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“There is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Brzezinski said. “Things are improving, but we do have a long way to go.”

Brzezinski said the delays have resulted in a drop in customer satisfaction, but noted one area that hasn’t been impacted: customer service. Brzezinski, who manages the crews who work onboard the train, said despite this year’s hardships riders have given Amtrak’s employees on the Empire Builder high marks.

Each Empire Builder train has an onboard crew of about 12 people, including sleeping car and coach attendants, kitchen staff and lounge car employees. Each crew works six days straight, or one round trip, and then has six days off. The delays, however, have meant many shifts run longer than normal.

“These crews are tired but they are still delivering good, friendly service,” Brzezinski said.

Brzezinski said solid customer service would be the base of the Empire Builder’s recovery - after that “we just need to get the train over the road.”

Boyle is also hopeful that the Empire Builder, a train with deep roots in Whitefish and Glacier National Park, can return to its former glory.

“The railroad is iconic in Whitefish and being able to come here by train is a big part of our brand,” he said. “I’m just worried we could lose that.”


Information from: Flathead Beacon,