Eat Sleep and ChooChoos
Connies Family Resturant * * *
I was introduced to Connies by a friend who met his father a few friends there every Saturday night. These guys were diehard railfans, and I am too, so this was a perfect place as it was right across the street from Berwyn Station of the BNSF Metra Line in Berwyn Illinois. We would meet at 10:30pm and close the place down at Midnight. Then we would stand on the platform and watch the last Commuter train come through at 1:30am.
The food was good, a step up from a diner, but not a fine restaurant. The staff was nice and the atmosphere is friendly and prices are decent. For a single kid in HS it is affordable, and for groups like ours they were accommodating. I took my family back there and they enjoyed it as well.
The frequency of rail traffic is very high, Metra trains are the most frequent with locals and expresses running from 4:40am until 2:15 am, Freights operated by BNSF, CSX and NS ply the rails as well, Amtrak operates the California Zephyr (San Fransisco) Southwest Chief (Los Angeles), Illinois Zephyr and Carl Sandburg (Quincy Ill). The freights are either entering or leaving BNSF Clyde Yard so they are moving fairly slowly and are easy photographic prey.
Connie's Family Restaurant
3271 S. Harlem Ave Berwyn IL. 60402
Woods Coffee Boulevard Park
Woods Coffee * * *
Woods Coffee is a local coffee shop in Whatcom County and one of the location is at Boulevard Park just north of the Fairhaven District. The coffee shop has a nice atmosphere with a helpful staff. The pastries are made and delivered daily. It is a short walk over to a pedestrian bridge that you can take pictures from. You are able to hear southbound trains as they whistle for the crossing in Bellingham, but north bound trains can surprise you. Traffic is moderate as it is single track territory with roughly 20 trains a day. Majority of them freight, there is a morning and evening Amtrak in both directions, and often a freight is within 10 to 15 minutes of each of these Amtrak's.
470 Bayview Dr
Bellingham WA 98225
If you like fish and Chips this is an absolute must! Located in White Rock BC Canada 10 minutes from the US Border crossing in Blaine Washington, this little eatery knows what's cookin.' The fish is beer battered and the chips (or fries in American lingo) are excellent. It is located right across the street from the BNSF Mainline (same line as the line by Woods coffee in Bellingham) from White Rock 's sandy beach. Eat in or order take out and walk over to the beach to enjoy a picnic lunch. Traffic is moderate as it is single track territory with roughly 20 trains a day. Majority of them freight, there is a morning and evening Amtrak in both directions.
Since this is in Canada, a passport is required.
15479 Marine Drive White Rock, British Columbia, Canada V4B 1C9
Located on East Beach, across from the Totem Poles
Hours of Operation: 11:30 am - 8:00 pm Daily
Good Night Sleep
Best Western Plus Tacoma Dome * * *
The Best Western Plus Tacoma Dome is a nice hotel, it is in the center of Tacoma, only a few blocks from the Amtrack Station and a block from the Sounder Station, Seattle's Commuter Rail. I stayed at the hotel after visiting point Defiance Zoo with my family, and being 3 hours from home we planned on staying in Tacoma, and chose this hotel as it was the cheapest we could find in the area. I did not know it at the time, that the room we were in faced the BNSF Tacoma rail yard. The bed was a (King Size) standard hotel bed, and the Staff, even though Hotels.com did not tell Best Western that we had a 1 year old, they had a crib in our room within 20 minutes. The hoel resturaunt was nice, quaint, and the survice was great, very attentive and bent over backwards for our baby. They did not have mac and cheese on the menu for children, and at that time, our little one did not have many teeth. The Chefs took spiral pasta, cut it up in little bite size pieces and then covered it in alfredo sauce, and our little one loved it.
But back to the trains, we were on the fifth floor on the odd nummbered room side, facing the port, I could see the Sounder station and trains coming and going, You can also see in the distance the yard and the Amtrak station was just out of sight.
My Uncle and I stayed at that same hotel on a railfan trip just recently and nothing changed, great staff, accomendating to our request of a room on the odd numbered side of the building. If you wish to stay here for the sights of the trains, make sure to request a room on the 5th floor or above.
