Idaho Attractions November 09, 2017
This Charming Idaho Town Is A Train Enthusiast’s Paradise
Visitors flock to the incredibly scenic town of Sandpoint, Idaho all year long. Situated on the majestic Lake Pend Oreille and in between three different mountain ranges, the town is completely surrounded by stunning natural beauty. It’s a hub for recreational activities including camping, skiing, hiking, biking, rafting, and lots more. However, a lot people don’t realize that Sandpoint is also a popular travel spot for a very specific group of people. Railfans (as they call themselves) are self-proclaimed train enthusiasts, and a lot of them visit Sandpoint to watch the dozens of trains that make their way through town every single day.
Sandpoint is referred to as the largest "funnel" in the entire Northwest (a funnel is a site where the east and west railways converge). Sandpoint is actually the only Amtrak stop in all of Idaho, and this means that it sees a ton of train traffic every day.
Approximately 50 trains from all over the country and Canada make their way through Sandpoint every day. Tourists travel to see the juxtaposition of these very trains against the beautiful backdrop of Northern Idaho.
Even the train station itself is a point of interest since it is the oldest remaining passenger depot from the Northern Pacific Railway. The Sandpoint Railway Station, built in 1916, is even listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
An important part of Sandpoint's history is rooted in the railroad and train industry. It's hard to tell if Sandpoint would be the magnificent town it is today if the Northern Pacific railway, created in 1864, didn't make its way through the town. The railroad made Sandpoint easily accessible for people all over the country.
The vast majority of trains that make their way through Sandpoint are cargo trains, but two Amtrak passenger trains come through the area each day. The westbound train takes passengers to Seattle or Portland, and the eastbound train ends up at Glacier National Park.
Even if you don't call yourself a train enthusiast, there's no denying the stellar charm that the trains provide the community. The sight of these industrial beauties making their way through the gorgeous lake landscape is simply unparalleled!
However, the trains aren't just a tourist attraction. For Sandpoint locals, the trains are an important aspect of growing up and living in the town. As new buildings and business have popped up over the years, the trains have been a constant...and hopefully will continue to be for generations to come.
Did you know this unique fact about Sandpoint? Have you been to “train watch” in this gorgeous part of north Idaho? Trains are an important part of Idaho’s history, there’s even a
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