Essex, Montana [January 1999]

The most practical mode of tranporation to Essex is the
Amtrak Empire Builder. The eastbound Builder shows up
on schedule on a Saturday morning.
The sleeping car patrons, all snug in their bunks...
Another on-time departure.
Destination: The Izaak Walton Inn. Mostly full of Nordic
skiiers this time of year.
Morning finds the nest of eagles full. Three sets of SD40-2
helpers, and a pair of geeps, thrumb away at Idle 8.
First up the hill today is the snow removal work train. The
summit of Marias Pass is about 1000' above Essex, so the
fight is never ending.
In the pit of winter, Essex only recieves about four hours of
direct sunlight. Fortune smiles, and partly cloudy skys provide
ideal lighting for this eastbound manifest.
The eastbound manifest begins to stall on the hill at Java, so
a helper set is dispatched, and charges up the mountain.
Late in the day, the work train geeps and a somewhat defective
helper set are send to the division point at Whitefish for
With the helpers on the hill at Java, and the departure of the
worn locomotives, the Izaak Walton Inn resides over an
empty nest.

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