While the Union Pacific's City of Portland had been serving that Pacific Northwest terminal city since 1935, the Great Northern Railway was the first to introduce streamliner service between Chicago and Seattle when its newly upgraded Empire Builder entered service on February 23, 1947. The new diesel-powered train's 45 hour schedule cut a full 13 hours off the time card of its heavyweight predecessor.

View Great Northern's advertisement for the new Empire Builder. (PDF format, 638K)


From the pages of the Official Guide, June 1947

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RR heraldGreat Northern heraldSpokane, Portland & Seattle Ry. herald

The Empire Builder

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy
Great Northern Railway
Spokane, Portland, and Seattle
May 4, 1947

49 Train Number 44
Daily Miles (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy) Services Daily
1 00P Dp 0 Chicago, IL (Union Station) (CT) T C Ar 2 00P
R 1 33P 38 Aurora, IL C X D 1 16P
3 15P Ar 145 Savanna, IL T C X Dp 11 32A
3 17P Dp Ar 11 30A
5 21P 297 La Crosse, WI T C X 9 17A
5 56P 326 Winona Junction, WI (Winona via bus) X D 8 44A
7 45P Ar 427 St. Paul, MN T C Dp 7 15A
1 Continuing Train Number (Great Northern) 2
8 00P Dp 427 St. Paul, MN T C Ar 7 00A
8 25P Ar 438 Minneapolis, MN T C Dp 6 35A
8 30P Dp Ar 6 30A
10 05P 529 Willmar, MN T C 4 46A
11 57P 642 Breckenridge, MN T C 3 00A
12 55A Ar 688 Fargo, ND T C Dp 2 00A
1 00A Dp Ar 1 55A
3 02A 812 New Rockford, ND T C 11 48P
4 50A Ar 921 Minot, ND T C Dp 10 10P
4 55A Dp Ar 10 05P
7 20A Ar 1041 Williston, ND (CT) T C Dp 7 40P
6 20A Dp Williston, ND (MT) Ar 6 40P
9 10A 1198 Glasgow, MT T C 3 45P
12 05P 1351 Havre, MT T C 12 55P
2 10P 1455 Shelby, MT T C 10 45A
2 45P 1480 Cut Bank, MT T 10 17A
6 15P 1607 Whitefish, MT T C 6 55A
9 15P Ar 1741 Troy, MT (MT) T C Dp 3 55A
8 15P Dp Troy, MT (PT) Ar 2 55A
11 30P Ar 1881 Spokane, WA T C Dp 11 30P
Portland Section
1 Continuing train number (Spokane, Portland & Seattle) 2
12 06A Dp 1881.0 Spokane, WA (GN Station) T C Ar 10 55P
3 00A Ar 2029.2 Pasco, WA T C Dp 7 55P
3 10A Dp Ar 7 45P
5 30A 2154.4 Wishram, WA T C 5 24P
7 32A 2250.5 Vancouver, WA T C 3 23P
8 00A Ar 2260.5 Portland, OR (PT) T C Dp 3 00P
1 Seattle Section (Great Northern) 2
12 01A Dp 1881 Spokane, WA T C Ar 11 00P
2 17A 2003 Ephrata, WA T C 8 38P
3 30A 2055 Wenatchee, WA T C 7 30P
Cascade Tunnel - 7.79 miles in length
5 55A 2126 Skykomish, WA T C 5 15P
7 10A 2178 Everett, WA T C 3 58P
8 00A Ar 2211 Seattle, WA (King St. Station) (PT) T C Dp 3 00P
360 Connecting Train Number (Great Northern) 359
8 15A Dp 0 Seattle, WA (King St. Station) (PT) Ar 12 45P
9 12A 33 Everett, WA 11 47A
11 01A 96 Bellingham, WA 10 03A
12 45P Ar 154 Vancouver, BC (PT) Dp 8 10A

Train 49-1 (Chicago-Seattle): 23 stops, 45:00, 49.1 MPHTrain 49-1-1 (Chicago-Portland): 22 stops, 45:00, 50.2 MPH


Train 2-44 (Seattle-Chicago): 23 stops, 45:00, 49.1 MPHTrain 2-2-44 (Portland-Chicago): 22 stops, 45:00, 50.2 MPH

(Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Notes)


NOTE for Nos. 49 and 44: No train baggageman. Checked baggage carried only for through movement between Chicago and St. Paul-Minneapolis and not to or from intermediate points.

Equipment Between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest

EMPIRE BUILDER.

WESTBOUND

Buffet Observation Lounge Car

Chicago to Seattle.

Sleeping Cars

Chicago to Seattle - Drawing-room, Duplex Roomettes, Observation, Double Bedrooms and Sections.

Chicago to Portland.
Double Bedrooms, Duplex Roomette, Sections.

Dining Car

Chicago to Seattle.

Lounge-Coffee Shop

Chicago to Seattle.

Day-Nite Coaches (Seats Reserved).

Chicago to Seattle.

Chicago to Portland.

Coach

Chicago to Seattle (not reserved).


EASTBOUND

Buffet Observation Lounge Car

Seattle to Chicago.

Sleeping Cars

Seattle to Chicago - Drawing-room, Duplex Roomettes, Observation, Double Bedrooms and Sections.

Portland to Chicago.
Double Bedrooms, Duplex Roomettes, Sections.

Dining Car

Seattle to Chicago.

Lounge-Coffee Shop

Seattle to Chicago.

Day-Nite Coaches (Seats Reserved).

