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The Day Trip to Minot

by Chris Guenzler

Empire Builder 7 7/4/2004

The train pulled into Midway at 11:30 PM {10:02 PM} and about twenty minutes later the Conductor started calling out destinations in order. Bob went in the first group since he was going to Grand Forks and I was in the second group called since I was going to Minot. I boarded coach 31509 and took seats 29/30. I was already almost asleep when the train left the Twin Cities just before Midnight.

7/5/2004 I awoke as the train was rolling west across North Dakota. A visit to the lounge car for some Orange Juice and Mrs. Good Cookies that I enjoyed on a mostly cloudy early morning. We came to Devils Lake and after a brief double stop we left a mere 49 minutes late. The train included P42DC 95 and 83, Baggage 1172, Transition 39041, Sleepers 32051 and 32056, Diner 38038, Coaches 34066 and 31509 {ex Smoker}, Lounge 33004, Coach 34045, Coach/Bag 31044 and Sleeper 32053. West of Devils Lake we hit some light rain and I hoped that it would not put a damper on my day in Minot. I found a paperback book called "Horrible Histories-The Ruthless Romans" by Terry Deary which I enjoyed reading to Ruby, the Geographical Center of North America which we left 48 minutes late. As the Builder headed west the skies improved. The train enters Minot by first running by the BNSF Gavin Yard before it pulled into the Amtrak Minot Station at 9:00 AM, just 14 minutes late. As the train left Minot, I checked my luggage in for the day before exploring Minot.

Minot 7/5/2004

I first walked over the Soo Line Depot for a picture.

I photographed a CP Rail train and a pair of BNSF trains before I went in search of the Days Inn Bob had booked us in. I had my usual McDonald Breakfast before walking over the hills and all the way to the far south end of town where I finally found it. I had been almost a three mile walk. I asked about a shuttle to Amtrak and they did not have one. Cost of a taxi to downtown $15. {Am I back in Davenport.} I cancelled that reservation right on the spot and the very nice women called the International Hotel for me and I got two nights there. The shuttle buses to and from the Canadian Pacific 2816 are free plus they have a free Amtrak Shuttle. Now I had to do is try to contact Bob or hoped that he did not get here early or he would have to taxi all the way across town. I next went in search of film first at a Super Store then across the US 2 Freeway to a Walmart before ending up at the Dakota Square Mall. There I found a Rainbow Photo Lab and I purchased four rolls of AGFA 100 Slide Film. I called home and my Mom tried to operate my computer to get Bob's E-mail address but she had nothing but problems. Thanks for trying Mom! I started my long walk back stopping off at an Arby's for lunch.

On the move again, I walked north up the hill finding a Scandinavian Heritage Park.

I made it back to Soo Tower and had a BNSF eastbound. Next two BN units took a local west.

A BNSF eastbound had a DM&IR SD-40T-2.

Minutes later a single CP unit pulled a long double stack train east. At that point of the afternoon I decided to find the International Hotel which ended up being only a 15 minute walk up the hill north of town and so much closer to Amtrak. It was a real nice hotel. They let me use the Business Center so I fired an E-mail off to Dennis since I did not have Bob in my "On the move" Juno Address Book. Thank you Dennis for trying for me! I went to KFC for dinner before huffing it back downthe hill to Amtrak.

On the way there I stopped by Via View Park which had a Great Northern Caboose X-51. I got back to the Depot in time to watch that BNSF Coal I passed coming into town now on the CP Rail Line leaving town. Two eastbound BNSF trains came in Minot almost side by side. Once they had changed crews they were each replaced by a grain train and a double stack train both also heading east.

I talked to the Amtrak Agent for a while before I walked over into town as a CP unit came by the Soo Depot with a long unit grain train.

Next came a westbound BNSF in beautiful light with a CN unit trailing.

At 6:50 PM an eastbound CP train led by a single Soo Line red unit had another empty grain train.

I photographed one more eastbound BNSF train before I called it quits. As I waited inside the Amtrak Station the BNSF and CP Rail trains continued to pass through Minot. As I waited I upgraded to a sleeper at a very good price for my trip back to the Twin Cities. After all that walking and with Milwaukee Road 261 cinders still in my hair I needed a shower which I now would get once I got onboard.

Empire Builder 8 7/5/2004

The conductor pulled my ticket in the station so I went outside to wait in the very cool early evening air. The Builder pulled in a couple minutes late due to some slow orders just west of Minot. This train came in with P42DC 1 and 129, Baggage 1856, Transition 34039, Sleepers 32030 and 32023, Diner 38010, Coaches 34057 and 31591 {ex smoker}, Lounge 35014, Coaches 31501 and 34072 and Sleeper 32009 George Pullman. My sleeping car attendant was Dorris McCarty for this overnight trip back to the Twin Cities. I took a shower {yeah cinder free hair!} as we departed ten minutes late. Dorris has added special touches to the bathrooms in her car with a dish for soap and a little vase with flowers making it by far the nicest bathroom that I have ever had on Amtrak. I went to sleep outside of Minot and slept all the way to St Anthony in the Twin Cities.

7/6/2004 I packed up, grabbed a glass of orange juice and was ready to detrain once we pulled into Midway at 7:03 AM, two minutes early ending an interesting side trip to Minot.

Minneapolis 2 A Day of Rest 7/6/2004

I took the first taxi to the University Inn, no longer a Best Western. I checked in and after getting a second floor room I headed to Bakers Square for breakfast before I rested this day away. I went back to bed sleeping until 1:00 PM. I guess all those early mornings finally caught up with me. I awoke to heavy rain showers so I watched television. I always like to have a day when I do not have to do anything. I watched the Weather Channel and when their radar showed a break in the rain I hightailed it to Arby's to get my dinner and stayed perfectly dry. I had to change rooms as the toilet in my Room 39 would not flush so I got moved to Room 43, as I always say, "Every trip is an adventure!" I enjoyed a nice quiet evening before calling it a night.

7/7/2004 I was up early and well refreshed as the outside world was enjoying drying conditions. I went to Bakers Square again for breakfast. I checked out and the hotel called me a taxi to take me out to 2800 Central, through the gate and into Shoreham Yard where my next train would be waiting for me to ride.

Click here for Part 7 of the story.