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Amtrak's Least-used Stations

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JayPea

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I saw the station in Sanderson the first time I rode the Eagle, in 2010. I couldn't remember when it was torn down.
 

Rasputin

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There is No Station in Sanderson. They tore down the old SP Station several years ago.

The " Platform" is a Gravel strip along side the tracks, but there are plans to build a Platform there.

Sanderson used to be a Flag Stop, but now it's a Scheduled ( quickie) stop between Alpine and Del Rio.
When I checked some online timetables a few months ago I was surprised to see that a number of former flag stops such as Essex, Montana and Sanderson, Texas had been changed from flag stops to positive stops. I am not sure if Amtrak has any flag stops left. However, my printout of the City of New Orleans schedule dated May 8, 2018 lists 11 flag stops. I don't know if that has been changed or not.

One thing that is worth noting is that the location of Browning station or stop is way outside of town. It would be a tough frigid walk in January with high winds (unless it was a chinook.) The old station was torn down a few years ago - I am not sure what has replaced it - maybe someone has a photo.
 

Barb Stout

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Browning, MT? It's close to Glacier National Park and provides various services for Glacier visitors. We took one of those paid showers there in Browning after several days of camping at Glacier. Cute place, I thought.
 

Rasputin

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Browning, MT? It's close to Glacier National Park and provides various services for Glacier visitors. We took one of those paid showers there in Browning after several days of camping at Glacier. Cute place, I thought.
Are you confusing Browning with East Glacier? East Glacier (Glacier Park Station) has a number of services for Glacier Park visitors. Browning, 15 miles east, does not have many visitor services (although they have 2 supermarkets, the museum of the Plains Indians, and a casino.)
 

Barb Stout

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Are you confusing Browning with East Glacier? East Glacier (Glacier Park Station) has a number of services for Glacier Park visitors. Browning, 15 miles east, does not have many visitor services (although they have 2 supermarkets, the museum of the Plains Indians, and a casino.)
No, I double checked with Google maps. We showered at or near Junction Cafe in Browning. I recognize the interior of the cafe. We also got huckleberry pie (or some kind of weird berry pie) there. Cute place. I also remember the museum, although we didn't go in there.
 

Rasputin

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No, I double checked with Google maps. We showered at or near Junction Cafe in Browning. I recognize the interior of the cafe. We also got huckleberry pie (or some kind of weird berry pie) there. Cute place. I also remember the museum, although we didn't go in there.
Thanks. I didn't realize any public showers were available in Browning.
 

Siegmund

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Browning is exceptionally isolated and exceptionally poor, even by rural-Montana standards -- it has quite some number of people who won't have their own cars. It would like more tourist money than it gets. The whole town needs a coat of paint so the tourist won't be scared to stop and buy gas. I am sure they were happy to have Barb's business.

It's also an area that has exceptionally good scheduling and the Builder has decent reliability even in winter. I have known several people who took the train between Whitefish and Shelby or Havre for short trips. It would be very possible, if the eastbound was on time, to ride from Browning to Shelby, have a few hours in town for shopping/errands/doctor visits, and return to Browning the same evening. Going the opposite direction requires an overnight in Whitefish.

That part of Montana draws a remarkable amount of business. Someone posted something on here last week comparing Havre's ridership with Winona's -- and didn't mention Havre being about 1/3 the size.
 

Willbridge

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Again, while the town is small it has a generous unincorporated tributary area. And there aren't a whole lot of alternatives to Amtrak if you're taking a long-distance trip into or out of the area.
There are a lot of people who don't understand the seasonal shift between East Glacier and Browning, including some Amtrak employees. When I lived in Alberta I consulted with a bus company that was interested in setting up Thruway service for Calgary and Banff with the Empire Builder. We had to anchor it at Cut Bank, which had a year-round agent.

I've been in Browning when it was jumping with activity. Their big events are held when trains are stopping in East Glacier. If you visit their website it doesn't include how to get there by train.

