Thursday, June 12, 2014

Glacier National Park By Rail & Jammer

Glacier National Park is located in the U.S. state of Montana, on the United States-Canada border with the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. I took an Amtrak tour there in 1985. The tour was only about 5 days long, but it covered a lot of ground inside the park and involved stays at three historic hotels.

I bought a lot of postcards when I was at Glacier Park, but I prefer the older ones that I bought after I returned home. Most of the postcards in this post are from the late 1950s to early 1960s. The first two postcards were published by Great Northern Railway Company. Great Northern provided rail service to Glacier Park before Amtrak took over passenger service. The postcard above shows Great Northern's Empire Builder skirting the southern boundary of Glacier National Park. The postcard below shows great Northern's Western Star arriving at Glacier Park Station, eastern gateway to Glacier National Park.

My Amtrak train west from St. Paul, Minnesota also arrived at Glacier Park Station. It was a short walk from the station to Glacier Park Lodge, shown on the next postcard, where I stayed the first night.

The next postcard shows several red "jammer" buses in front of Glacier Park Lodge. These small red buses were used for transportation within the park. They were originally manufactured by the White Motor Company from 1936-1939 and operated in seven National Parks. The buses have roll-back canvas convertible tops. Yellowstone Park buses were painted yellow, while Glacier Park buses were all painted the bright red of mountain ash berries. Glacier National Park still operates 33 of their original buses today on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The outside of the buses still looks the same, but the insides had to be rebuilt.

The second hotel where I stayed was the Many Glacier Hotel shown in the next postcard with some more jammers.

The next postcard shows a bus with the convertible top rolled back.

The next two postcards show the jammers traveling through the park on Going-to-the-Sun Highway. The vertical postcard shows St. Mary Lake. Below that is a view of East Side Tunnel.

My last postcard shows Lake McDonald Hotel on the west side of the park. Here I stayed in one of the cabins near the main lodge.

I took many photos on my Glacier Park tour. Since this post is focused on transportation, I will just show a few of my photos related to transportation. The train shown in the photos is the one in which I rode on my westbound trip. The red jammer is one of the originals on display in the park. The Belton Amtrak Station was at the west side of the park and was where I boarded the train for my trip home.

Learn some more about the jammers in this video.

For More Vintage Images


  1. What an exciting and beautiful tour - even by postcard. Those mountains are certainly different from the ones here in Virginia.

  2. Those buses are pretty neat. Thank you for the link - I was wondering why 'jammers' and thought maybe it was because they jammed people inside. Not even close, was I?!

  3. I'll tell you straight. You would never get me to go on that cliffside road. But what magnificent scenery./ We are impressed with all our modern technology but the first trains, making travel somuch easier for people, must have made a big impression.

  4. You've recreated a week's vacation in one post! I wish all travel today could be so serene and slow enough to take in all the natural beauty. I've always wanted to take the similar train line through the Canadian Rockies.

  5. We've talked about taking a trip trough the Canadian Rockies. The scenery when viewed on TV ads looks so gorgeous. And I'd rather drive on a 2-lane highway on the side of a cliff than on an 8 or 10 lane freeway with everyone constantly switching lanes back & forth in front & back of you!

  6. Very scenic, and I love the look of those jammers! Never been to Montana, but you never know, maybe one day.

  7. I was mesmerised by the length of that first train. How long would it take to let its passengers off at a small station like the one that appears to be behind it. You have given us a majestic tour by postcard.

    1. I noticed when I was reading about one of the stations on a website that the train only made one stop, so some passengers would have a long walk to the station.

  8. A splendid set of colourful cards and photos.

  9. I would love to take your same trip. Those hotels all look fantastic. And it's so amazing they still have those red jammers.
    Ladies of the Grove

  10. There's something great about old postcards taking us back in time and plunking us right down where life was happening then. Fun!

  11. What an amazingly beautiful park. No wonder it has attracted tourists over the years.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...