Bear Creek Canyon, Montana [May 2005]

We began the Essexpress Weekend with a chase of the eastbound Empire Builder, shown here crossing Java Creek Trestle .
Next stop during the chase was at Summit. Note the unusual consist, as the Builder shuttles equipment between Seattle and Chicago.
The Builder cruises past, with the summit mountains shrouded in the clouds.
At the West Bison switch, the clouds are beginning to clear up...
Near Glacier Park Station, we catch the Empire Builder as it crosses Midvale Creek. The new wind fencing detracts from the scene, but may prevent a train from being blown over some day.
The Glacier Park Lodge, as seen from the station platform.
A short time later, an eastbound C44 follows on the Bulider's blocks.
Chasing back up the hill, a westbound loaded coal train crests the summit of Marias Pass.
We chased the coal train to Java, where it curves along the contours of Glacier National Park.
The loaded coal hoppers descend Walton Hill in a cloud of blue brake smoke.
At the end of the long string of BN coal hoppers, a pair of SD40-2 helpers whines past in full dynamic braking.
Following the coal train, a westbound loaded grain train passes the end of double track at Java East.
Later in the afternoon, a brand new BNSF GEVO rolls into the gauntet.
The following day dawned overcast on the west side of Marias Pass, so we caught the Empire Builder at Bison, with the mountains shrouded in the mists.
The overcast began to clear up a bit, as an eastbound stack train follows the Builder down the hill.
The locomotives roar past, towards the clear blue skies of the Great Plains.
From the back porch of the former Summit Station, we catch a glimpse of BNSF C44 though the fog and early spring snow.

[Back][May 2005]