Road Trip to Glacier Day 6: Whitefish MT Trains

Visit Date: July 14, 2021

CORRECTION 9/8/2021: We stayed at the Duck Inn Lodge in Whitefish, Montana (1305 Columbia Ave).

Sweet irony! I planned the first part of this trip to follow the BNSF northern High Line TransCon (Trans Continental) but saw few trains and took no pictures. Then after changing our return plans due to fires we end up in a town hopping with railroad activity. It wasn’t totally unexpected as we had stopped here on our 2013 trip aboard the Empire Builder.

We checked into The Duck Inn Lodge – our motel/Bed-and-Breakfast – and rested a few minutes before going into downtown Whitefish for a stroll and dinner. While Carla visited the shops I headed to the depot – As you would expect.

Too bad the museum was closed.

There were two trains stopped on the first two tracks. As I peeked through the cars of the westbound, I saw the yard crew at work.

Crewman working the rail yard

I didn’t realize that Whitefish is a crew change point. The eastbound was getting its new crew while three yard workers were calling it a day.

BNSF crew change in Whitefish, Montana

Less than 5 minutes later 7708 started notching up to continue its trip through the Rockies.

BNSF 7708 heading east with a fresh crew

The engineer had seen me on the platform and gave me a friendly smile as he slowly accelerated past.

Big smile from the engineer

The light was definitely better for the trailing pusher locomotive shot.

Pusher locomotive clearing the depot.

Looking between a couple of cars on track 2 I realized this is a busy yard – similar to the activity I see in Winslow, Arizona. Here we have four trains.

Count em! Four tracks of trains in Whitefish, Montana!

Carla came to pick me up so we could grab a bite of dinner. On the way out I noticed this old Great Northern Railway bus. I read on this website that the “Bruck” (bus/truck) was used to carry freight and passengers down to Kalispell between 1951 and 1971.

Great Northern Railway bus

We found Whitefish to be much more fun than Kalispell (even without the trains) and it is just 30 minutes or so north of Kalispell and Flathead Lake. If we go up here again, we’ll stay in Whitefish and hangout on Whitefish Lake. And we love, Love, LOVED The Duck Inn Lodge – definitely recommend. We had a corner room looking down on a creek and a field with plenty of wildlife. And the breakfast was terrific. I wish I would have taken a few photos.

The next morning – July 15 we pointed the car west to Spokane, Washington.

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