MWR - Railfanning the Rocky Mountain West!
August 12, 1999 Railfanning
On the road again.... Yep, it was another day of travel heading on west from Glacier National Park towards Sandpoint, ID.  Of course, I had to go east first following a train or two before heading back west.  On this day, I followed the rails of BNSF's Kootenai River Subdivision.
Red Eagle, MT  | Twin Meadows, MT  |  East portal of Flathead Tunnel
Riverview, MT  |  Movaria, ID  |  Heading towards Bonners Ferry  |  Naples, ID

Eastbound grain empty near Red Eagle, MT.
Red Eagle, Montana
It was a drizzly morning but that didn't keep me from trying to capture a few images in the less than perfect light.  Near Red Eagle, I finally caught this empty, eastbound grain train led by two green machines - SD60M 9284 and SD40-2 7111.
As you will see, this is a day of multiple shots of the same train - most of them coming and going.  Due to maintenance windows it was actually a pretty slow day all the way to Sandpoint.  However, I do like this telephoto shot.  You can definitely tell which track here is better maintained.
Passing on by...

Twin Meadows, MT
Twin Meadows, Montana
With a hot little tip from my sister about this westbound heading my way, I parked in Whitefish to wait for it to show.  As soon as it arrived, I headed on west to catch a couple shots of this Z-train led by three relettered BNSF units.  He we see the train charging up hill near Twin Meadows.  As you can see, the radio reception in this area is quite good.

Flathead Tunnel, Montana
This train hardly slowed down as they entered the 7 mile long Flathead Tunnel.  With the twisting, narrow road ahead and the trains speed of nearly 50 mph, it would be the last time I see this train.  That's one thing you'll find about the line between Whitefish and Sandpoint - it's a racetrack.
East portal of Flathead Tunnel - MP 1264.6

Along the river...
Riverview, Montana
I saw three more trains, all eastbound intermodels,  between the west portal of Flathead Tunnel and Riverview near Libby but was unable to get a decent shot because they were by me before I knew it.  I was probably staring out the windshield enjoying the breeze blowing through the open windows and the warm sun.  There could be worse things in life...

Anyway, this is the fourth eastbound train snaking its way along the Kootenai River at the base of Tony Peak.  This is where the old alignment use to head north towards Eureka before the Libby Dam was built.  The bridge over the Fisher River is still in place and there are a few segments of the old track still in place.  The old right-of-way is now under Lake Koocanusa.

Here is the same stack train heading south along the "new" alignment which follows the Fisher River.  This line is not double track as it may appear but instead has very long siding such as the 10,799 ft one here at Riverview.
Highball at East Riverview, MT.

Exiting Tunnel 10.1 near Moravia, ID.
MP 1374 near Moravia, Idaho

From Riverview, Montana all the way through Bonners Ferry, Idaho, I didn't see or hear of a single train, there was plenty of MOW people out doing their jobs though.  Finally, I found another eastbound blasting out of Tunnel 10.1 near Moravia.
High speed roll-by.
And just seconds later the eastbound train flies by with the flanges screaming their disgust at the curve and the ballast shaking.  Just imagine the doppler effect of the passing train with horn blaring its warning to the road crossing ahead.

The late afternoon sun glares off the first set of double stacks as the eastbound Z-train continues north towards Bonners Ferry near MP 1376.  This landscape is typical of northern Idaho.
Skirting the valley...

Naples, ID.
Naples, Idaho
Another eastbound intermodel train sneaks through the shadows at Naples and would be my last shot of the day.  The bright sunlight on the very orange lead unit played a little trick on the camera but I still like the shot.  The bridge takes U.S. 2/95 over both the BNSF mainline and Union Pacific's Spokane International which is to the left in the trees.

For a more in-depth coverage of northern Idaho, visit Ted Curphey's site below.
More info on the Funnel...

All but one of these images were captured with a Sony FD-91 digital camera.
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