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“Great day” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Great Northern Train Ride

Great Northern Train Ride
426 North Front Street, Spooner, WI 54801
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Ranked #3 of 6 attractions in Spooner
Type: Scenic Railroads
Attraction Details
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Great day”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

We took our family on a nice train ride. The ride was very comfortable, and scenic. The river was great. We ended up heading out on the river the next day. Thanks for recommending Jack's Canoe Rental, they were great. You guys made our short vacation memorable.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Savage, MN.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Not what we expected”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 4, 2013

We went with another couple to the Spooner Train Ride on Nov. 2, 2013. Pros and Cons about this experience.

We started out with cocktails and appetizers.. The cocktails were good (they carry name brand liquor) but the appetizers were a bit to be desired. Crackers, cheese and summer sausage, and a couple of veg's. with dip.

Our dinner car was very nice. It was owned by someone from Mpls. who takes great pride in how the dinner car looked. It showed. There was a young lady playing an electric piano for our enjoyment while we ate dinner. She was very good and was happy to take requests. The food was good, although not gormet style at all. The nice slow train ride allowed us to enjoy the atmosphere and dinner. The cheesecake was good by very rich!

We had fun in the "party" car although had it pretty much to ourselves most of the night. Maybe that's why it was fun!!

The sleeping accommodations were not good or comfortable. The matress was like trying to sleep on a cement slab. The sheets were clean, however. The area where you could change clothes next to the bed was hardly big enough to turn around in and the bathroom was not much bigger than a small hallway closet. The cabin was way outdated and needed a good cleaning!! Oh, by the way, the toilet and our water supply stopped working sometime during the night. Not a good situation! Try getting ready for the day in the morning without running water. Is that what it was like back in the 50?

The "harty" breakfest was buffet style. When we got go to our table about 8:10 or so, some of the food was already gone. The rest was a bit on the cool side. Finally, after about 15-20 minutes more food was brought out. It tasted okay.

This experience was too expensive for what we got. Even with the $179 Groupon deal. We could have stayed in a nice hotel for one night and had a good dinner for what we paid for this experience.

Would we recommend this to others? Probably not. There are better values out there!

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“The Twilight Zone Train”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2013 via mobile

Ok...to start this we traveled 2 1/2 hours to go on this train for a romantic getaway. We laughed out loud numerous times in the night not because we were having a jolly good time, but rather that we were actually here in these poor accommodations, food, and some weird people.
Many of the train guests were from the Twin Cities, and I somehow felt this was some kind of a bad joke throughout the night with Aaron Rodgers (Packers Quarterback) being the conductor of this train sticking it to Vikings fans one more way and time!
We got on the train at 5pm. It's not like a hotel where it is first come first serve for the room. Your room is already assigned, so there is no need to get there at 4:30 to get the best room available.
After going to our room and opening the door....we stood out side and laughed out loud. This "renovated" train / room was probably brought up to the 1960's in luxury and was a complete joke! There was no room at all and the bunk beds (yes I did say bunk beds) were as hard as a rock.
For the 200.00 Groupon "deal" (what a rip off....it shouldn't have been over 100.00 for what you got. You could have paid 100.00 more for an upgrade. If I would have done this, I would have wanted to hang myself at the rear of the train and had it drag me me down the tracks to take away the further pain).
The Groupon deal should have included a free chiropractor adjustment after sleeping on the rock bed not big enough for one person, but your trying to fit two people on. Remember, this is a "romantic getaway".
Ok the food was a joke. I wasn't expecting it to be great, but I was expecting it to be edible, which the pork was not. I think the MN Wild could use the pork as a puck at their next game.
So after dinner we went to the "disco car" for some music and dancing. Again upon entering this train we laughed out loud. I think my kid turning on and off a flashlight real fast would have been a better light show, and unless you want to dance to Elvis and Hank Williams Jr., there is not much of a music selection.
The people in this car hanging out we're why we named it the "Twilight Zone Train" wow...loads of fun....one group wanted to turn the lights up so they could play cards. REALLY, like there not enough lame places to play cards on this train from hell that you want to ruin the little bit of enjoyment we had. The card sharks left the train car and we continued to drink too drown the sorrow.
I now think my parents are cool and hip after being on the train with some of the people. Our parents would have been laughing too and wanted to get off.
If it wasn't for the late night drive, deer etc, we would have left that night.
We went to bed, received a free neck and back ache. We slept for about an hour total with the small accommodations and being woke all the time by us moving and basically breathing and of course hearing our neighbors through the paper thin walls doing what they were doing.
We woke at 7am, packed our stuff and left. Never never again!
We thought it would be a great gift to give to someone you hate.....now that would be worth the 200.00!

