for all trips over 2 hours, just in case.

What is Amtrak Empire Builder's schedule?

On a typical day, Amtrak Empire Builder has 407 scheduled train trips in total. However, the exact departure and arrival times vary depending on the day and route. The best way to find the exact schedule for your trip is to use the search tool on this page.

Can you pick up will call tickets at the station?

No, Amtrak Empire Builder does not offer will call tickets. You should purchase your tickets online and make sure you have everything you need to board before you arrive at the station.

Do you need an ID to get on the train?

Yes, Amtrak Empire Builder requires you to present an ID to an agent to be allowed to board the train. Make sure you have identification issued by a government agency that meets the carrier’s requirements. Alternative IDs, such as a college ID, won’t work.

What are Amtrak Empire Builder’s COVID-19 policies?

Visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide to view the most up-to-date information about Amtrak Empire Builder’s cleaning protocols and adjusted ticket change policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are there bathrooms on Amtrak Empire Builder trains?

Yes, there are bathrooms on Amtrak Empire Builder trains. The bathrooms are pretty basic and include a toilet, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Most bathrooms don’t have running water. As you will be using a bathroom on a moving vehicle, please use caution and hold on to a rail at all times.

Are meals or beverages available?

Amtrak Empire Builder provides snacks to satisfy your hunger during your travels. Be sure to pack a credit card and some cash in case you get hungry.

Do you have to print your Amtrak Empire Builder ticket?

Amtrak Empire Builder does not require a printed ticket to board the train. Instead, an eTicket is sent to you by email when you make your reservation. You can use your smartphone to show this eTicket to the ticketing agent as you board.

Does Amtrak Empire Builder offer any premium features like extra legroom or movies?

Amtrak Empire Builder goes the extra distance to deliver premium features to its customers.

Do you find yourself squished in a regular seat or just love having extra room to sprawl out? Well you’re in luck as Amtrak Empire Builder offers extra legroom seating. Since there is no standard of what extra legroom is, the extra space you get may vary between train lines, but getting extra is always good.

Cheap Amtrak Empire Builder tickets recently found on Wanderu

With 407 Amtrak Empire Builder trips per day, there are a lot of great deals to uncover for the bargain hunter and Amtrak Empire Builder tickets start at just $7.41. Check out some of the latest and greatest deals snatched up by Wanderu users.