Essex, Montana [July 2000]

Our Summer 2000 visit begins with the morning departure of the work train, headed uphill to Summit.
BN GP38-2 2084 leads the charge up the hill. It's a long ways away from its youth, having started on the BN hauling iron ore in northern Minnesota.
A self-powered heavy crane. Looks like some tie replacement work is in order.
Last but certainly not least, one of BN's rebuilt cabeese.
Dickey Creek is a short, half hour hike north from Essex. First to arrive in the morning is the eastbound Empire Builder, running an hour late today.
Next up behind the Builder is an eastbound manifest, with three C44-9Ws on the lead.
As the sun shifts in the afternoon, another eastbound manifest rolls over Dickey Creek.
Finally clear of the eastbound priority traffic, an "Earthworm" grain extra heads west.
The following day, an eastbound manifest halts at Essex, waiting for the helper to attach itself on the west end.
The helper begins to push, but something goes wrong in the lead unit. The conductor goes back to investigate...
With heat-induced speed restrictions and seasonal track work all along the former GN mainline, the westbound Empire Builder is running two hours late tonight. Even at 10:00PM local time, this far north, there's still some twilight at the Essex platform.

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