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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 46 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

Online support: Amtrak Empire Builder website

 #4 Best Ground Travel Provider in the West

#4 Best Ground Travel Provider in the West

Amtrak Empire Builder Amenities

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


Amtrak Empire Builder train coverage

Daily Trips529

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 205 reviews

Onboard Experience

“The WiFi actually worked for the entire trip”
based on 148 reviews
“I’ll travel with them again just for the staff!”
based on 346 reviews
“Really cheap tickets and really good service.”
based on 372 reviews
“The train got there on time.”
based on 286 reviews
“Seats were really comfy and spacious”
based on 382 reviews
“The train was almost suspiciously clean”
based on 362 reviews

Amtrak Empire Builder reviews from Wanderu customers

Overall review score for Amtrak Empire Builder

(Based on 419 reviews)

Ratings (Out of 5)










Amtrak Empire Builder passenger reviews



August 26, 2023- Vacation

Wenatchee to Seattle

Pros: Spacious and comfortable seats. Cons: Announce cities and stops that are approaching.



July 28, 2023- Visiting friends

Chicago to Wisconsin Dells

Pros: The train and staff were good no issues there. Cons: Lets pick up the pace of these trains. It’s offensive how slow american trains go. Why did we have to stop for 20 minutes to let another train pass? Build another track so two trains can go at once it isn’t rocket science. Maglev, high speed transit, every other developed country has figured it out and even plenty of non developed countries. If the trains moved at a reasonable speed ridership would sky rocket. No more excuses make it happen. Tips: Vote in a way that will yield a more efficient nation wide rail network.



July 12, 2023- Visiting family

Seattle to Wenatchee

Pros: It was spacious seating with staff coming through regularly. We felt safe, even though we had to get through downtown Seattle and drive around aimless people with police everywhere dealing with people. Cons: Have the restrooms restocked of toilet paper or checked at each stop.



May 9, 2023- Visiting family

Seattle to Wenatchee

Pros: It was very relaxing and comfortable. Cons: Seemed fine to me. Tips: Come along for the ride and enjoy.


Mary Ellen

January 26, 2023- Visiting family

Everett to Wenatchee

Pros: I liked everything. Scheduling my trip was the best and easiest ever!!! Cons: I would like to see a cart with coffee, sandwiches and cookies go up and down the aisle at least once. I hate to walk the dining car and leave all my stuff behind. Tips: Use a be app. !!!! It is the best!!

Amtrak Empire Builder Routes & Network

Amtrak Empire Builder’s train network features 739 train routes that connect 46 cities serving 46 stations. On average, Amtrak Empire Builder performs about 529 train trips every day. The top cities to which Amtrak Empire Builder offers the highest number of daily train service include Milwaukee and La Crosse.

Top Cities Served by Amtrak Empire Builder

CityRouteEarliest trainLatest train
St Paul125:44 am4:49 am
Chicago125:44 am3:53 am
Seattle156:05 am4:13 am
Spokane96:05 am4:13 am
Portland126:05 am4:13 am
Whitefish116:09 am4:13 am
Wenatchee1010:24 am4:13 am
Milwaukee108:15 am12:21 am
La Crosse1310:27 am12:20 am

Most popular Amtrak Empire Builder routes

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

Top Amtrak Empire Builder routes

RouteDaily TripsDurationPrice
Milwaukee to La Crosse23h 19m$22
Fargo to St Paul25h 4m$27
Spokane to Seattle225h 19m$101
Portland to Pasco14h 21m$26
Wisconsin Dells to Chicago23h 47m$22
St Paul to Chicago27h 55m$41
Portland to Spokane17h 32m$32
Seattle to Leavenworth13h 22m$14
Seattle to Wenatchee13h 56m$16

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 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

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.

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.

On a typical day, Amtrak Empire Builder has 529 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 529 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 $5.00. 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 with the lowest available fares every day. 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.

Top Amtrak Empire Builder Destinations

Wanderu is the simplest way to book bus and train travel.

With just a quick search on Wanderu, you can compare bus and train schedules and prices from hundreds of travel companies in one convenient place to find the trip that works best for you. Wanderu’s simple checkout process makes it easy to book cheap bus and train tickets hassle-free. Most importantly, as Wanderu is an official partner of all leading bus and train companies, we always have the best deals out there.

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