The Laurel sub may be a mainline but it is not the transcon when it comes to the track structure. Right now it takes most trains nearly the full 12 hours to go the 225 miles between Laurel and Great Falls thanks to various permanent and temporary slow orders. No big deal though since this railroad isn’t used to speed trains from one point to another.
Yesterday I chased a train north from Moccasin to Stanford. I passed the train at Windham and expected it would arrive in Stanford within 10 minutes. What I forgot about was the 10 mph slow order in the tunnel south of town. I headed to Geyser for my next photo and had made the 15 minute drive (at 70 mph) before I heard the detector just south of Stanford go off. I waited around Geyser for more than 45 minutes before I heard the train say they were approaching Geyser….at 10 mph. Yep, more 10 mph slow orders. The good news is the section crew spent most of the day between Stanford and Geyser with a tamper and regulator so hopefully some of the 10 mph slow order were lifted.
5pm Update: All the tamping and regulating has paid off. The section crew lifted .4 of a mile 10 mph order this afternoon. Commerce will be back at high speed in Central Montana!