West Glacier, MT (WGL)
Constructed sometime between 1906 and 1910, the depot features rough-hewn siding that gives it a rustic appearance in keeping with other early buildings in Glacier National Park.
Highway 2 and Going-to-the-Sun Highway
West Glacier, MT 59936
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 6,261
- Facility Ownership: N/A
- 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).
Amtrak passengers at West Glacier use the platform adjacent to the historic Belton depot, which now houses a retail shop run by the Glacier National Park Conservancy. The non-profit group assures the Glacier National Park experience by providing support for preservation, education and research through philanthropy and outreach.
Rough-hewn siding extends over the entire structure and gives it a rustic appearance that blends well with the surrounding park. The center of the building includes a prominent cross-gable with a clipped gable roof. One of the conservancy’s predecessor organizations received the depot in 1991 as a donation from the Burlington Northern Railroad (now part of BNSF). It was renovated with attention to the cultural history and significance of its original use, and its overall appearance has changed little through the years.
Great Northern Railway (GN) moved through this part of Montana in 1891 as it worked to complete its transcontinental line between St. Paul, Minn. and Seattle. The new community, known as “Belton” after an early settler named Bell, had a depot (two box cars, one of which was the station agent’s residence), hotel, saloon, store and post office. As word spread of the region’s beauty and abundant wildlife, tourism began in and around what is today Glacier National Park. To serve these new passengers, the railroad constructed the current wood frame depot sometime between 1906 and 1910–accounts vary on the exact year. It was later enlarged in 1935, with the older section becoming the baggage and express area.
In an effort to further foster tourism to the Rocky Mountains, which early boosters romantically termed the “American Alps,” the GN built a series of nine Swiss chalet-type hotels in the region beginning in 1909. One of the first of these resort hotels was the Belton Chalet, erected south of the depot and connected to it by a trellised pathway. It opened in June, 1910, a month after President William Howard Taft designated the area a national park.
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 facility, which is served by two daily trains.
Platform only (no shelter)
- 6 Short Term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park for the day only, not overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
Accessible platform is a barrier-free path from the drop-off area outside the station to the station platform.
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
Baggage storage is an area where passengers may store their bags, equivalent to "left luggage" in Europe. A storage fee may apply.
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- High Platform
A high platform is a platform at the level of the vestibule of the train, with the exception of Superliners.
Self-service lockers are available in select stations for passenger baggage storage.
- Long-term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Parking Attendant
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Wheelchair Lift
Wheelchair lift is a platform-mounted lift for loading passengers from low platforms onto trains that do not have onboard ramps.
For passengers who cannot walk far or at all, we offer a wheelchair to move the passengers around within the station. At some stations this may be a battery-powered people mover. The wheelchair or other types of movers must not leave the station or be moved onto the train.