Travel notes: Our new Edmonds train station mural and memories of being an Amtrak docent

The new mural at the Edmonds train station.
When Edmonds resident Kevin O’Keeffe supplied a photo of the new mural at the Edmonds train station, he also offered this backstory:
For over five years when I was living in Seattle, I was an Amtrak docent in the National Park Trails and Rails program, with frequent one-day runs on the Coast Starlight to and from Portland. Less often but more enjoyable were the two-and-a-half-day round trips on the Empire Builder to beyond Glacier Park. Most of the volunteers preferred to drive and board at the Edmonds station rather than at the King Street station in Seattle.
Kevin O’Keeffe as an Amtrak docent.
The East Glacier train station.
Even aside from these trips, my wife and I would regularly go by rail to Whitefish, Montana, even after we stopped downhill skiing.  (The schedule allows a full day on the slopes after arrival, and on the day of the return.) Then, after riding by Glacier so many times as a docent, I realized it was time to get off the train and visit that fabulous park, and have done so almost annually in the past decade, including in combination with a one-week volunteer stint ai the Blackfoot reservation in Browning.
The Glacier Lodge

After COVID cutbacks, rail travel is rebounding and our new president is a fervent supporter. The yet-continued Canadian border closure affects not only travel to Vancouver, BC, but also the loss of two Cascade trains going north of Seattle, wherein from Edmonds you could take a southbound train through Seattle to Portland and Eugene, or connect with the Coast Starlight to Los Angeles.

Long-distance trains on the West Coast have been been returned to daily operation, and dining car operations are being resumed. Even better,  on-board chefs will soon be preparing meals. New fuel-efficient engines are being phased in along with new passenger cars. While Edmonds is a wonderful place to be, it is also great that we are well positioned to add rail travel to our ferry, highway and air modes of travel. All aboard!
— By Kevin O’Keeffe
  1. I am a great fan of Amtrak and have taken the train across the country almost every year since retirement – as well as around 10 or 12 times when I was young, just after they retired the steam engines :). I agree completely! But please Amtrak, some variety in the menu!

    Next trip, with Covid dictating the timing: Seattle – LA – New Orleans – Chicago- Edmonds. With stays in classic old hotels between the legs of the journey. There is no finer way to see the amazing variety, size, and fruitfulness of this wonderful country of ours.

  2. Kevin O’Keeffe forgot to mention about the National Trail and Rails Program was created by the Amtrak station agent Bill Lee back in the summer of 1987 and was awarded the Amtrak President’s award for implementing the program on both the Empire Builder and The Coast Starlight trains.

  3. Thank you! I remember my first trip in 1964. Since then, I’ve taken over five trips. It’s a great ride to Montana. I’ve stopped at Whitefish, East Glacier Park and Glasgow, MT.

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