Thursday 28 October 2021

Montana, June 1994

The tail end of a road trip through Montana in June 1994.

MPI 9041 + BN 4077 + BN 4033 pass Big Timber, Montana, 20th June 1994.

Snapped from a hotel room at the Super 8 Motel at Big Timber (for a wash and brush up, and a comfortable bed, after some nights in a tent, including one within Yellowstone), a BN (Burlington Northern) freight passes, along the line of Montana Rail Link, the former route of the Northern Pacific. I cannot tell much about the various motor vehicles. 

The lead locomotive is a Motive Power Industries SD40M-2 rebuild MPI 9041. At the time, these were quite fresh from works, and BN must have been short of power, as several were seen at that time. Originally C&O (Chesapeake & Ohio) SD40 7550, new in August 1966, EMD serial 31929. After running for MPI it moved on to Helm Leasing (HLCX) and was last pictured around 2008.

MPI, at that time associated with Morrison-Knudsen, is now part of Wabtec.

BN 4077 and 4033 are both examples of the GE B30-7AB model, where the last letter indicates a cabless B unit. 4077 was new in October 1983, serial 44435. 4033 was new in August 1982, serial 44008. After heavy use on BN, these locomotives were mainly disposed of for scrap, about the 15 year lease break point in 1999. There is one difference between the locomotives, as the later units had a box on the long hood area, seen on 4077.

Montana Rail Link SD9 600, Laurel, MT, 21st June 1994.

600 had come to MRL from National Railway Equipment. New as EMD serial 21733 in April 1956, and delivered as Duluth, Missabe & Iron Range 107, this became Elgin Joliet and Eastern 604 in February 1968 by transfer between US Steel subsidiaries. By the 1988 it was in the NRE fleet,at Dixmoor, IL, pending sale, which took it to Montana that year. Out of use at Livingston, MT in 2005.

Laurel is the yard at the east end of MRL, the largest yard in the state, and on the railroad between Minnesota and Washington. There is also a railroad coming from the south, the BNSF Casper subdivision - built as a link to the Colorado & Southern,

Once one casts their eyes past the early to mid 1970s Pontiac Firebird, the other GM product of interest is MRL 16, an EMD SW9 model, completed in January 1952, builder number 15865, as St Louis-San Francisco 314.  It became Burlington Northern 269, in December 1980 and retired in August 1986.  It was sold as MRL 16 in October 1987, and still appears to be on the roster at close to 70 years old.

Burlington Northern 3501 and 3510 run westwards through Billings, MT, 21st June 1994. The first wagon appears to be an empty lumber wagon returning to the west. An American railfan photographer did tell me that he didn't take pictures in June, as the sun was so high that the trucks were not illuminated, as can be seen here.

3501 is a GP40M, built in December 1966 as a GP40, EMD builder number 32573 as CB&Q 177.  It became BN 3007 in 1970, and was rebuilt by Morrison-Knudsen at Boise, ID, in September 1988 becoming 3501 as seen above. It became BNSF 3001, was repainted in 2008, and still appears to be on the roster. At the time of the picture, the locomotive's maintenance allocation was to Lincoln, NE, but this was shortly to change to Interbay (Seattle).

3105 is a GP50, built in December 1980, EMD builder number 796331-6, ordered as SLSF (Frisco) 795; delivered as BN 3105. At the time of the picture it's allocation was to Springfield, MO. in July 1997 it was sold to Indiana & Ohio Railway as IORY 3105, renumbered 5005 by 2002, but spent time in storage in 2012-13, then IORY 5015, then Toledo, Peoria & Western Railway TPW 5015 from late 2013, painted in G&W colours, and still in service.

LMX 8577 running through Billings.

As previously covered, LMX was a vehicle of GE Leasing, used primarily for a lease of 100 B39-8 locomotives to BN, on a power by the hour basis. LMX 8577 as completed in March 1988 with builder number 45486. It became Relco RLCX 8577 by 2004, then San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad SLRG 8577 from early 2007. To Motive Power Resources, 2014; to Texas Locomotive Solutions, 2015; to Vista Sand, 2015. Now appears to be at Vista Sand in Cresson, TX, where it may be out of use.

The engineer waves as BN 6821 + 5382 run through Billings with an eastbound.

BN 6821 is an EMD SD40-2. at that time the most prolific diesel type on BN. 6821 was builder's serial 72639-22, built in April 1973. It became BNSF 1692, and remains on the roster.

BN 5382, a GE U30C, was featured previously, and was in its last year of service.

CSX SD40-2 8210 leads a westbound train through Billings. It was some way from CSX lines, so may have been paying off dues to BN or MRL. 8210 was delivered as L&N (Louisville & Nashville) 3582 in November 1974, EMD builder number 74644-29, then merged into Seaboard System Railroad in late 1982, and CSX from July 1986. Retired by April 2008, then well stripped by 2012.

MRL 258 was originally delivered as a SD40, builder number 33518, in October 1967 to Colorado & Southern as CS 877, later merged into Burlington Northern, where it became BN 6337. Sold to MRL in October 1987 as 217, then rebuilt to SD40-2XR specification, at Livingston Rebuild Center in June 1991, as shown. It remains in traffic.
EMDX 6047 next to the Best Out West Enriched Flour elevator, Hardin, MT, 22nd June. Today, the elevators are operated by the Peavy Grain Co.

6047 is an SD40-2 delivered as builder number 73676-8 in December 1973 to the Rock Island (CRI&P) as their 4797, but the railtoad headed into bankruptcy, and it was sold to become (Illinois Central Gulf)  ICG 6047 in June 1980, then sold to GM as EMDX 6047 in January 1989.  Later sold as (Wisconsin & Southern) WSOR 6047 and renumbered 4003.  It became WAMX 4172, and is still operating in Wisconsin.