Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Montana rambles

  1. #1
    Bruce Butler Guest

    Default Montana rambles

    I traveled across Montana from East to West; basically along the I90 route. Here are a few pictures that I thought others might find interesting. My list here is certainly NOT inclusive - there is a whole lot more of railroad interest to see than what I have included here.

    Just into Montana from North Dakota is the division point town of Glendive MT. I found this SD70MAC westbound without a train. Perhaps they gave an earlier eastbound train a boost out of town.
    Attachment 2797

    Down the road about 35 miles is the small town of Terry MT. About a mile east is the junction point known as East Terry. This is the point where the former Milwaukee mainline from the east came out of a side canyon into the valley of the Yellowstone river. The MILW and the NP paralleled each other more or less as far west as Forsyth, where the MILW turned north, leaving the Yellowstone river. When the MILW did their final abandonment of lines west, about 1983, the line from Terry east was purchased by the state of South Dakota and then leased to the BN. The former MILW line crossed over the BN (ex NP) line on a bridge and a new connection was built about a mile west of the bridge. Later BN exercised a purchase option for this line.

    This eastbound coal train has just met a westbound coal empty and is now heading east. Just ahead of the locomotive is the connecting track to the former MILW line.
    Attachment 2798

    Three SD70MACs on the head end and no DPU. He's getting it on!
    Attachment 2799

    There was a second eastbound coal train. This view shows his DPU unit on the rear just after it has gone under the former MILW bridge. Unfortunately neither eastbound went east on the former MILW line. I was running out of daylight so this picture is rather drab, but I wanted to show the bridge.
    Attachment 2800

    About 40 miles west of Terry is Miles City MT. A division point on the MILW, Miles city was also the location of a large MILW car shop. This car shop is still in operation, under private ownership. They use a former Santa Fe GP7 numbered "0003" for their switch engine.
    Attachment 2801

    This view looks east toward the west end of the car shop.
    Attachment 2802

    The MILW had a fine brick depot in Miles City. The local school district is using it for storage and shop space. It appears to have had a new roof applied recently. This view is from the track side.
    Attachment 2803

    A view from the street side.
    Attachment 2804

    The street side has "CM&STP RY" for "Chicago, Milwaukee and St Paul Ry" in raised letters.
    Attachment 2805

    The track side shows "MILES CITY" in raised letters
    Attachment 2806

    Not to be left out, the former NP, then BN depot is still standing across town.
    No passenger service here since Amtrak discontinued the "North Coast Hiawatha" in 1979. Can't you just imagine seeing horse drawn buggies on that circular drive on the street side?
    Attachment 2807

    This view is from the track side.
    Attachment 2808

    One of the NP monads is peeling the white paint BN applied at the time of the merger.
    Attachment 2809

    Billings airport is home to NP 1031, a small class L7 0-6-0 switch engine built in 1903. It is nicely protected by a roof.
    Attachment 2810

    We left I90 to go through Helena MT instead, so we could check on MRL. NP 1382, a class S4 4-6-0 is displayed in a small park just west of the depot.
    Attachment 2811

    There must not be many places where you can see a working GP9 along with SD70ACE road power. Further, the 127 is clean and the paint looks just as good as on the newer units in the background.
    Attachment 2812

    Attachment 2813

    Attachment 2814

    West of Helena we rejoin I90 at Garrison, and shortly we are in Gold Creek MT, home of Substation #8, one of three MILW Montana substations still standing. It is in private ownership and is in good condition. It provided 3300 volts DC for the MILW electrification until they pulled the plug on June 16, 1974.
    Attachment 2815

    Attachment 2816

    Attachment 2817

    Our last stop was in the former MILW division point of Alberton MT, west of Missoula. Here we found the former NP depot from Frenchtown MT, serving as an antique store. Very few, if any, of these two story NP depots remain. The second story was the Agent's living quarters.
    Attachment 2818
    Last edited by Bruce Butler; 07-24-2007 at 06:10 PM. Reason: re-insert images via paperclip method

  2. #2


    Man, tough to see these MRL shots and read your travelogue all the while stuck here in Burlington with no hope of early release. Still, the 20th ann. of the Merle is coming up and there are rumors that the ol' sardine swiller is headed that way for more fun in the sun at the expense of the boys in Helena...but I digress.

