The North Coast Limited wasn’t included in Amtrak’s original route plan, but thanks to some political arm twisting by Montana Senator Mike Mansfield, it was added to Amtrak’s system little more than a month after Amtrak began operating trains. Amtrak decided to call it the North Coast Hiawatha because it followed Milwaukee Road tracks between St. Paul and Chicago. But the Empire Builder also followed Milwaukee Road tracks on that segment, and it wasn’t called the Empire Builder Hiawatha. Moreover, the North Coast Hiawatha followed Great Northern’s tracks between Spokane and Seattle (while the Empire Builder used NP tracks), but it wasn’t called the North Coast Hiawatha Empire Builder.
Several choices of photos for this brochure were even stranger than the train’s name. The front cover, as shown above, has a photo of Half Dome in Yosemite, which wasn’t quite visible from the North Coast Hiawatha being a mere 900 miles away. Inside, a photo used to illustrate the Rocky Mountains is of Glacier National Park, which is only slightly more realistic being well over 100 miles from the train’s route. Why not a photo of Rocky Mountain scenery visible from the train? Another photo is captioned, “Remember. . . a coach ticket entitles you to use the Dome Lounge.” But the photo shows ordinary coach seats; why not show the dome lounge itself, which was much more exciting?