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Montana Rail Link photo roster

By | October 19, 2015

MRL photos show a regal regional railroad

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Blue switching locomotive viewed up close with a wide-angle lens.

 

This Montana Rail Link photo roster from 2015 is a testament to the motive power and scenery of a great regional railroad. BNSF Railway is set to end its operations in the near future as of January 2022.

A blue train sitting outside a shop
MRL SW9 No. 16 sits outside of the railroad's Livingston, Mont., shop. The switcher, built by EMD in 1952 is the second oldest locomotive on MRL's roster.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train sitting outside a shop
A blue and white train passing by
On September 23, 2008, MRL GP9 No. 113 switches Thompson River Lumber in Thompson Falls, Mont. It is usually assigned to the Paradise Local.
Montana Rail Link
A blue and white train passing by
A blue train pulling gasoline to a station
MRL GP9 No. 117 and a remote control caboose, switch the ConocoPhillips/ExxonMobil facility in Missoula, Mont. Tank cars for the Gas Local are loaded at this facility.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train pulling gasoline to a station
A blue and white train passing by on a stormy day
On September 24, 2007, GP9 No. 118 was assigned to the Paradise Local. The locomotive is seen switching the small yard in Paradise, Mont.
Montana Rail Link
A blue and white train passing by on a stormy day
An overhead shot of a blue and white train passing by some water
Former Northern Pacific GP9 No. 120 slides under the former Pacific Extension main line of the Milwaukee Road in St. Regis, Mont.
Montana Rail Link
An overhead shot of a blue and white train passing by some water
A blue train sitting on the tracks
MRL GP9 No. 131 waits for its next assignment in Livingston, Mont. The 131 is a former Quebec North Shore & Labrador Railway locomotive.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train sitting on the tracks
A train passing through a hilly area
On September 12, 2011, SD40-2XR No. 253 heads west on MRL's 5th Subdivision in Logan, Mont. The 263 is a rebuilt former Union Pacific SD40.
Montana Rail Link
A train passing through a hilly area
A blue train passing through a hilly area
MRL SD40-2XR No. 262 pushes on a BNSF Railway freight on Tehachapi near Caliente, CA. The 262 was rebuilt from a former Chicago & North Western SD40.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing through a hilly area
A train passing below another train traveling over a bridge
On September 20, 2009, SD40-2XR No. 263 rolls under an eastbound BNSF Railway freight on MRL’s 3rd Subdivision. The MRL rebuilt this short section of former Milwaukee Road trackage to access an area near the Milltown Dam sight in Bonner, Mont. MRL was called upon to haul out the dirt taken from the dam location to Opportunity, Mont. Shortly after this was taken, the last train ran out of the dam sight, and the trackage was removed.
Montana Rail Link
A train passing below another train traveling over a bridge
A blue train sitting on the tracks
A rare SDP40 (MRL calls it an SD40-2XR) sits in Whitehall, Mont. The SDP40 was built for passenger service for Great Northern in 1966. The boxy area on the back of the long hood housed the steam generator needed to power passenger trains.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train sitting on the tracks
A blue train sitting on the tracks
MRL SD45-2 No 323, a former Southern Pacific SD45, sits in storage in Livingston, Mont.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train sitting on the tracks
A blue train sitting on the tracks
Former Southern Pacific SD45 No. 326 (now classified an SD45-2), sits in Livingston, Mont. in 2007.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train sitting on the tracks
A blue train turning a corner past a grassy area with water
On September 21, 2012, SD45-2 No. 328 leads a short train of work equipment near Perma, Mont., on MRL's 10th Subdivision.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train turning a corner past a grassy area with water
A blue train parked on a cloudy day
MRL SD45-2 No. 330 sits ready for its next assignment in Missoula, Mont.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train parked on a cloudy day
A blue train turning a corner by a body of water with mountains in the background
The eastbound Gas Local rolls along the Flathead River near Perma, Mont., on May 9, 2010. No. 332 is a former Erie Lackawanna SDP45 rebuilt with a long hood from a SD45-2.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train turning a corner by a body of water with mountains in the background
