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Rare Mileage Trips 2004 part 2

Drive 3 5/23/2004

Once back to the car I drove on Idaho 41 to Interstate 90 which I took into Montana arriving for the night at the Budget Host Inn in Superior right before midnight. I checked the e-mail before calling it a night.

Drive 4 5/24/2004

I slept until 7:15 AM before heading east to Deer Lodge. I checked the Court House for my first prey of the day and then found the former Milwaukee Road Station. I asked a pastor of a church about what I was looking for and he told me I would find it at the Old Montana Prison.

There I found Milwaukee Road E-70, the Little Joe Electric Locomotive that was donated to the town of Deer Lodge by that railroad. Today I was in search of all the remaining Milwaukee Road Electric Locomotives in the State of Montana. I drove back on I 90 to Garrison and US Highway 12 just south of Mullen Pass.

At the Station in Helena I took a picture of Northern Pacific 4-6-0 1382 on display their plus the depot. I drove on east on US 12 to Harlowton in search of more Milwaukee Road.

There I visited the nicely restored Station, shop switcher and wedge snow plow.

I walked over to the roundhouse and saw what was left of the once busy terminal and eastern end of the Milwaukee Road Electrification.

In town I found the Milwaukee Road Box Cab Switcher E57B. I drove north to Moore on US 191 and turned east on Montana 200 to Lewistown.

I checked into the ex Milwaukee Road Station now the Yogo Inn.

I took a walk over to the Great Northern Station now an Exxon gas station and casino. I relaxed and took a true waterfall shower before I made a hotel reservation for tomorrow night in Lincoln, Montana and called home. I then drove out to the boarding location of our next rare mileage trip.

I stopped for pictures at the out of service Spring Creek Trestle before I drove the rest of the way to Kingston Jct.

For more pictures from the drive to Lewistown click here

Judith Basin Dinner Train on the Central Montana Rail 5/24/2004

I got out to the boarding dirt parking lot where The Charlie Russell Chew Choo loads from. All there is a wooden ramp. I photographed our train which was GP-9 1824 ex Great Northern, RDC-9 6917, RDC-9 6926, RDC-1 6138, RDC-9 6906 and RDC-9 6916. All of the RDCs are ex Boston & Maine and demotored.

The Central Montana Railroad was bought by the Great Northern in 1910 and the GN decided to build a line to tap the business of their booming town of Lewistown. "The Great Northern entered Lewistown Wednesday, December 4, 1912. On Tuesday evening the Great Northern actually came to the city limits. They ran the track- laying machine into Lewistown with great fanfare and the children were dismissed from school to witness the event". Fergus County Democrat December 12, 1912.

The train departed Kingston Jct at 6:13 PM and headed southwest towards Moccasin Jct, the Central Montana Rail connection to the BNSF. Our rare mileage dinner train would be crossing the Judith Basin which is a rolling landscape surrounded by mountains ranges on all sides. The regular dinner train goes to Denton on the other part of the railroad we will be riding tomorrow, there were rolls on the tables and the waitress took drink orders. I enjoyed Coca-Cola as I was dining with Martin from Arlington, Virginia. Salads and another roll were next as the train rolled through Rossfork with the siding and grain elevator.

At MP 13.0 our train crossed the Judith River Trestle which is the only long and high bridge on our trip to Moccasin Jct tonight. We made a huge reverse curve to reach Kolin with its old buildings and grain elevator. We enjoyed a great view of the Snowy Mountains to the east. Our Prime Rib Dinners were served next and they were excellent.

The train arrived at Moccasin Jct and the photographer got out for some photos of the engine running around the train. The BNSF 6609 East showed up in Moccasin and that crew must have wondered what was a passenger train doing there. Once the engine was reconnected, we backed almost all the way to the derail before we headed back to Kingston Jct. Dessert was served which was a Cheesecake with a Cherry Sauce.

The train ran back to the Judith River Trestle where we all detrained for pictures of the train heading out over the trestle before it backed across right before the sun was setting. Once we all reboarded we returned to Kingston Jct ending the third rare mileage trip of 2004. I drove back to Lewistown stopping at an Albertsons for more slide film before I returned to the Yogo Inn for the night.

For more pictures of the Judith Basin Dinner click here

Jawbone Express Passenger Train on the Central Montana Rail 5/25/2004

I had breakfast at the Yogo Inn before checking out before the crowd. I drove out to the loading spot taking railroad pictures along the way. The train was there but the engine had gone to Denton last night doing some freight work along the way. It was a perfectly clear Big Sky Montana as I waited listening to Frank Zappa on my headphones. I spotted a headlight coming through Danvers off in the distance. It arrived at Kingston Jct at 9:50 AM. After pictures were taken, Martin and I waited killing 9 flies that thought our window must have been the way out. It was the way to their death!

