Because of the railroad's location, Montana Rail Link does move a
significant amount of agriculture products, namely grain and corn.
However, the company also moves
other types of freight as well such as various timber products,
aggregates, coal, some intermodal, natural gas, and general merchandise.
Additionally, the MRL's traffic base is greatly boosted by the fact
that it has so many outside connections, namely to BNSF and Union
Pacific. Without such connections the railroad certainly would not have
such a diverse amount of freight moving over its rails. In more recent
times the railroad has gained additional lines, mostly branches serving
Montana towns such as Spire Rock, Twin Bridges, Darby, and Polson.
Additionally, it now has trackage rights stretching to Spokane, Washington via BNSF. Overall, MRL now operates a system
of some 955 miles. The railroad has actually become so profitable that
it has purchased new locomotives. Currently Montana Rail Link has an
exceptionally large roster although all of its locomotives are strictly
of EMD heritage. To learn more about Montana Rail Link please click here to visit their official website.
Montana Rail Link Locomotive Roster
|EMD||GP9||106-110, 112-113, 116-117, 119-121, 123, 127-128, 130-133||Ex-NP, Ex-GN, Ex-CGW, Ex-CRI&P, Ex-MSTL, Ex-QNSL||19|
|EMD||SD40||208-209, 213, 216, 220-224||Ex-BN, Ex-C&S, Ex-CGW||9|
|EMD||SD40XR||251-265||Ex-UP, Ex-C&NW, Ex-BN, Ex-C&S||15|
|EMD||SD45-2||301-305, 308-311, 313||Ex-Clinchfield||10|
|EMD||SD45||342-344, 501-505, 7544-7555, 8941||Ex-N&W, Ex-AT&SF, Ex-D&RGW, Ex-SP||11|
|EMD||SD35||701-703, 705||Ex-N&W, Ex-ACL||4|
|EMD||SD70ACe||4300-4315, 4400-4408||Purchased New, 2005-2014||25|
A good read on the history of railroading in the Pacific is Railroad Signatures Across the Pacific Northwest by author Carlos Schwantes. The book is an older title, released back in the mid-1990s but has received very good reviews for its in-depth look at the development of railroads in that region and how they played an important role in opening the northern states (Washington, Idaho, and Montana) for economic development. Copies can sometimes be difficult to find but I believe it is still in print. If you're
interested in perhaps purchasing this book please visit the link below which will take you to ordering information through Amazon.com.
Class II Railroads
Montana Rail Link