The Duluth Zephyr train runs along the shores of Lake Superior

The start of summer in Duluth, Minnesota is heralded by the opening of local hiking trails, the return of waterfront patios and the first, brave people hitting the beach. It is also the time when the Duluth Zephyr begins its daily journey along the Lake Superior shoreline, giving riders views of the city and lake on the North Shore Scenic Railroad.

This year, the 75-minute train ride began on May 11 and ran daily until mid-October. Guests board the train at the Duluth Depot, a historic train station built in 1892. From the start in downtown Duluth, the train travels directly along the lakefront toward the town of Two Harbors, through the wooded neighborhood of Congdon Park and Tischer Creek. before turning around for the return trip to the depot.

Discover the breathtaking views of Lake Superior with Duluth Zephyr

Duluth Zephyr Train | Image credit: Duluth Trains

The North Shore Scenic Railroad may be a tourist route now, but for a hundred years the rail corridor connected the isolated city of Duluth to America’s expanding rail network. Travelers on The Duluth Zephyr are treated to a taste of what was, along with slightly more modern perks, including the ability to purchase a ticket in the first-class SkyView Dome Car.

Introduced to rail passengers in the late 1950s, the Dome Car takes travelers back to the Golden Age of Railroads – a time when traveling by train meant traveling in style.

Guests in The Duluth Zephyr’s SkyView Dome Car sit on the top level of the car under a dome of curved glass. From behind the large, round windows, guests can enjoy unobstructed views of the panorama of Lake Superior and the rolling green of the Duluth hill country. Below the upper sitting area on the lower level is a dining room with two bathrooms. Travelers with a SkyView Dome Car ticket are treated to complimentary drinks and individual charcuterie, served by a dedicated attendant.

In addition to the Dome Car, the Duluth Zephyr has standard coach seats. Light snacks, along with Pepsi products, juice, water, beer, wine and seltzers are available for purchase in the coach class concession car.

Tickets for The Duluth Zephyr cost USD 22 (SGD 29) for the bus and USD 44 (SGD 59) for the Skyview Dome Car. All passengers in the Dome Car must purchase a ticket of USD 44 (SGD 59), including infants, but children aged 2 years and under ride the bus for free. Children from 3 to 13 years old cost USD 11 (SGD 14) on the bus.

The coaches on The Duluth Zephyr are wheelchair accessible, but there are no accessible bathrooms. (The Dome Car is not wheelchair accessible.) Reservations on this route are recommended but not required.

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