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Spooner Dinner Train”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2013

We took the Spooner Dinner Train Oct. 19, 2013. The train left at 6:00 p.m., so it was at dusk.There is a small building about four miles north of Spooner which served as the station. The building had zillions of tourist brochures for Wisconsin attractions, and a small selection of gift shop items -- postcards, tee shirts, misc. items. I think the entire line is about 8 miles long; we rocked along slowly (10 mph probably) for about 45 minutes and stopped for dinner service on an embankment overlooking a river on the west and lake/marsh on the west. It was scenic-- probably a lot more scenic if the sun had been higher in the sky. We were stopped for probably 45 minutes or so. After the dishes were taken away the train continued north another couple of miles, and then we reversed and went back to the station. Trip took just about three hours total, from the time we departed until returning.

The conductor came to the car and gave a very brief lecture about the spot at which we stopped and was willing to answer questions.

Food was perfectly good, although I am not sure it was elegant. We were in a vintage car, wooden, I think. We had plain white china and glassware, but the tables were Formica or similar, not white tablecloth. Placemat was paper, as was napkin. Tables were set for four; we sat on ordinary modern commercial chairs, not train seats nor vintage chairs.

When we were seated there was a small tray of cheese -- cubes, three varieties, I think -- about 18 cubes for our table and some Ritz crackers and some sliced summer sausage. The table was pre-set with a small lettuce salad (not iceberg). Later the waitress brought a cup of wild rice chicken soup, and after that I had a very nice steak with some sort of vegetable succotash (we were divided as to whether the succotash contained lima beans or edame/soybeans) and two red potatos (steamed, I think) and a roll. Dessert was a generous slice of cheesecake. The waitress took drinks orders and served them promptly. There were two other persons who helped her bring in the dinner when we were stopped; I assume they were serving in the other car, which must have had more diners.

The train was made up of a diesel engine and about six cars. One car was a generator car; after boarding on steps we walked through it (that car was definitely not scenic! -- it was just sort of a narrow wooden hallway around whatever machinery was in the car) then went through the "club car" (where we could have had a beer or wine and which had (yes, really) a disco ball and juke box), and then into the dining car. The car had probably 16 tables; I think six were occupied. The other three cars were a sleeper and a different dining car and, I assume, the kitchen car. Judging from the website pictures, I have the impression that we were in the sort of ordinary dinner car and that the dining car at the other end was more fancy. I believe that the other dining car was stainless steel sided and said "L&N Aristocrat"; our car was wooden and said Wisconsin Great Northern. Had some "clerestory windows" down the center of the car. (probably not the right terminology).

I enjoyed it, although I think the owners need to put more ceramic animals alongside the track. I only saw three ceramic deer. No ceramic gnomes at all! And we should have gone a little earlier in the season, so as to be able to see more.

BTW, we arrived in Spooner a little after 4 p.m.; it appears that (at least in October) the shops in downtown Spooner close up fairly early on Saturday. The bakery was still open until I think 5 or 5:30, but the quilt shop closed at 3 p.m., the coffee shop on the north south highgway closed at 4:30 or 5. I don't know if there was another coffee shop. There are a couple of restaurants.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 21, 2013

we enjoyeed our train ride very much, the whole experience was good with the exception of the dineing car. When the dining car showen was not in use we sat in a dining car made from a box car. Not what I and my wife and guests expected. The service was good and as the food went it to was good , the bar service was great. There should be a disclamer that the very nice dining cae may not be used.

Visited October 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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