Recent Travels: The Train Station in Sandpoint, Idaho

Our recent travels to Montana and British Columbia also took us through beautiful North Idaho.  I lived in Sandpoint (north of Coeur D’Alene) for my last two years of high school.  The beauty of the Sandpoint area, Lake Pend O’reille and the surrounding mountains, especially in autumn is a great source of inspiration for me.  I took tons of photos and will be taking some in to my studio soon to work from.

In the meantime, it was the Sandpoint Train Station that has been feeding my inspiration a bit lately.  We stayed at the Edgewater Resort which is right on the lake next to the City Beach.  It is also right next to the train station.  I’ve posted about my love of trains before, but I was also drawn to the old train station because it was the scene for a pivotal moment in my life so many years ago.

The last time I visited the Sandpoint Train Station was in the summer of 1986 when I boarded the midnight (literally!) Amtrak bound for college in Phoenix via Seattle, Portland and Los Angeles.  Now days, this is an “unmanned” station – the doors are unlocked, but waiting room empty and the ticket windows closed and covered with notices for passengers to help themselves to getting tickets and boarding the train (it was a bit unclear as to whether you had to flag down the train yourself or not!).

The feelings I had revisiting this place of nostalgia, emptiness and loneliness in a spot that sees so much traffic have stuck with me as I’ve painted in my studio these past few weeks.

Thanks, Steve for taking the photos below (and for letting me share the train station with you)!

At the Sandpoint, ID Amtrak train station.
At the Sandpoint, ID Amtrak train station.


49pm... bound for college in Phoenix.
Last time I was at this door was in summer, 1986 to board the Number 7 train at 11:49pm... bound for college in Phoenix.


Lots of train traffic, but otherwise empty...
Lots of train traffic, but otherwise empty...
View of the Sandpoint City Beach and Lake Pend O'reille
View of the Sandpoint City Beach and Lake Pend O'reille

7 thoughts on “Recent Travels: The Train Station in Sandpoint, Idaho

  1. Gluten Free Steve November 11, 2008 / 11:55 am

    I’m the one who should thank you for sharing that part of your life with me. It sure was fun seeing Sandpoint with you.

  2. Dennis Brady November 11, 2008 / 11:57 am

    Wow, what a small world. I’ve followed and admired your work for years, and when reading your blog today I was surprised that you not only mentioned the town I live in (Sandpoint, ID) but you also spent time here. As a traveling artist that does about 30 festivals a year, I’m almost never in town during the “season” but had I known you were traveling through it would have been nice to meet in person. If I do Cherry Creek next year I’ll make it a point to stop by your studio. Take care.


    Dennis Brady Studios-

  3. davidcastleart November 14, 2008 / 10:45 am

    Dennis – Sorry I missed getting to meet you while in Sandpoint! Yes, please let me know if you’ll be in Denver – I’d love to meet and show you my studio.


  4. Scott October 20, 2009 / 6:25 am

    It seems Google maps has the station misplaced. If you have time, maybe you could send them a comment to correct it…? Judging from your comment that it’s near the Best Western..
    Enjoyed your post..


  5. E. Sachtjen November 20, 2009 / 6:11 pm

    Nice photos with green grass from a year ago. The place doesn’t look the same now — it station is being used as a construction office for the new highway 95 Sandpoint bypass. The fate of the train station itself, and whether Amtrak will continue to provide passenger service into Sandpoint, is in question and being hotly debated in Sandpoint. People from all over the country are weighing in — I didn’t know if you were one of the folks or not. Think the station and the service are worth saving? Ellen

  6. DHEA Dosage : October 30, 2010 / 11:05 pm

    it is quite sad that most train stations these days are horrendously overloaded*

  7. m. August 4, 2011 / 10:19 am

    I have many fond memories of this train station. in the 1970’s, I lived with a family whose house was directly across the tracks from the station. Its no longer there. They apparently torn down the whole little neighborhood there to make room for the big hotel that is there now. Thanks for the memories.

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