View single post by jtrain
 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2015 12:59 am
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Joined: Sun May 27th, 2012
Location: Missoula, Montana USA
Posts: 1000
Seems about time to add some more stuff to this thread.  So far I've gotten to quite a few places around the state for historical railroad stuff, but this time I wanted to take a look at what's still around the state:

So then, might as well start with the mighty, Bozeman Pass.

The Northern Pacific railroad ran on this route long before the BN merger, and in fact had a passenger train that would run from Livingston, on the mainline, southbound to Gardiner, at the North entrance to Yellowstone National Park.  There's only a couple of historical photos I've seen of this route thus far, but it must have been a sight to behold.

However, Bozeman Pass is even more impressive.  Topping out at aroud 5700 feet, Bozeman isn't the highest pass in the world traveled by train, but it is certainly one of the most grueling in the region, Bozeman MT sits at 4800 feet on the west side and Livingston sits at 4500 feet.  The two cities are only 20 miles apart, so the grade ended up being 2.2%.  Decades of maintenance and regrading has dropped the pass down to a 1.8%, but with serving up to 30 trains a day (half of which are 200+ car coal trains out of the Powder River), all westbound freights and some eastbound trains require helper service via the Montana Rail Link.  This makes fro some interesting lash-ups by the BNSF. 

I have not yet gotten photos of the tunnel, but here are some shots on the east slope (Livingston) and the entrance to the canyon on the west side (Bozeman):

Hopefully I can get a chance in the next couple of weeks to get pictures of the tunnel.  The west portal is easily accessible, but the East portal will takes some maneuvering off the highway to get a good angle.  I-90 basically runs directly over the tunnel.


James W.

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