Izaak Walton Inn Showcases New Cabooses - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Izaak Walton Inn Showcases New Cabooses

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KALISPELL - The Izaak Walton Inn in Essex received two historic cabooses from Billings Train Depot last year making it the only hotel in Montana to allow people to lodge in rail carts.

ABC FOX Montana Reporter Jamie Daniel takes us on a trip to Essex to tell us how visitors are enjoying the new rail carts.

People from all across the U.S. are traveling here to the Izaak Walton Inn to check out the new cabooses.

"We like to call it the authentic Glacier Park experience because it's the same as it would have been when the inn was built in 1939," Hotel Manager David Gatton said.

In the spring of 2012 Billings Train Depot donated  two cabooses to the Izaak Walton Inn as they prepared to tackle a renovation project and had no more space for the rail carts.

"She called me knowing that I was here and said would you be interested, we're building a new music area in downtown Billings and we can't afford to keep them and I said yeah we would love to have them," Gatton said.

From that moment on Gatton and his team spent three months restoring the two cabooses to become luxury suites for visitors. The new Northern Pacific Bay Window Caboose features a full kitchen, granite counter tops, one queen size bed and four extra bunks to occupy a family of six.

First time visitor Tom Stevens and his wife Tracy traveled from Toledo, Ohio to explore Glacier National Park and to stay in the historic rail carts.

"It's nice, it's classy, but yet it's simple in a way, there are no televisions or telephones in the rooms, it's just a really nice way to relax," Stevens said.

The Great Northern X2 15 Car features hard wood floors,  a living room, full kitchen, granite counter tops, a queen size bed and a fire place.

"We get a lot of rail fans that come, a lot of families in the valley that want to come and just want something unique other than just staying in a hotel room, the number of kids that just climb around it and climb on them and take pictures with them, it's a lot of fun to see," Gatton said.

Gatton said business has done well over the past few months with the additions and he is grateful to the community for their continuing support.

Built in 1939 for the Great Northern Railway, The Izaak Walton Inn is the only flag stop on Amtrak's empire builder line.

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