How Cool Is This?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010 at 1:35PM
Joe Perry in Lodging, Railfan, Ramblings and Such

There are many lodging facilities that have unique rail-related opportunities for railfans and the public alike. Most common is the on-site caboose or passenger cars that have been converted into rooms that you can stay in.  From what I understand these are rather popular places to stay because kids, of all sizes and ages, get a kick out of them.  Hey, who doesn’t want to spend a night in a caboose?

Here are just a few of the locations that I am aware of in California and Arizona that offer stays in cabooses or passenger cars:

Now for something totally unique, look at this!  The Izaak Walton Inn, Essex, MT, has done something a little different and, in my opinion, extremely cool.  How would you like to sleep in a locomotive?  And not just any locomotive either.  This one comes with a complete kitchen!

The folks at the Izaak Walton Inn have gone the extra mile, or even two, perhaps.   They have partnered with Revelstoke Limited, LLC who purchased a former Santa Fe F45 in June 2008 and fully restored it as a Great Northern F45 externally and internally rebuilt it as a guest suite.

The locomotive interior has to be seen to be believed.  It looks amazing.  It even has a fully restored cab section for us those kids!  Check out the floor plan:

Here is a short description from the Izaak Walton Inn web-site:

This EMD Model F45 locomotive originally built in 1968 was rescued from the scrappers torch in July 2008.

It has undergone an authentic and painstaking restoration as the Great Northern 441, representative of the GN’s 14 locomotive fleet that operated through northern Montana “Hi-Line” in the late 1960’s.

The locomotive interior has been converted to a deluxe living accommodation featuring a master suite with a king bed, spacious living area with a queen pullout sofa, and a fully equipped kitchen.

It is decked out with 400 year old antique oak hardwood floors, custom cabintry complimented by a fireplace, providing a rustic and inviting interior worthy of Glacier Park.. The operators cab, with engineers seat, original control stand and electrical control cabinet  have been restored to better than new condition.

According to Wikipedia:

The locomotive was originally built as Santa Fe 1910, later 5910, later 5960, built by EMD in June 1968, serial number 34046. More recently it was Morrison-Knudsen 5531, then Utah Railway 9013. It has been painted in Great Northern Big Sky Blue colors and given number GN 441 - the last F45 delivered in GN colors having been 440.

If I had to pick, I would say that my favorite model  of locomotive  of all time  has to be the EMD F45 (FP45). Like Santa Fe, who asked General Motors Electro-Motive Division to build a cowl covered locomotive  to be used on its streamlined passenger trains because of looks, I like the looks of the F45.   It is a fully enclosed unit with plenty of muscle and big bold look.

Now that one has been converted to rustic suite nestled with Glacier National Park I am set!  Taking donations for my one-week stay now!

Article originally appeared on railroad photography and blog by joe perry (
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