In 1890, the Great Northern Railway made preliminary right-of-way surveys through this part of Montana, thereby determining the location of Libby.
100 Mineral Avenue Libby, MT 59923
- Annual Station Revenue (2014)
- Annual Station Ridership (2014)
|Facility Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Parking Lot Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Platform Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|Track Ownership||BNSF Railway|
|10 Short Term Parking Spaces||Accessible Payphones||Accessible Platform|
|Accessible Waiting Room||Dedicated Parking||Enclosed Waiting Area|
- Empire Builder
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The Libby depot, built by the Great Northern Railway (GN) in the early 20th century, resembles a Swiss chalet. For early regional boosters, this romantic architecture seemed appropriate to the Rocky Mountains, sometimes referred to as the "American Alps"; the style would influence the design of lodges and other buildings in the region's national parks. The depot features horizontal wood siding on the lower half of the walls and the appearance of half-timbering on the upper portion. The roof, which has clipped gables, includes a large overhang supported by carved brackets that protects waiting passengers from inclement weather. Its design is quite similar to the old GN depot in Cut Bank, Mont.
In addition to a waiting room, a portion of the building is also used by BNSF Railway as a storage/staging area. In 2012, Amtrak improved the station by installing a 550-foot long concrete platform, walkway ramp, wheel-chair lift enclosure, platform lighting and handicap parking stalls.
The GN is considered to have been America’s premier northern trans-continental railroad, running from St. Paul, Minn. to Seattle. It was formed in 1889 by James J. Hill, who orchestrated the merger of the St. Paul and Pacific Railroad with the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba Railway. Hill holds a special place in railroad history and lore, and is known as the “Empire Builder.” Whereas most transcontinental lines were built with federal assistance in the form of federal land grants, the GN did not utilize this method.
Hill’s business acumen guided the planning and construction of the GN. Much of the upper Midwest and West was sparsely settled, so instead of racing across the continent, the GN developed the regions through which it traveled as it steadily moved toward the Pacific. This action helped settle the land and created a customer base. Hill the businessman actively sought to establish trade links with Asia, and the railroad is credited with putting sleepy Seattle on the map and transforming it into an important and powerful Pacific Ocean port after the railroad reached the West Coast in 1893.
In 1890, the railroad made the preliminary surveys for its path through this part of Montana and negotiations for rights-of-way were made, thereby determining the location of Libby. The early speculators surveyed and plotted 40 acres into city lots and hired men to clear the timber so that streets and buildings could be built. The first train, hauling passengers and freight, arrived in town on May 3, 1892. The railroad was a significant factor in changing the course for Libby and settling of the West, allowing the easy, economical access that was needed for many more people to come to the area to live and work.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this facility, which is served by two daily trains. A caretaker opens and closes the station.