All aboard! Caboose accommodations offer unique overnight experience

Print Article

  • The Izaak Walton Inn is home to a number of train cars transformed into hotel rooms, including this locomotive.

  • 1

    The Northern Pacific luxury caboose sleeps six people.

  • 2

    The bedroom of the locomotive room.

  • 3

    The locomotive at the Izaak Walton Inn includes a front seating area with a conductorís chair. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 4

    The floor of a luxury caboose features the Great Northern Railway logo. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 5

    The luxury caboose, X215, is pictured Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Izaak Walton Inn. (Mackenzie Reiss photos/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 6

    Cabins are located in a wooded area just off the network of cross country ski and snowshoe trails at the Izaak Walton Inn. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 7

    A trio of renovated cabooses are perched on a hillside overlooking the main building of the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

  • The Izaak Walton Inn is home to a number of train cars transformed into hotel rooms, including this locomotive.

  • 1

    The Northern Pacific luxury caboose sleeps six people.

  • 2

    The bedroom of the locomotive room.

  • 3

    The locomotive at the Izaak Walton Inn includes a front seating area with a conductorís chair. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 4

    The floor of a luxury caboose features the Great Northern Railway logo. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 5

    The luxury caboose, X215, is pictured Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Izaak Walton Inn. (Mackenzie Reiss photos/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 6

    Cabins are located in a wooded area just off the network of cross country ski and snowshoe trails at the Izaak Walton Inn. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

  • 7

    A trio of renovated cabooses are perched on a hillside overlooking the main building of the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex. (Mackenzie Reiss/Daily Inter Lake)

The door to the GN 441 Locomotive is heavy.

It takes two hands and a good tug to open the hefty metal slab, but whatís inside is worth the effort.

The practical nuts and bolts in the interior of the engine have been removed and replaced by living quarters including a kitchen, bedroom and living room featuring polished wood accents and Great Northern Railroad motifs throughout.

Itís like a luxe tiny home on wheels, although this train wonít be leaving the station anytime soon.

The locomotive is one of nine railroad cars that guests of the historic Izaak Walton Inn can choose from, and can be yours for a night starting at $329. The renovated engine also features a conductorís chair at the helm, so guests can step into the shoes of the conductors of old, if only for a night.

The locomotive is at the top end of the hotelís luxury caboose offerings. Smaller high-end models are priced from $249 per night, and the classic cabooses ó restored, but with an old-time feel ó run between $169-199 per night. The cabooses sleep anywhere from one to six passengers, and four of the innís cars are equipped with a fireplace.

ďClassic cabooses are more vintage ó weíve kept their history,Ē said general manager Cristinna Gebbia. ďItís unique, itís boutique ó itís just one of those things where if you havenít stayed in a caboose you probably should. Itís a whole different experience.Ē

The historic shells and modernized interiors were introduced in the mid-1980s, according to director of sales and marketing Holly DuMay.

ďIt almost seemed natural with our relationship with the railroad,Ē DuMay said.

They come from various locations across the United States. The locomotive was sourced from Iowa and brought to life by Tom and Jamie Lambrecht. Through his work with BNSF Railway, Tom came across the locomotive in East St. Louis, where it was set to be dismantled and sold for scrap. But he saw the potential in the old engine and thought it would be a great fit for the Izaak Walton Inn, given the hotelís railroad history.

His wife, Jamie, who works as a machinist for BSNF Railway, designed the interior while Tom got the engine to Essex and transformed the exterior. The engine arrived in Essex in September 2009 and it took four sidebooms to lift it from the tracks to its current home next to the inn.

ďItís very unique and we definitely want to embrace our roots and why the inn was created,Ē DuMay said.

The cabooses, while smaller in size, are also rich in history.

Cabooses were originally coupled to the rear of a cargo train and used as an office for the conductor and to house a brakeman and flagman. Before air brakes were invented, a conductor would use a whistle to signal a stop, prompting the brakeman to twist the brake wheels on each car to slow the train.

Some of the cabooses have cupolas, an elevated observation area that railroaders historically used to watch for signs of trouble, such as smoke coming from the train cars ahead. Today, the innís fleet has turned the observation decks into seating areas where viewers can take in vistas of the surrounding forests or the inn itself.

A stay in the innís railcars wonít physically transport visitors, but it may take them back to another era.

Reporter Mackenzie Reiss may be reached at 758-4433 or mreiss@dailyinterlake.com.

Print Article

Read More Montana Life

HGTV Dream Home makes debut in Whitefish

December 09, 2018 at 10:13 am | Daily Inter Lake Fully furnished and TV-ready, the 2019 HGTV Dream Home built atop Big Mountain in Whitefish stands ready for its television debut and its lucky new owner as one of the countryís most anticipated give...

Comments

Read More

For Jerry Wisher, the auto salvage yard started by his father is a collection of memories

December 02, 2018 at 10:04 am | Daily Inter Lake Jerry Wisher knows that many people driving by or living near the auto salvage business his father launched in 1957 consider the operationís 22-acre lot an eyesore. Yet he perceives through a differ...

Comments

Read More

Ronan brothers turn Dobson Creek into community hub

November 25, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake The powerful aroma of coffee greets customers before they ever reach the porch of the Dobson Creek Coffee Co. in Ronan, beckoning from the parking lot to come inside for a taste. Owned by the Yost b...

Comments

Read More

Big Mountain uphill restrictions begin

November 22, 2018 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Skiers and snowboarders are reminded to follow the uphill hiker rules on Big Mountain as Whitefish Mountain Resortís ski season approaches. A Forest Service order requires uphill skiers to keep th...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2018 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X