Seattle to Chicago.

Portland to Chicago.

Coach

Seattle to Chicago (not reserved)


All Cars Air-Conditioned

(Great Northern Notes)

THE NEW EMPIRE BUILDER
CHICAGO, ST. PAUL, MINNEAPOLIS, SEATTLE AND PORTLAND
with Direct Connections to
TACOMA, BRITISH COLUMBIA AND CALIFORNIA


CONSIST

Observation-Lounge Car (also contains 2 Double Bedrooms and 1 Drawing-room) between Chicago and Seattle. Observation-Lounge-Cafe Car between Spokane and Portland via S. P. & S. Ry.

Special Standard Pullman Cars—2 Cars, each containing 16 Duplex Roomettes and 4 Double Bedrooms between Chicago and Seattle; a car with 8 Duplex Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms and 4 Sections between Chicago and Seattle; a car with 8 Duplex Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms and 4 Sections between Chicago and Portland (via S. P. & S. Ry. between Spokane and Portland).

Luxury Day-Nite Coaches between Chicago and Seattle, and between Chicago and Portland (via S. P. & S. Ry. between Spokane and Portland). Each coach has 48 reclining seats. 60 reclining seat coach between Chicago and Seattle. All coach seats reserved in advance (no extra cost).

Lounge-Coffee Shop Car between Chicago and Seattle.

Dining Car Service between Chicago and Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.


THROUGH CAR SERVICE

WEST AND NORTH

Train No. 1—The New Empire Builder.
Completely Air-Conditioned.
No Extra Fare. Radio.


Observation-Lounge-Sleeping Car...Chicago to Seattle—2 Double Bedrooms, 1 Drawing-room. (Car 19.)

Observation-Lounge-Cafe Car from Spokane to Portland via S. P. & S. Ry.

Pullman Standard Sleeping Cars...Chicago to Seattle—8 Duplex Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms and 4 Sections. (Car 15.)

Chicago to Seattle—16 Duplex Roomettes and 4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Cars. (Cars 16-17.)

Chicago to Portland—8 Duplex Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms and 4 Sections (S. P. & S. Ry. from Spokane). (Car P-18.)

Lounge-Coffee Shop Car...Chicago to Seattle.

Dining Car Service...Chicago to Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.

Luxury Day-Nite Coaches...Chicago to Seattle, 2 Cars—each containing 48 reclining seats—(Cars 100-101), 1 car—60 reclining seats—(Car 160)—all seats reserved in advance (no extra cost).

Chicago to Portland, 1 car—48 reclining seats—all reserved in advance (no extra cost) (S. P. & S. Ry. from Spokane). (Car P-102.)

Tickets—see note.


EAST AND SOUTH

Train No. 2 - The New Empire Builder.
Completely Air-Conditioned.
No Extra Fare. Radio.


Observation-Lounge-Sleeping Car...Seattle to Chicago—2 Double Bedrooms, 1 Drawing-room. (Car 29.)

Observation-Lounge-Cafe Car from Portland to Spokane via S. P. & S. Ry.

Pullman Standard Sleeping Cars...Seattle to Chicago—8 Duplex Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms and 4 Sections. (Car 25.)

Seattle to Chicago—16 Duplex Roomettes and 4 Double Bedrooms, 2 Cars. (Cars 26-27.)

Portland to Chicago—8 Duplex Roomettes, 4 Double Bedrooms and 4 Sections (S. P. & S. Ry. to Spokane). (Car P-28.)

Lounge-Coffee Shop Car...Seattle to Chicago.

Dining Car Service...Portland, Tacoma and Seattle to Chicago.

Luxury Day-Nite Coaches...Seattle to Chicago, 2 Cars—each containing 48 reclining seats—(Cars 200-201), 1 car—60 reclining seats—(Car 260)—all seats reserved in advance (no extra cost).

Portland to Chicago, 1 car—48 reclining seats—all reserved in advance (no extra cost) (S. P. & S. Ry. from Spokane). (Car P-202.)

Tickets—see note.


Note—All one-way and round-trip tickets will be honored on the New Empire Builders (Nos. 1-2) except as follows: tickets endorsed Clergy, Charity, Employee, D. V. S., V. A. H., Blind and Attendant, Blind and Guide Dog, will not be honored. Circus, Show, Banana Messenger, Drover's or Caretaker's tickets and Live Stock Contracts will not be honored.

(Spokane, Portland & Seattle Notes)

EQUIPMENT

S. P. & S. No. 1-2, G. N. No. 1-2—The Streamlined Empire Builder—Between Portland, and Chicago via S. P. & S.-G. N.-C. B. & Q. 1-48 reserved seat day-nite coach (seats must be reserved in advance. No extra charge.) No. P202 eastbound. No. P102 westbound. 1 standard car, 8 roomettes, 4 double bedrooms, 4 sections. No. P28 eastbound and No. P18 westbound. Between Portland and Spokane only: 1-68 seat deluxe coach (seats not reserved), buffet lounge observation car.


Within just a few months the competing Milwaukee Road would introduce its newly streamlined Olympian Hiawatha between Chicago and Seattle, and by the next year friendly competitor Northern Pacific would follow suit with an upgraded North Coast Limited. Competitive pressures in the Pacific Northwest market would motivate all three roads to continue upgrading service throughout most of the 1950s. In just four short years, Great Northern would once again completely re-equip its flagship Empire Builder. The 1947 equipment shown here would be reassigned to a new train, the secondary Western Star.