NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — With the winter weather forecasted this week, Amtrak will be operating on a detour route for North Dakota on both Friday and Saturday. This is dealing with Westbound trains only.

Starting Friday, Amtrak westbound trains will be going from Fargo to Minot.

They will be skipping stops in Grand Forks, Devils Lake, and Rugby on Friday and Saturday.

Again, this is just for the upcoming winter weather and just for those two days on westbound trains.

So, when it comes to winter weather, how does Amtrak take you to where you need to go?

Amtrak operates a nationwide rail network serving more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces on more than 21,400 miles of routes. North Dakota is one of those destinations. But how does Amtrak prepare for the winter?

“Well, firstly, we’ve been putting shovels and salt bags and everything that everyone else would do in Greater North Dakota to get ready. I’m sure there are garages with shovels that have been freshened up and bags of salt and maybe even snowblowers,” said Public Relations Manager for Amtrak, Marc Magliari.

“So, that’s the basics, getting people off and on the trains. But our trains in North Dakota run on tracks owned by BNSF Railway Company, and we’re in hour-by-hour touch with BNSF every day. Certainly, right now we’ve been talking to them about this incoming winter storm and what it means. The first thing we do in severe weather like this with BNSF is to add a third locomotive onto each train just to be on the safe side. Two locomotives are certainly more than adequate to get us, up and over the Cascades and up and through the Rockies. Each locomotive has 4,200 horsepower. But we pick up a little extra horsepower and a little extra electric generation for the comfort systems in the winter. That’s the primary thing. We do stay in touch with the folks that own the tracks and also take preparations inside the train for getting people off and on the trains of platforms that might not always be plowed right away,” said Magliari.

“And are we gonna expect any delays over the next few months? Well, I mean, it’s like driving U.S. 2, right? You’re not gonna make normal time on U.S. 2 during winter, and just like the roadways, we’re not gonna make normal time on the railroad in the worst of the winter. And in fact, we can cancel. If things are just too dangerous to get people out and about, we will cancel. So, we recommend people staying in touch with us, certainly when they make the reservations to sign up for notifications and also follow our Twitter feed. If the highways close, we’re not gonna be running people out there if there’s no way to get emergency services to those people who have medical issues or the things to the train,” added Magliari.

So, how much traffic is Amtrak expecting this holiday season?

If you don’t make your reservation, certainly now for Thanksgiving or even now for the December holidays, you might not get your first choice of travel days.

So go to amtrak.com, download one of the apps, call 800-USA-Rail, or stop by the friendly folks in the Minot station and book your travel now.