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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
 #4 Best Ground Travel Provider in the West
 #4 Best Ground Travel Provider in the West

Amtrak Empire Builder Amenities

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

Quickview

Amtrak Empire Builder train coverage

Daily Trips337
stations45
cities45
countries1

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 143 reviews

Onboard Experience

“The WiFi actually worked for the entire trip”
based on 109 reviews
“I’ll travel with them again just for the staff!”
based on 261 reviews
“Really cheap tickets and really good service.”
based on 281 reviews
“The train got there on time.”
based on 223 reviews
“Seats were really comfy and spacious”
based on 287 reviews
“The train was almost suspiciously clean”
based on 267 reviews

Amtrak Empire Builder reviews from Wanderu customers

Overall review score for Amtrak Empire Builder

(Based on 316 reviews)

4.3
Ratings (Out of 5)
Comfort

4.5

Timeliness

4.1

Staff

4.4

Value

4.0

Condition

4.3

Amtrak Empire Builder passenger reviews

5.0

Susan

August 25, 2022- Couples trip

Seattle to Leavenworth

Pros: The room between the seats, great leg room and bigger seats than planes. Big windows. Very smooth ride, very nice. Cons: Bathrooms could of been cleaner, probably need to be checked more often. Tips: Just enjoy the ride!!!

Pros: The room between the seats, great leg room and bigger seats than planes. Big windows. Very smooth ride, very nice. Cons: Bathrooms could of been cleaner, probably need to be checked more often. Tips: Just enjoy the ride!!!

4.0

Elsie

August 8, 2022- Visiting family

St Paul to Chicago

Cons: Cleaning of bathrooms could be better. Tips: Take your own food.

Cons: Cleaning of bathrooms could be better. Tips: Take your own food.

4.0

Jennifer

August 4, 2022- Vacation

Chicago to La Crosse

Pros: The reason I gave 4stars instead of 5 is I had to sit upstairs and the dining area and washrooms were downstairs and I have a busted kneecap so it was gard getting up and down the stairs. Cons: Be more accommodating as far as the stairs were concerned.

Pros: The reason I gave 4stars instead of 5 is I had to sit upstairs and the dining area and washrooms were downstairs and I have a busted kneecap so it was gard getting up and down the stairs. Cons: Be more accommodating as far as the stairs were concerned.

3.0

Nancy

July 2, 2022- Visiting family

St Paul to Chicago

Pros: Saved wear on car. Cheaper than buying gas. Cons: Bathrooms. Not too clean. Tips: Bring snacks. Good book. Small pillow.

Pros: Saved wear on car. Cheaper than buying gas. Cons: Bathrooms. Not too clean. Tips: Bring snacks. Good book. Small pillow.

5.0

Dianne

June 15, 2022- Vacation

Seattle to Wenatchee

Pros: Very comfortable. Staff efficient and helpful. What a delight the National park narrative from Seattle to Wenatchee was! Felt like I was on a luxury tour of the area. Would love to ride again just to hear it! Keep up the parks and rails program. Wonderful! Cons: ...

Pros: Very comfortable. Staff efficient and helpful. What a delight the National park narrative from Seattle to Wenatchee was! Felt like I was on a luxury tour of the area. Would love to ride again just to hear it! Keep up the parks and rails program. Wonderful! Cons: Cant think of anything. Tips: No.

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Amtrak Empire Builder Routes & Network

Amtrak Empire Builder’s train network features 860 train routes that connect 45 cities serving 45 stations. On average, Amtrak Empire Builder performs about 337 train trips every day. The top cities to which Amtrak Empire Builder offers the highest number of daily train service include Seattle and Wenatchee.

Top Cities Served by Amtrak Empire Builder

CityRouteEarliest trainLatest train
St Paul25:44 am4:49 am
Chicago38:15 am4:49 am
Seattle26:05 am4:13 am
Spokane26:05 am4:13 am
Whitefish26:09 am4:13 am
Portland26:05 am4:13 am
Wenatchee27:55 am4:13 am
Milwaukee25:44 am3:53 am
La Crosse37:10 am4:06 am

Most popular Amtrak Empire Builder routes

The train from Seattle to Wenatchee is Amtrak Empire Builder’s most popular route. Trips from Portland to Spokane and Seattle to Leavenworth are also highly popular.

Top Amtrak Empire Builder routes

RouteDaily TripsDurationPrice
Seattle to Wenatchee13h 56m$31
Portland to Spokane17h 32m$62
Seattle to Leavenworth13h 22m$27
St Paul to Chicago27h 55m$79
Wisconsin Dells to Chicago23h 47m$43
Spokane to Seattle113h 15m$39
Portland to Pasco14h 21m$50
Milwaukee to La Crosse23h 19m$43
St Paul to Grand Forks26h 21m$62

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 337 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 337 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 $8.15. Check out some of the latest and greatest deals snatched up by Wanderu users.

How do I get the best deal on Amtrak Empire Builder tickets?

Wanderu is the best place to score cheap Amtrak Empire Builder tickets. Wanderu offers the lowest available fares every day and charges no extra booking fees. Plus, you can compare Amtrak Empire Builder prices with trips offered by other train companies to be sure you’re getting the best deal on your tickets!

Pro travelers know that booking your ticket well in advance is key to finding the lowest price. Ticket prices normally go up the closer you get to the travel date, so don’t miss out on a good deal when you see one. If you can be flexible with your travel date, you can also get cheap tickets by traveling on weekdays instead of weekends.

When you’re ready to book, type your departure city and destination city in the search bar above, select your travel date, and let Wanderu work its magic to show you all of the best bus and train ticket prices available for your trip. Pick the ticket that’s best for your budget, schedule, and preferences, and complete the booking right on Wanderu to secure your great deal.

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