Best Western Plus Tacoma Dome
2611 E. E St Tacoma WA 98421
Red Caboose Getaway
Red Caboose Getaway * * * *
Red Caboose Getaway is a quaint little Bed and Breakfast in Squim Washington. The proprietors, have created a very unique experience providing 6 different cabooses with different themes, foe different folks. There are 6 different themed caboose rooms, each one is different from the others and all are very beautifully decorated by Charlotte.
The Casey Jones themed caboose isa railroad theme, decorated with a portion of Olaf's railroad collection. The orginal toilet is still in place, however they have updated the sink and added shower stall, as well as put in a Queen sized bed. This Caboose is coupled to the dining car.
The Lavender Caboose is decorated in Charlotte's favorite color lavender, there are pictures of lavennder fields as well as the bathroom is painted lavender and white. The Queen sized bed and garden tub make this caboose a cozy getaway for two.
The Western themed Caboose is riddled with items that scream the old west, from saloon doors to the bathroom, fake rawhide backed cupola chairs, The bathroom is done up in red and white.
The Orient Express is a cozy Caboose for the Romantic at heart. The fireplace in the corner warms the room nicely, with a Queen sized Bed and a soaking tub for two, and a stack of Romance movies, including you gessed it;The Orient Express. My wife surprised me with a night at The Red Caboose Getaway and we stayed in the Orient Express themed room.
If you ever wondered what it might be like to sleep on a Circus train, this room is for you. The queen sized bed is under a canopy, with fun circus paintings on the wall, and the bathroom has a tub built for two.
The Grape Escape themed room is decorated to honor the wine industry of the region, beautifully decorated with wood paneling, a comfy sofa and a modern fireplace. The bathroom has heated Italian tile witha copper footed tub. The caboose reminds me of a wine barrel with the wood paneling, and the grape colored stain glass.
The dining car was orinally part of the 1936 Texas Zephyr which operated over the subsidiaries of the Burlington Route between Denver and Fort Worth. Charlotte and Olaf, cook and are your waiter gor a wonderful three course breakfast. When I was there, my wife and I were the only ones that stayed the night so at breakfast, they took the time to show us the photo album of the building of the B&B and as we talked it came out that the cabooses (except the Grape Escape) had all been stored in the town we were from. It was wonderful experience and I highly recommend if you are in thre area to book a night at The Red Caboose Getaway.
The Red Caboose Getaway
24 Old Coyote Way | Sequim, WA 98382 email@example.com
Izaak Walton Inn
Izaak Walton Inn
The Izaak Walton Inn was built by the Great Northern Railway to house crews. The Inn is situated on the western edge of Glacier National Park in the small hamlet of Essex Montana. If you aren't a rail fan you might not know where Essex lies. It is 50 miles to the east of Whitefish Montana on US Route 2, in the mountains on the western edge of Glacier National Park. Essex was a crew change for the Great Northern as well as a helper station on the west side of Marias Pass. There are helpers still based in Essex, with crews being brought from Whitefish on an as needed basis.
Alright now that the location has been set; lets get down to why you'd travel this remote location. First because it is remote, quiet...except when a train rumbles through. Amtrak's Empire Builder stops a quarter mile away at the Essex Station. The rooms are decorated in railroad motif. The Inn also features a locomotive remodeled into a room, with a Queen sized bed, a sitting area and a kitchen stocked with dishes a fridge, a freezer, stove and oven.
The locomotive cab is still entacted as well and gives the visiter an engineers view. Dont forget to play with the headlight.
When I was there in September 2013 the traffic was flowing, there was hardly an hour that went by without a train and it was more like 2 trains an hour. Have fun and enjoy the quiet picturesque mountains.
The Train Wreck
The Train Wreck in Burlington Washington is situating right on Fairhaven Avenue at the railroad tracks. It is not possible to see the trains while eating except out the front doors, however you can easily walk outside when you hear the gates dinging. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is cozy to say the least. There is a small bar in the back. It is always crowded and at dinner time there is often a wait.
The restaurant is just north of the Burlington WA yard that has a switcher based there, as well as the power (normally a GP38-GP60B-GP38) for the Anacortes Local also known as the Annie local that operates 2-3 times a day. Also seen are Amtrak Cascades, as well as through freights, oil trans headed for Anacortes and Cherry point refineries, and coal trains headed for the export terminal in Vancouver. The Sumas local arrives anywhere between 5-7 pm and turns east for Sedro Woolley and the ex NP line to Sumas.
The Train Wreck Location
© 2013 Clayton Hartford