View single post by jtrain
 Posted: Mon Sep 7th, 2015 01:11 am
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Joined: Sun May 27th, 2012
Location: Missoula, Montana USA
Posts: 1000
Bozeman Pass really is (I think) prettier than Marias (and a bit warmer).  However, Bozeman Pass is the alternate route for most BNSF trains since Marias is owned by BNSF and Bozeman Pass is owned on Montana Rail Link.  The original route the Northern Pacific took went through Butte (or Helena, if taking the north route) with mountain passes on both sides of the town.  This makes the NP route unfavorable, but necessary as a back-up route for the BNSF.  The good thing is that Montana Rail Link runs from Billings to Missoula and beyond via the Helena Route.

Up past Missoula, the route travels through Ravalli, Dixon, Paradise, Plains, and Thompson Falls.  This route also has a back-up through St. Regis.

Here are some photos of that area following the Gas Local, a twice-daily train that connects a gas pipeline in Thompson Falls to Missoula (major break in the pipeline's run).  The rough terrain, combined with narrow valleys and many residents against gas pipelines makes it impractical to run a pipeline from Thompson Falls to Missoula.

And in case that was a little confusing, here's a map from the Montana Rail Link website:


James W.

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