East Glacier Park, MT (GPK)
The rustic style depot, a seasonal stop open from mid-spring until mid-fall, was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1912. It stands adjacent to the popular, historic Glacier Park Lodge.
400 Highway 49 North
East Glacier Park, MT 59434
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 13,809
- Facility Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Parking Lot Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Platform Ownership: BNSF Railway
- Track Ownership: BNSF Railway
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
East Glacier Park is a seasonal stop for the Empire Builder that is open from mid-spring to mid-fall. The remainder of the year, the alternate station for East Glacier is Browning, approximately 15 miles east of Glacier National Park.
The East Glacier Park depot was built by the Great Northern Railway (GN) in 1912. Directly behind the station is the popular Glacier Park Lodge, which opened in June 1913. Its grand public spaces incorporate immense, 500-800 year old Douglas fir and cedar timbers brought in by rail from the Pacific Northwest. The lodge and depot were built across the tracks from the small community of Midvale, which had formed after the railroad was laid through the area in 1891.
In an effort to foster tourism to the Rocky Mountains, which early boosters romantically termed the “American Alps,” the GN eventually built a series of nine Swiss chalet-type hotels in the region. President William Howard Taft designated Glacier National Park in 1910, further enhancing the mountains’ appeal as a vacation destination.
A rustic architecture featuring wood siding, shingles and large log columns visually unites the depot and lodge. Built as a combination depot, the station originally contained passenger and freight areas under one roof. The location of the waiting area is marked by a prominent, wide cross gable and a profusion of windows that allow natural light to flood the interior. Wood-paneled walls provide a sense of warmth, and a variety of historical displays trace the influence of the GN and Amtrak on the region. Long porches on the two principal facades shelter passengers from inclement weather as they wait for the train. Trackside, a projecting three-sided bay with windows once provided the station master with unobstructed views of traffic up and down the rail line. Today, classic station wagons known as “jammers” still transport passengers between the depot and lodge.
The GN is considered to have been America’s premier northern trans-continental railroad. 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.
Amtrak does not provide ticketing or baggage services at this station, which is served by two daily trains.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Baggage Storage
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift