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Originally published June 21, 2011 at 12:57 PM | Page modified June 21, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Amtrak's cross-country train from Seattle cut by flooding

Amtrak stopped service Tuesday on part of its Empire Builder train between Seattle/Portland and Chicago because of severe flooding in the Midwest.

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Amtrak suspended service Tuesday on part of its Empire Builder cross-country passenger train because of severe flooding in the Midwest.

The tracks in and around the town of Minot, N.D., are closed because of Souris River flooding.

The closure means rail passengers from Seattle and Portland can't take the train to its Chicago terminus. Instead, the train will go east only as far as Havre, Mont., and then turn west back to Seattle /Portland. For travelers westbound from Chicago, the train will terminate at St. Paul, Minn.

Amtrak is not providing alternate bus transportation between the cities, and it's unclear when the full Empire Builder service will resume. The long-distance train is very popular at this time of year for vacationers.

Passengers can call Amtrak at 800-USA-RAIL for information. Here's an update from Amtrak's website (www.amtrak.com):

"Amtrak service in part of Minnesota, all of North Dakota and in eastern Montana is affected by the closure of BNSF Railway Co. tracks in and around Minot, N.D., due to what is predicted to be the worst flooding in more than 120 years. Effective in both directions with the originations of June 21, Amtrak Empire Builder service will be temporarily suspended between St. Paul, Minn., and Havre, Mont., with no alternate transportation available between those points until further notice.

For those passengers traveling from Seattle and Portland, a combination of trains and chartered motor coaches will provide service to Spokane, Wash., with the Empire Builder trains continuing east into Idaho and serving all Montana stops for Glacier National Park (including Whitefish, East and West Glacier and Essex), continuing east to terminate at Havre each afternoon. The trains will originate there to operate back west to Seattle/Portland.

For those passengers traveling west from Chicago, the Empire Builder trains will serve all their Wisconsin stops (including Wisconsin Dells), continuing west to terminate at St. Paul each evening. Each morning, the trains will originate there to operate back east to Chicago."

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