August 9, 1999 Railfanning (Part 1)
This day found me leaving Bozeman, MT in the morning, traveling over Mullan Pass to Missoula and finding the TroughTrain in Glacier National Park by the end of the day.  A lot of miles and a lot of trains.  So many trains, in fact, that this day is broken up into four parts.  This first section covers from Bozeman to the top of Mullan Pass.
MILW Caboose in Three Forks  |  Winston Hill  | East Helena  |  Austin  |  Skyline Trestle

MILW caboose in Three Forks, MT. In Three Forks, Montana there is a little more of the Milwaukee Road than just abandoned roadbed.  This is the bay window caboose that is now used as a visitor info center (as if you couldn't tell that from the signs).  Across from this caboose is an old hotel built by the MILW.  Helmut Wisinger hosts an excellent website about the Milwaukee Road.  I recommend a visit. 

A westbound MRL freight (most likely LM) drags up Winston Hill between Townsend and Helena.  At Winston, this manifest met an empty, eastbound BNSF grain train lead by a SD40-2 repainted in the Heritage I scheme.
Winston Hill, MT.

Watco yard engine in East Helena. In East Helena is the ASARCO smelter and a couple other industries which are served by this WATCO yard engine.

When I arrived in Helena there was not much activity in the yard but plenty of MOW radio activity indicating that there were a couple westbounds attacking the hill.  I got through Helena as quickly and safely as I could and headed for Mullan Pass.  I found a westbound at Austin and followed it all the way to Garrison.

A westbound P-train starts into the loop above the Austin siding.  MRL 7546 (ex-SP) and 261 are helping BN 2733 and BNSF 6346 with a mixed intermodel consist of trailers, containers, and autoracks.
Just 'west' of Austin.
Slowly moving in Run 8.
Reappearing through the Iron Ridge cut, the train doubles back on itself above the track it just traversed.  The end of this train is just out of the image to the right. 

If you look behind the second unit you'll note the very top of the old tunnel portal.  The old tunnel is still there.  It was bypassed when the line was realigned in the 50s or 60s.

This is a full view of the loop above Austin.  Even though it is small, you can see the front of the train climbing towards the divide and the rear of the train at the bottom of the loop.
Above Austin, MT.

Approach to Skyline.
Having crossed the lower trestle across 'Greenhorn gulch', the P-train continues to grind uphill towards Mullan Pass.  This is on the approach to the often photographed Skyline Trestle below the tunnel.
And there it is, Skyline Trestle, located just below the continental divide over Austin Creek.  The dirt road in the valley is the Forest Service road which goes over Mullan Pass.  The squeal of wheel flanges straining against the railhead is almost deafening.
Skyline Trestle over Austin gulch.

The train was moving slow but it was still a long way to get down the hill back to the Suburban and up over the top of Mullan Pass via the Forest Service road.  The train had a much shorter trip also, continue on to see if I beat the train to Blossburg.


Thanks to Dan Stinson for providing additional location information.
All of these images were taken with a Sony FD-91 digital camera.
August 9th Part 1
August 9th Part 2
August 9th Part 3
August 9th Part 4

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