    Enjoyed the essay, Bruce. It was good read and along with the photos you did a nice job of capturing the feel of a road trip. The idea of, "here's what we found just up the road" is what makes this essay work for me.

    Good more.

    I vote for approval.

    Martin Burwash

  3. #3
    TomNanos Guest


    Overall, I like it - a nice high level view of the trip, along with some interesting photos. My only nit to pick, and it's very minor, is I'm not a huge fan of the date stamped directly on the photos. If it needs to be there, maybe it can be a touch smaller? Again, not a showstopper at all, but more of a suggestion.

    Yes vote here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Zanesville, Ohio


    I liked it, but I think the images need some toning work. They are flat- and I don't think it is my monitor. Not a big fan of the date stamp.

    I would certainly rather see a little work on the toning before giving my thumbs up.
    Chris Crook

    pictures and yap

  5. #5


    From the looks of it, I'm guessing the date stamped was added by his camera, and it's there whether we like it or not.

    (Bruce hasn't commented since he can't see the essay while it's being reviewed...)
    Last edited by Bob; 07-27-2007 at 06:32 PM.
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  6. Default

    I say go with it as is. Has a good narritive with the shots - king of like sitting on the couch, looking at prints with Bruce giving a little explanation of each one.

  7. #7


    I like the essay too. You're right, a few of the images are flat, and the date stamp is a bit distracting, but nothing that I consider anywhere close to being worth rejecting the essay over. If you want to make any changes, fine, go right ahead, but I'll give it a yes vote as is.

    Since that's 3 yes votes, I'm going to publish this one.
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  8. #8
    Bruce Butler Guest


    Thanks guys. This was my first attempt at a photo essay. The date stamp is a camera option and I can turn it off. The only photo editing software I have is "IrfanView" which is a fine utility, but I don't know if it can do "toning" work. I did use it to brighten some of the pictures that seemed too dark, and these are the flat ones, at least to my eye. I also used IrfanView to reduce the pictures to 800x600 to meet the size requirement. The Miles City depot lettering one was still too big so I cropped the bottom off to make it smaller.

    I'd also like an opinion. We took the SS Badger across Lake Michigan from Ludington MI to Manitowoc WI. It is the last coal fired car ferry running on Lake Michigan; formerly operated by C&O. I took a lot of pictures on board while crossing (4 hour trip) and could develop a story. However the railroad relationship is a little distant. Would this be something the readership would be interested in, or is it too far off topic?

    I also want to work up something on Western Rail Switching (I am the Engineer) and I even got an OK from the boss. A typical days trip - something along those lines. Need some more pictures to choose from before I put it together. Check out this short video:

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Butler View Post
    I also used IrfanView to reduce the pictures to 800x600 to meet the size requirement.
    That's the minimum size, you can go larger if you like.

    As for the Badger, it's fine. It's a railroad carfloat, so there's plenty of connection. Besides, we're pretty laid back here, we don't have a lot of strict rules. I'd even allow an essay that didn't have a railroad tie-in if somebody submitted it.
    Bob Harbison
    RailroadPhotoEssays host

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    close to Lake Ontario in Burlington, ON Canada


    So many memories, years after the death of a railway.
    One finds some structures, some lithographs on the walls of structures,
    names on structures and yes remnants of that was what was!

    I never saw the Milwaukee in the west, however it as with all such
    long gone memories reminds us that we too shall be but memories one day.

    So best make our mark now so we too will be remembered short of an
    epitaph on a tombstone somewhere in a stone orchard.

    Bryce Lee

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts