Big, bigger, biggest. In the United States of America everything should be bigger. And so are the freight trains that cross the country. Even a heavy pass will not prevent them to transport thousands of tons.
With an angle of inclination of 2.2%, the Mullan Pass is one of the biggest challenges for the train drivers. This pass is located in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, west of Helena. Montana Rail Link is managing the railway and has their own trains, BNSF also uses this powerful line.
On the day we visited the railway (September 22, 2010), the line reopened for traffic in the afternoon after maintenance in the Mullan Tunnel. There was a lot of traffic predicted, but on a single-track railroad you should always have some perspective.
The first part of the train is an inter-building between Kansas City and Pasco. We saw this train arriving in the morning in Helena. In the afternoon the MRL line safety inspectors declared the track was safe. This was the first train in four days at the Mullan Pass. Final destination of the half finished planes is a Boeing aircraft factory in Seattle.
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