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Date: 10/22/21 16:54
Empire Builder question
Author: co614

If I want to get to Calgary, Al. using the Empire Builder which station would be my best bet as closest to Calgary with rental car availability etc.

   Thanks in advance for your advice. Ross Rowland 



Date: 10/22/21 17:04
Re: Empire Builder question
Author: czephyr17

I would go to Whitefish, which is almost straight south of Calgary. There used to be a Hertz rental right in the Whitefish depot (oldest one in Montana I believe), but I am not sure if it is still there. In any case you are within a short taxi or Uber/Lyft ride of Kalispell International Airport so you can rent a car there. One caveat, if you are doing this in winter, remember you will have to cross the continental divide to get to Calgary from Whitefish.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/22/21 17:15
Re: Empire Builder question
Author: map

There was a car rental in East Glacier, but I'm not sure if it's open off season.  I assume they still close the East Glacier station during winter and the Builder stops at Browning.  Browning would give you the shortest drive, but it looks like you may have to go all the way back to Shelby to find a rental car.  Whitefish or Glacier International in Kalsipell might be closer options than Shelby, but I would drive back to Browning on US Highway 2 Before heading north.  I wouldn't try the try the other passes north in Canada during the dead of winter.

Mike Peters
Brentwood, MO



Date: 10/22/21 17:51
Re: Empire Builder question
Author: gtwtd3

The Hertz at the Whitefish depot is definately still open, I just used it 2 weeks ago.  Reserve ahead of time, they may or may not be there.  This was the first time they weren't, I've used them for years at the depot.  The owner is usually the one who has met me when I checked in, very friendly gentleman.



Date: 10/22/21 22:33
Re: Empire Builder question
Author: sarailfan

>  Browning
> would give you the shortest drive, but it looks
> like you may have to go all the way back to Shelby
> to find a rental car.  Whitefish or Glacier
> International in Kalsipell might be closer options
> than Shelby, but I would drive back to Browning on
> US Highway 2 Before heading north.

If you have to go to Shelby for a rental car, it's 4-lane highway all the way to Calgary except through Lethbridge if you follow I15 north, then AB Hwy 4, hwy 3 and up hwy 2. Back to Browning gets you into the foothills all the way up, and some potentially nasty roads in winter.

Whitefish and north through Eureka, then Hwy 3 eastward in Canada is a good second choice, slower travel but Hwy 3 is well maintained (southern trans-provincial highway). Other small border crossings are closed in the off season, so double check before you go

Posted from Android

Darren Boes
Lethbridge, AB
Southern Alberta Railfan



Date: 10/23/21 04:37
Re: Empire Builder question
Author: co614

Thanks for all the replys. As I'll be coming from the Toronto area it appears that my best option will be to get off #7 at Havre, get a rental car and make the 5 hour drive to Calgary from there. That way I'll get to Calgary at a decent hour and it's about a 5 hour drive from any of the other options down the line but much later in the day. My other option is to take the Canadian to Edmonton and take a rental car for the 5 hour drive south to Calgary. Problem there is it only runs once a week vs. daily for 7/8. 

   Thanks again for the help.  Ross Rowland 



Date: 10/23/21 10:05
Re: Empire Builder question
Author: eminence_grise

Check the weather before you make a long distance winter drive in Montana or Alberta. As Alberta singer songwriter Ian Tyson wrote in his song 'Moisture" ", Ice and Snow, Highway 2, You'd better not go", the western plains can have some sustained blizzards in the winter. 
 



Date: 10/23/21 21:26
Re: Empire Builder question
Author: P

Yes, we drove from Spokane to Calgary 4years ago in April and were forced to drive through a nasty blizzard the final 2-3 hours before arriving in Calgary. April!!

Posted from Android



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