Richard A Harlow started building a railroad from Harlowton and Agawam north of Great Falls {GF} in 1903. The line was known as the Jawbone as it was named for the way Harlow kept jawboning about the fortune his railroad would make. "The first Milwaukee Road freight train ran through from Great Falls to Lewistown on Thursday, February 26, 1914 with 14 cars of sheep {from GF} and 1 car of hogs picked up at Denton all bound for Chicago". Fergus County Democrat. March 3, 1914. Here are a few other interesting historical tidbits from the Fergus County Democrat July 1, 1913. "The Indian Creek Trestle completion expected August 1, 1913 and the Sage Creek Trestle completion expected September 20, 1913. Track laying on Grass Range line will begin July 7, 1913 planned completion of September 1, 1913. Track laying on Dog Creek {Winifred} line & Roy line will begin August 15, planned completion fall of 1913". A special thank you to Dale Jones for the historical railroad information in and around Lewistown presented here.

The train left Kingston Jct at 11:00 AM and started our last rare mileage trip of 2004 by taking the new connecting track from the Great Northern built line to the Milwaukee Road line built in 1986. Spring Creek was off to our right down in the valley. We passed through Amherst prior to crossing Big Spring Creek on a fill then ran by the Gravel Mountain Spur.

We did our first Photo Runby of the day at the Judith River Trestle which has 33 spans, 150 high and a length of 1953 feet.

The train's speed allowed for many different angles to be taken.

Once on the move again we next passed through the town of Ware. The train crossed the Indian Creek Trestle 22 spans, 150 feet high and a length of 1303 feet.

The train ran through Danvers before crossing a high fill across Stockman Coulee. The train then made a big right hand curve before rolling out onto the Sage Creek Trestle our next Photo Runby location.

This trestle has 29 spans, 150 high and a length of 1698 feet. Sarah, Bart's wife, now has the nickname of Goddess of Clouds as she has the power to bring clouds across the skies during runbys either by putting on her sunglasses or squinting and thinking about putting them on.

The train next ran through the Sage Creek/Hoosac Tunnel, a 2014 foot long affair built in 1912-1913. We next ran through the little town of Hoosac. If all these names sound as if they should be in New England they were named by CA Goodnow, an assistant to the president of the Milwaukee Road who came from there. Lunch was served next with me having a roast beef Sandwich and Martin had a ham Sandwich.

The train made a big curve before Square Butte came into view before we reached Denton.

At Denton where the Central Montana Rail has its shops they bought out the rest of their fleet of engines.

It was also a time to get a picture of a train with a grain elevator in it in this case the Montana Elevator Company. Leaving Denton we crossed Wolf Creek as we continued across the rolling prairie.

Square Butte and Round Butte came into view in the northwest. We ran south of the town of Coffee Creek before we crossed the creek of the same name. The train then ran to the township of Arrow Creek. From there we ran the descent into the Surprise Creek Canyon on a 1.4 % grade.

We did our last Photo Runby of the trip at MP 107 still descending to Surprise Creek. After a great runby we finished our trip down the grade before we crossed Surprise Creek on a reversing curve and we continued to follow Surprise Creek crossing it two more times.

We continued to follow Surprise Creek to Pownal and have now dropped 630 feet since we left Arrow Creek and looped down into Surprise Creek Canyon. Arrow Creek joined the valley as well as Montana Highway 80 northwest towards Geraldine.

Square Butte stands guard to the west as we crossed Little Battle, Butte and Cowboy Steele Creeks with Hoodoos to the east. We traveled through the town of Square Butte and six miles later we crossed Flat Creek before we arrived in Geraldine.

We ran past the Geraldine Station and ran to the end of the track before we backed to the former Milwaukee Road Station thus ending the Rare Mileage Trips for 2004.

For the Charlie Russell Dinner Chew Choo Train information

Half of our group immediately boarded one of the buses to leave right away but the bus driver instead of leaving just talked and talked and talked. Once on the road all he did was talk over the PA making several bad jokes including one which insulted all the people from California and Oregon. More Zappa helped me pass the bus trip quickly and we returned to the cars at Kingston Jct at 6:00 PM.

