August 9, 1999 Railfanning (Part 3)
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 third section covers from Garrison, where the Montana Western interchanges with MRL, to the depot at the east end of Missoula.
Nimrod  | Clinton  | Missoula

East Nimrod, MT This is the east side of Nimrod.  I love the name of this siding.  I wish there was a town or just a Post Office here so I could move there and say "I'm from Nimrod, Montana."

Anyway, this is a westbound BNSF P-train that has just handed off its two unit MRL helper to an eastbound P-train holding the main line.  The flat car with two idler flats is hauling aluminum sheets used for Boeing airplane wings.

Both of these trains had equipment for hauling Boeing plane parts - some of them rather large.  That is a full 737 fuselage on a single flatcar with idler flat.  The westbound is loaded with parts destined for the Seattle area while the eastbound has empty cars heading back to Wichita, KS for another load.
Plane by train?
Waiting at Nimrod, MT. Right as I arrived at Nimrod, the MRL helper was being added to the eastbound train.  With the SD45, this helper set more than doubled the available horsepower to attack Mullan Pass.
On the west side of the siding is Nimrod Tunnel #4.  You can see the west end of the siding to the left of the train.  This is one of those shots that just happen.  I didn't even think about the shot through the tunnel until I was there looking for the train once it was out of the tunnel and across the bridge just out of the picture.  Of course, that shot didn't turn out very well because of the lighting but this one did.
Nimrod Tunnel #4

Crossing the Blackfoot River.
This eastbound BNsf manifest is holding the siding at Clinton, MT waiting for the WB P-train from Nimrod.    This train had mostly loads of finished lumber products but the three flatcars visible were hauling garbage trucks!

I beat the westbound to Missoula by quite a bit and had plenty of time to look around the east yard.  Northern Pacific 1356 is on display next to the NP depot with a couple semaphores.  I believe it is a 4-6-0.  For the history of this locomotive, check out Ron Nixon's NP Locomotives digitally archived book.
Northern Pacific 1356
East Missoula yard.
That same westbound P-train finally rolled into Missoula.  The hills were still quite green for the August.  The east end of the yard was pretty quiet and there was hardly any locomotives at the engine terminal.
Even though I have seen these types of shipments numorous times, they are still amazing.  If you are interested in finding one of these fuselages on the rails, trace BNSF 800100 - 800123 on the BNSF public trace.  Their counterpart idler flat cars (because of the excess length) are BNSF 800010 - 800020.  I have seen as many as FOUR on a single train.
Boeing 737 fuselage.
NP Missoula Depot, August 1999.
A quick parting shot of the east side of the former Northern Pacific Missoula Depot.    This building no longer serves passenger trains but was recently refurbished as office space.

It was time to head north towards Glacier Nat'l Park to meet up with my dad and sister.  I followed the MRL over Evaro and saw an empty, eastbound grain train at Arlee.  I had been following the TroughTrain on the Sweetgrass Sub via phone for most of the day and knew I had a chance to catch it up near Essex before the sun dropped below the horizon if I hurried.  In the fourth section, you will see if I found it.

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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