If you live anywhere in Sandpoint, you’ve found out by now that trains—lots of trains—make their way through our quaint paradise every single day (and night). And for good reason. Bonner County is a unique spot. At one time in its history, three major railways—the Great Northern Railway, the Northern Pacific and the Spokane International, which originally connected with the Candian Pacific and later became part of the Union Pacific—intersected in this small town.
In 1970, the Great Northern and Northern Pacific merged with the Burlington Railroad, a line now known as the Burlington North Santa Fe. Today, Amtrak’s “Empire Builder” now also barrels through the town in the middle of the night at 12am and 2:30am. So next time a train whistle stirs you from your peaceful slumber, just remember, it’s the railways and trains that built this town—and continue to be a vital and important part of its survival.