9:15 AM Wow! What a Weekend in Leavenworth, Washington. Last night attended the town’s ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the long-awaited opening of Amtrak’s new Icicle Station and the return of passenger service to Leavenworth. And today, its day two of the annual Autumn Leaf Festival.
First stop, however, is my morning latte! Discovered a new coffee house here earlier in the month when I came over for a general membership meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and discovered Haus Dog Kaffee & Tea.
The family-owned coffee and tea house is conveniently located on the west end of Front Street and is within easy walking distance of the several area hotels and the center of town main attractions.
The owners, Regina and Klaus Ulmke, have created a delightful European-style coffee and tea house featuring Italy’s LaVazza Espresso coffees and Harrisons & Crosfield English Teas plus an assortment of baked goods, fruits, jams and condiments all served in a setting of attractive wooden tables and chairs, colorful blue umbrellas, decorative place settings and an abundance of flowers in front of the backdrop of Icicle Ridge and the Cascade Mountains.
7:00 PM Let the Celebration Begin!
Music, dancing and food greet dozens of guests arriving for the festivities and ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of Icicle Station in Leavenworth, Washington and to welcome the first inaugural run of new passenger train service along Amtrak’s Empire Builders route between Chicago, Illinois and Seattle, Washington.
8:08 PM. Supporters of the new Icicle Station in Leavenworth line the long length of the railroad platform as Amtrak’s Empire Builder slows to a crawl and them stops to allow more than 70 passengers who had boarded in Seattle to disembark and participate in the ceremony commemorating the opening of the new station and passenger service.
The ceremony concludes with comments, congratulations and thanks from Mayor Rob Eaton and a variety of other dignitaries representing the city of Leavenworth, Washington State, Amtrak and BNSF.
Folks interested in visiting Leavenworth by train can call Amtrak at 800-872-7245 for reservations, or, book online through Amtrak’s web site.
Leavenworth, a city nestled on the eastern side of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, recreated itself decades ago as a Bavarian Village and is one of the most popular destinations in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest. The city is an all-season destination featuring numerous indoor and outdoor activities and attractions. Accommodations abound whether your preference is camping, cabins, hotels, bed and breakfast accommodations, or vacation rental houses.
Icicle Station, Leavenworth, Washington
3:43 PM. At first glance, the railroad tracks and train station platform seen in the above photo could be almost anywhere in the United States. What’s unique, however is that Icicle Station at Leavenworth, Washington is the first Amtrak new station to be built in the last several years and restores passenger rail service to one of the most popular destination sites in the Pacific Northwest.
Friday, September 25th, 2009 marked the celebration and dedication of Icicle Station and the restoration of rail service to Leavenworth. In the scene above, construction crews ready the platform for the evening event which will commence in just a couple of hours.
In preparation for the event, crews clean the area of construction debris, check lighting, put finishing touches on signage and make sure train schedules are coordinated to allow Amtrak’s Empire Builder to stop at the new station and allow some 70 dignitaries to disembark who boarded in Seattle to participate in the inaugural ride. Current construction is stage one of several stages to be completed in the near future. Additional covered seating areas and shelters are to be added along with permanent fencing to replace the temporary orange safety barrier.
Chuck Taylor, a BNSF Railway flagger, explained that the main line running through here is heavily traveled by freight trains throughout the day. The freight trains typically pass through at speeds in excess of 50 mph, and Amtrak usually is flying by at 70 mph or more. To accommodate tonight’s special event, freight trains have been routed to the outer track, or siding, while Amtrak makes it’s first scheduled stop at approximately 8:15 PM. Between now and until after this evening’s ceremony the freights will slow to about 25 mph as they pass Icicle Station. Seen below is one of the several freight trains that came along during the late afternoon and early evening.