Off To Arrow Creek

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series CMR Photo Freight 2013

Welcome

Welcome to the CMR.  On the morning of our excursion the door to CMR headquarters is wide open.

After the night photo shoot my 5:30am alarm came mighty early.  Since I was going for a train ride an early call was ok in my book.  I made a quick trip from Stanford back over to Denton for the morning safety meeting and briefing on the trip.  Jay reviewed the plan of the day and we covered some basic safety item with train, our crew, and our caboose.  Sure we are all railfans and think we know better, but reviewing safety tips for the day was an important step.

At 7:45am our CMR adventure headed west from Denton to the station of Arrow Creek where Carla and Kristi ran the power around the train and set us up for a couple of photos.  At Arrow Creek the Highwood mountains formed a wonderful back drop for a very CMR scene.  In the coming months the railroad plans to repair the washout a few miles to the west and restore train service through the Arrow Creek canyon to Square Butte and Geraldine.

Arrow Creek

 Stopped at Arrow Creek, MT our little train poses for a photo under the Big Skys of Montana.

Since the Central Montana is mostly former Milwaukee Road and was operated by BN for just a few years its MILW heritage shows through everywhere. West of Denton we passed several signs from the MILW era including a flanger board for a crossing and a Station One Mile sign.  The Station One Mile sign ended up being our second photo stop of the day.  At our stops  I found dozens of date nails from the 30’s marking the ties as I walked to and from the train.  It truly was a step back in time.

Flanger Board

Denton Nights

 One mile east of Arrow Creek we stopped for a portrait of the train with the Station One Mile sign. 

After one more photo stop between Arrow Creek and Denton we headed east into town for a quick stop at the restroom and the beginning of the eastern portion of our tour.

Central Montana Good News

A pair of CMR GP-9s lay over in Denton.

Just in time for my weekend train ride on the Central Montana Railroad they have some great news to share!  They will be receiving a $4 Million grant to repair flood damage from the 2011 floods. This should allow them to restore their previous service levels to the region.  How the Moccasin Agri-Hub and end of the BNSF subsidy payments will impact the railroad’s future is not clear.  I believe good marketing and partnerships with BNSF will mitigate those items.  For now though it appears they will be able to run trains again on this former Milwaukee Road line!

Trouble on the Judith

I’m sure after my visit to Denton this weekend I’ll have a clearer understanding of what the future will bring and how soon this trestle will again see rail traffic.

Mud Season

It is mud season in central Montana now.  With snow down to the valley floor in early May followed by warm temperatures streams are running high and low spots are collecting water and turning to mud.  It’s a good thing there’s lots of mud to go around because Central Montana Rail and BNSF seem to enjoy rolling in it.  Read this article by James Woodburn, a Geraldine-area producer who serves on the Central Montana Rail board of directors, and see what I mean.

Let’s hope mud season is short and everyone can get back to business soon.