August 8, 1999 Railfanning
This Sunday was a travel day with a little railfanning for good measure.  I took the side roads in Wyoming and Montana to stay near the railroads and it paid off with my first siting of the BN TroughTrain.  I would see this train two more separate times during my trip.  I didn't see a single train from Laurel to Livingston but it was still a beautiful drive.  I'd find plenty of trains on the return trip through the Yellowstone Valley anyway.
BN TroughTrain @ Aberdeen, MT  |  Laurel Engine terminal
East Bozeman Pass  |  West End  |  West Bozeman Pass

Leaning into the curve. BNSF 8826 leads the TroughTrain through Aberdeen, MT.  On this trip the loaded train had three SD70MACs on the front and a single SD70MAC on the rear as distributed power.  The SD40-2 helper set cut off at the top of the hill at Parkman, WY.
With a high green at West Aberdeen, the TroughTrain rolls on past the empty DEEX coal train heading back to the mines for another load of black diamonds.
West Aberdeen.

Laurel, MT locomotive facility. This would be three turntables, in three days.  The other two were at Cheyenne and Sheridan, WY.  This is the turntable in Laurel, MT at MRL's locomotive facilities which BNSF also uses.  The turntable still serves a couple service tracks.  There is usually a good assortment of power here including MRL, both ATSF warbonnet schemes, BN green & black, the Heritage schemes, and a variety of lease schemes.

It was a pretty slow afternoon rail-wise along the Yellowstone River Valley but I did finally catch a loaded westbound grain train on the east side of Bozeman Pass.  This train was led by a Santa Fe GP60, and BNSF SD40-2 in Heritage I paint, and a BN SD40-2 in the good old green and black.  On there rear was a helper set of 4 MRL units.  I was surprised at how little power this train had up front.  The road to the right of this image is I-90.
Climbing towards Muir and Bozeman Pass.

Empty coal train at West End.
Waiting in the siding at West End was a empty coal train from Centrailia, WA heading towards Spring Creek Mine in Montana.  This train is a counterpart to the TroughTrain shuttling coal between Spring Creek and Centrailia.  West End is the siding on the west side of the Bozeman Pass tunnel.  The train crew turned on the lights when they noticed I was taking photos.  I always enjoy railfanning the MRL.
The westbound grain train starts its decent towards Bozeman.  There are SIX different BNSF paint schemes in this image.  From left to right, BN green & black, BNSF Heritage I, Santa Fe red & silver warbonnet, BN green & creme, BNSF Heritage II, and Oakway blue & white.  I know the Oakway units are not really BNSF, but it is close enough for me. :-)
Six different BNSF paint schemes!
West End, MT on MRL. West End is located on an open plateau, which is quite a contrast to the canyon between here and Bozeman.  The hoppers on the eastbound coal train are the new BNSF cars with the mineral brown (red) ends and blue and white BNSF logo.

With the dynamic brakes whining, the westbound begins to pick up speed on the west side of Bozeman Pass.  The MRL helper set that helped push the train up the east side is now helping slow the train on the west side.

This ended my day of railfanning since Bozeman was the final destination.

Coasting down the west side of Bozeman Pass.

All of these images were taken with a Sony FD-91 digital camera.
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