North American Indian Days
 

Devil's Advocate

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I may not have seen the Sanderson Station, I can't remember.
They tore down the old SP Station several years ago.
I saw the station in Sanderson [...] in 2010. I couldn't remember when it was torn down.
It was there in May 2012 but not there in May 2013 to my recollection.
The Sanderson Depot was opened in 1883, closed in 1995, listed as an endangered historical building in 2005, and permanently destroyed in 2012.

There are several reasons why this building was lost to time.

1. The Southern Pacific railroad barely maintained the depot when it was still in use.
2. Vandals and strippers were able to destroy the interior and rip out anything of value.
3. An outside grant for renovation was offered but then later refused on political grounds.
4. With grant money forbidden funding was dependent on indifferent ranchers and oil men.
5. Union Pacific demanded the building be moved and renovated elsewhere by a specific date.

The combination of these factors created an insurmountable problem.




More pictures can be found here...

 
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Bob Dylan

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Austin Texas
The Sanderson Depot was opened in 1883, closed in 1995, listed as an endangered historical building in 2005, and permanently destroyed in 2012.

There are several reasons why this building was lost to time.

1. The Southern Pacific railroad barely maintained the depot when it was still in use.
2. Vandals and strippers were able to destroy the interior and rip out anything of value.
3. An outside grant for renovation was offered but then later refused on political grounds.
4. With grant money forbidden funding was dependent on indifferent ranchers and oil men.
5. Union Pacific demanded the building be moved and renovated elsewhere by a specific date.

The combination of these factors created an insurmountable problem.



More pictures can be found here...

Thanks Chris! Back in the Glory Days, ( when Steam Ruled the Rails ) Sanderson was a Major Railroad Base and there was even 2 Car Dealers in the Town.( Ford and Chevy)
 

Barb Stout

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Browning is exceptionally isolated and exceptionally poor, even by rural-Montana standards -- it has quite some number of people who won't have their own cars. It would like more tourist money than it gets. The whole town needs a coat of paint so the tourist won't be scared to stop and buy gas. I am sure they were happy to have Barb's business.
Gosh, now I'm starting to have doubts. I suppose there could well be other cafes with similar interiors in East Glacier. We went camping in Glacier at Two Medicine campground in 2015 and from there went to Idaho Falls, ID, so would have also gone through East Glacier before getting to Browning.
 

niemi24s

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Albion really surprises me. Unlike the others, it's not seasonal or in some remote location. It is a college town in a metro area, with daily service stopping at reasonable times. The historic station looked quite nice.
While the video linked in Post #1 has Albion, Michigan at #5 with a low ridership of 447 in FY19, ridership data here... Amtrak Ridership Statistics | Rail Passengers Association | Washington, DC ...for both the serving train and the station itself show it to be 2,295. Ridership data for the other four stations are in agreement.

Anyhoo, if Albions ridership really was 2,295 in FY19, I wonder what the real #5 low ridership station might be?
 
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Rasputin

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Gosh, now I'm starting to have doubts. I suppose there could well be other cafes with similar interiors in East Glacier. We went camping in Glacier at Two Medicine campground in 2015 and from there went to Idaho Falls, ID, so would have also gone through East Glacier before getting to Browning.
Here is one test to determine if you are in Browning or East Glacier:

If there is a pack of rez dogs outside a restaurant or supermarket, you are in Browning.

If there are no rez dogs around, you are in East Glacier.

Forty years ago or so, there would also be free range horses running around on the main street in Browning. Not so much anymore.
 

Barb Stout

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Here is one test to determine if you are in Browning or East Glacier:

If there is a pack of rez dogs outside a restaurant or supermarket, you are in Browning.

If there are no rez dogs around, you are in East Glacier.

Forty years ago or so, there would also be free range horses running around on the main street in Browning. Not so much anymore.
Once upon a time long, long ago, I adopted a rez puppy who had been dropped off where the NPS staff lived at Navajo National Monument. All of the puppies dropped off were female.
 

Siegmund

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northwestern Montana
I have one of those rez puppies myself. Two winters ago they had a string of nasty blizzards that closed everything on the reservation -- the big news story was that the Browning boy's basketball team spent a month on the road, playing their games and keeping up with studies remotely, rather than ever going home -- and all the dogs in their shelter got evacuated to other shelters.
 
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