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Amtrak's Empire Builder running through Detroit Lakes again

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Amtrak's Empire Builder running through Detroit Lakes again
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

GRAND FORKS - Amtrak is running again between St. Paul and Fargo, but won't stop its train while detouring diagonally across North Dakota between Fargo and Minot, a company official said Monday.

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Last week, Amtrak announced that the Empire Builder that normally provides service from Chicago to Seattle, through St. Paul, Fargo and Grand Forks, among other cities, was shut down from St. Paul to Minot because of flooding in North Dakota.

The Empire Builder actually was running from Chicago to St. Paul and turning around, and doing the same from Seattle to Minot, said Karina Romero, an Amtrak spokeswoman.

But today, Amtrak will begin again running from St. Paul to Fargo, including stops in St. Cloud, Staples and Detroit Lakes, Romero said.

But no service is available yet between Fargo and Minot, meaning you can't get on the train in Grand Forks, Devils Lake and Rugby, N.D.

The train is taking an alternate route between Fargo and Minot from the regular one which follows, roughly, Interstate 29 and U.S. Highway 2.

Along the alternate route, it's impossible to stop because there aren't the facilities and preparation, Romero said.

That information is not apparent on the Web sites scheduling pages, which can be seen online at www.amtrak.com. Call (800) USA-RAIL.

Amtrak uses railroad track owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which runs freight. BNSF said last week it had to suspend service in several parts of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota because flooding threatened the tracks.

Romero said it's not known when regular service will resume in North Dakota.

"We're kind of on a day-to-day basis."

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