A blue train passing by a body of water
On September 20, 2012, the eastbound Gas Local with SD45-2M No. 346 in the lead, rolls along the Clark Fork River near Eddy, Mont. The 346 was originally built for the Norfolk & Western with a high short hood.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing by a body of water
A train passing through a grassy area
MRL F45M No. 390 leads MRL's Laurel-Missoula manifest freight near Bonner, Mont, on October 7, 2005. The 390 is one of two F45s left on the railroad. Both locomotives are stored in Livingston.
Montana Rail Link
A train passing through a grassy area
A blue train parked on a cloudy day
In October 2005, MRL GP35 No. 401 was assigned to switch the yard in Missoula, Mont. The former Detroit, Toledo & Ironton GP35 was acquired by the MRL in January 1988.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train parked on a cloudy day
A blue train passing by a rocky mountain
MRL’s No. 844 local rolls through Jefferson River Canyon near Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park. The former Rio Grande GP35 is towing one car of fertilizer for a customer in Whitehall, Mont.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing by a rocky mountain
A blue train passing over a bridge
The local train to Harrison, Mont., crosses a small trestle with 1 car. The lead locomotive is a former Southern Pacific GP35.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing over a bridge
A train parked inside a shop
One of MRL’s two remaining SD9s receives attention in the shop in Livingston, Mont. The locomotive was originally built for the Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range.
Montana Rail Link
A train parked inside a shop
A blue train parked in a rail yard
In 2008, MRL SD19-1 No. 651 pauses in Missoula, Mont. The 651 is a rebuilt former Elgin, Joliet & Eastern SD9.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train parked in a rail yard
A blue train passing by a rural area
A unique SD19-1 switches a plant in Three Forks, Mont. The 652 was rebuilt from a Southern Pacific SD9 with a standard later-model cab, and a long hood from an SD40.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing by a rural area
A blue train parked on the tracks
MRL SD35 No. 705 is part of the consist of MRL's 844 local in Whitehall, Mont. The SD35 was built in 1965 for the Norfolk & Western with a high short hood.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train parked on the tracks
A blue train passing through a rural area
Brand new MRL SD70ACe No. 4300 has been cut off from a westbound BNSF Railway grain train in Elliston, Mont., after helping the train over Mullan Pass.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing through a rural area
A blue train sitting on the tracks
Even though MRL SD70ACe No. 4303 is almost new, it has received a healthy accumulation of road grime in Mullan Pass helper duty. The locomotive was built by EMD in July 2005.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train sitting on the tracks
A blue train turning a corner next to a body of water
A gleaming MRL No. 4308 skirts the Flathead River with an eastbound Gas Local near Perma, Mont., on September 28, 2007.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train turning a corner next to a body of water
A blue train passing by
On October 9, 2005, brand new SD70ACe No. 4309 and three sisters have just cut off from a westbound BNSF grain train in Elliston, Mont. The four unit set of helpers was cut in mid-train in Helena to help the train over Mullan Pass.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing by
A blue train passing over a bridge
Even though SD70ACe No. 4312 is less than 7 years old, it’s already received a new coat of blue paint. On May 8, 2012, the 4312 and the westbound Gas Local, crossed the Jocko River on the 10th Subdivision just west of Arlee, Mont.
Montana Rail Link
A blue train passing over a bridge

 

At its start-up in October 1987, Montana Rail Link purchased a total of 52 locomotives, including SD40s, GP9s, and various switcher models, from Burlington Northern.

Since then, the railroad has acquired other used locomotives from many sources, buying everything from SW1500s to SD45-2s. In 2005, MRL bought its first new locomotives, 16 SD70ACes from Electro-Motive Diesel.

The big ACe locomotives are assigned to helper service on Bozeman and Mullan passes, manifest freights between Laurel and Missoula, and the Gas Local between Missoula and Pipeline (Thompson Falls).

This Montana Rail Link photo gallery depicts various locomotives that can be found on MRL’s roster as it was in 2015.

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