This week I’m spending spring break with my family in Central Montana which of course means you all get to see some BNSF Laurel Sub action here on dogcaught. The good news is the action seems to be plentiful.
So far traffic has been much improved over the last two years. I’ve seen…
1. Daily Laurel-Shelby and Shelby-Laurel trains. During the economic downturn this symbol was cut back and it seemed there was one train in one direction each day. Back to one each way each day!
2. Windmill blades. A loaded blades train headed for Canada passed on Sunday. With the Spion Kop wind farm in the planning there will like be more blades visiting these parts.
3. Loaded coal for the Sweetgrass, MT interchange. I’m not sure where the coal goes once it reaches Canada (probably Prince Rupert) but there seems to be a train every 3 days or so.
4. Fewer slow orders. Trains are getting over the road much quicker now. The speed through Stanford has even increased from 25 to 40! Sometime after July last year about a mile of concrete ties were installed in the canyon between Armington an Raynesford.
For the rest of my visit it looks like I’ll get to see the daily manifests, a coal empty and a load, as well as the lost local on its wanderings. It should be a good couple of days of railfanning!