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Cold halts some Amtrak trains through Spokane

Cold weather and heavy rail traffic have forced cancellation of five runs of the Empire Builder passenger train from St. Paul to Spokane, Seattle and Portland on BNSF Railway lines.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported the cancellations, which began on Wednesday and will continue through Sunday.

Eastbound trains were cancelled on Wednesday and Friday with a third eastbound cancellation expected Sunday.

Westbound traffic was cancelled on Thursday and for Saturday.

Amtrak was contacting passengers to help them rearrange plans.

Cold weather has slowed switching mechanisms and caused mechanical problems on trains, the Star Tribune newspaper’s website said.


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Federal agency approves Idaho field burning rules

UPDATED: 12:41 p.m.

Federal officials have approved Idaho’s request to loosen field burning rules that backers say offer more flexibility to disperse smoke away from people but that health advocates say will lead to breathing problems for some area residents.