For more pictures of the Jawbone Express Passenger click here

Drive 5 5/25/2004

Instead of driving back via Lewistown, I elected to take the gravel roads to Moccasin saving at least thirty minutes. I then took US 87 and later US 89 joined the road into Great Falls. I hit every traffic light green except for one where I stopped to have dinner at Arby's. I stayed on US 89 until Montana 200 split off of it southwest and later crossed Rogers Pass with the animals out in the twilight hour. I arrived in Lincoln at 9:05 PM and checked into the Ponderosa Leapers Motel where I received Cabin 13. I turned on Game 3 of the Lakers-Timberwolves series in the fourth quarter and then made a few phone calls home. The Lakers won 100-89 and I called it a night.

Drive 6 5/26/2004

Up a 6:00 AM and back on Montana 200 a few minutes later, I drove into Missoula for breakfast and gas.

I photographed a Montana Rail Link Stack Train leaving town.

I went west on Interstate 90 to US 93 taking this road over Evaro Hill with a stop at the high trestle.

After Avon I caught up to the Montana Rail Link's Thompson Falls Local and photographed him at four locations over the next hour. At Ravalli I was back onto Montana 200 all the way to Idaho where it became Idaho 200. The road took me along the north edge of Pend Orielle Lake and then I took US 95 through Sandpoint.

Staying on US 95 to Athol I found a short cut to Rathdrum and found a BNSF train in the siding in Ramsey. I stopped for lunch at the A&W and caught the same train blasting through Rathdrum. I took Idaho 41 to Interstate 90 taking it out to almost the airport exit to the Holiday Inn that I would be spending the night at. I used their Business Center before I gassed up the Mazda for the last time. I then relaxed the day away until after dinner at the Hotel's Peppers Restaurant.

After a good dinner, I went over to Latah Jct and caught a westbound BNSF freight heading to Pasco. I wished that train would have gone to Seattle as the lighting and picture was better that way. I returned to the Hotel for the night.

For more pictures of this days drive click here

5/27/2004 The next morning I drove back to the airport, turned in my rental car and went through security with no problem before waiting for my flight to board.

Southwest Airlines 2858 5/27/2004

This plane will take me from Spokane to Sacramento via Portland. Group "A" was boarded at 7:15 AM and we backed out of the gate at 7:34 AM. We flew over the clouds to Portland with me listening to the Scorpions this morning. We touched down into Portland at 8:36 AM and laid over until we left the gate there at 9:02 AM for Sacramento on a very rainy morning. We flew above the deck of clouds with no views this morning until we came out of the clouds at Chico. We descended into Sacramento on a beautiful clear morning touching down at 10:21 AM. I now got the chance to rest until my next and last flight at noon. I visited a newsstand for some snacks while I was in Sacramento.

Southwest Airlines 1410 5/27/2004

While I waited I listened to Yes "The Ladder" which was my choice for my final flight of the trip. The "A" group was boarded late at 11:52 AM so I knew that the flight would leave late. We taxied away from the gate at 12:12 PM. We flew over the Sacramento Shops and the Amtrak Depot with a Capitol Train ready to leave. I spotted my brother Bruce's house as we flew over South Sacramento. I thought that our late departure would destroy my plans of riding Metrolink to Moorpark to kill time since that train would pass through Burbank 8 minutes after the train if I took the shuttle to Burbank Downtown. We touched down at 1:15 PM and we arrived at the stairs at Bob Hope Airport at 1:17 PM. I was first off the plane, found a quick way out of the terminal and taxied over to the Burbank Airport Train Station with six minutes to spare.

Metrolink 109/116 5/27/2004

The train pulled in right on time and it was great to see Conductor Bob Heldenbrand for my Metrolink trip to Moorpark then returning to Los Angeles Union Station. We had a nice conversation as it had been many months as we rolled to Moorpark. There I walked over to a store for some Coca-Cola before reboarding the now Metrolink 116 to Los Angeles. It was a nice relaxing trip back into LAUPT. We arrived at 3:32 PM, two minutes shy of me making Metrolink 602. I walked down the platform of Track 4 meeting an old favorite former Amtrak now Metrolink Conductor Jack Nelley. We shot the breeze for a few minutes before I walked over to Track 12 to wait for my Surfliner to Santa Ana.

Surfliner 582 5/27/2004

I was glad to be back on an Amtrak Train heading home to Santa Ana. The fantastic Conductor Hutch took my ticket and then I read USA Today as the train headed to Fullerton. As we made our way to Santa Ana I listened to more Yes before we arrived into my hometown early at 4:57 PM. I walked through the station saying hello to Marty my wonderful nighttime Amtrak agent before I taxied home ending a wonderful Rare Mileage Trip of 2004.