Since its founding in October 1987, the Montana Rail Link has plied the rails laid down by the Northern Pacific in the Big Sky country of Montana. It has served as a bridge line for the Burlington Northern and later BNSF between Jones Junction, Montana and Sandpoint, Idaho. In addition to handling main line freight, MRL has provided rail service to many local customers along its 900 plus miles of track utilizing several branch lines.
In January 2022, news of the MRL reaching an agreement with BNSF to end its lease brought many railfans out to Montana to see their beloved regional railroad one last time, not knowing exactly when the end would come. We made several trips in 2022 and early 2023 to capture some of the hot spots at various times of the year and are proud to present this four-part series showcasing Montana Rail Link in quite likely its last years of operation.
Part 1 begins in Missoula and follows MRL’s Gas Local over the 4th and 10th Subdivisions to Pipeline. Then we turn east over the former Northern Pacific’s racetrack to Garrison. Highlights include MRL’s system-wide manifest trains the LM (Laurel-Missoula) and ML, the Bonner Local, both Day and Night Gas trains and a few of the BNSF run-through trains including coal, grain, and crude oil.
This series was created to preserve the memory of this amazing regional railroad. Farewell MRL!
WIDESCREEN DVD NTSC No Region Code
1080i Hi-Definition Blu-ray BD-R
May be viewed with or without narration
This program was shot in 2022 and early 2023.
Additional footage by Christian Schultz