Mountain West Rail
Alta-Mont XXI - October 6-8, 2001
Alta-Mont is an "informal" railfan gathering organized by Richard Yaremko & D. Larry Zeutschel.  The first time railfans gathered for this event in Essex, Montana was 1980!  Alta-Mont coincides with Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day which provides a three day weekend for the people attending show up for the railfanning, slides shows, and sharing a quality beverage with fellow railfans.  A very good summary and history of Alta-Mont is provided by Tom Trencansky.

Days are filled with the opportunity to railfan for miles in either direction.  In the evening, all those interested gather in the Cherrywood Room across from the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex, Montana to share slides and tales.  This was my first trip to Alta-Mont and I met some familiar names and made some new friends.  Simply click on the thumbnail image to view a larger version or view all of the larger images in one page.  - Paul Birkholz

October 6, 2001
High priority manifest, grain, vehicle, and intermodel trains over Marias Pass.
Morning sunlight shines on the nose of BNSF 5420 near Red Eagle, Montana as it leads the eastbound H-PASGAL1-05 towards Marias Pass.

BNSF 5420 East rolls across a short bridge over Stanton Creek between Red Eagle and Paola, MT amongst the fall colors.

The new pedestrian bridge in Essex provides a nice vantage point in both directions.  The wind had shifted overnight and smoke from the Moose forest fire had filtered into the southern valleys of Glacier National Park.  The Essex helpers occupy the tracks to the right when they are not out helping a train over Marias Pass.

BNSF 5420 leads the eastbound H-PASGAL1-05 across Java Creek Trestle located east of Essex, MT.

The H-PASGAL1-05 has almost made it to the top of the continental divide as it passes Marias, Montana.

At Bison, MT, the H-PASGAL1-05 met the G-SRAKAL9-03, a westbound grain train.  In the distance on the left you'll notice a herd of railfans capturing this meet on film and video.

An eastbound V-WENCHC8-05 approaches one of the many snow sheds between Java East and Blackfoot, MT.  This train added a set of helpers at Java East for the climb to Marias Pass.

BNSF 8093 and BN 7889 have just cut away from the V-WENCHC8-05 and reduced power to allow the train to pull away.  On the front deck of BN 7889 is a HelperLink unit which allows the helpers to be linked with the train airline without a physical connection.  This speeds up operations with the helpers since there is no stopping to remove the helper set.

Four high horsepower GE units power the Z-PTLCHC2-05 west of Bison, MT on a sunny autumn afternoon.

A fading BNSF 4555 leads the S-CHCTAC2-04 downhill at East Java, MT.  The tall mountains and low autumn sun begin to cast long shadows by late afternoon.

Oct. 6th over Marias Pass
Manifest, grain, & intermodal
Oct. 7th at Alta-Mont
Amtrak, manifest & Z-trains
From Browning to Belton
MWR in Montana
MWR Photo Gallery
Mountain West Rail Index

Made of 100% Recycled Electrons
All Content Copyright (C) 1999-2001 MWR
Comments? E-mail MWR