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Rolling Thru Ravalli

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posted by David Blazejewski alias Dave Blaze Rail Photography on Wednesday 5th of October 2022 07:45:15 AM

Here is another shot of the westbound Montana Rail Link 'day gas' train behind SD70ACes 4406 and 4408 (both built new for the road in Apr. 2014). They are leading a trainload of refined petroleum products from Missoula to Thompson Falls as they swing around a sweeping curve passing the station sign of Ravalli at MP 30.8 on MRL's 10th Sub Mainline. Named after after Antonio Ravalli an Italian Jesuit missionary, the community was established in 1887. Ravalli spent four decades from the 1840s to the 1880s ministering to the Indians and innoculating them which shielded the Bitterroot Salish against epidemics that devastated other tribes. So that's just a little bit of history of where this station name comes from because those of you that know me know I'm a bit of a nerd about toponymy. As for the railroad this is the original Northern Pacific Railway mainline that opened in 1883 as the second transcontinental railroad. This route was largely supplanted in 1909 when the NP completed a cut off between the mainline at Paradise and the Coeur d'Alene Branch at St. Regis creating a water level route from DeSmet (just west of Missoula) that exists today as MRL's 4th Subdivision Mainline. In days of old the 10th Sub over Evaro Hill was largely the domain of passenger trains though today MRL sees fit to use it for empty eastbound unit trains. The only exception to the rule are the gas locals which seem to take this route west whenever they can due to their light tonnage which allows them to make the hill with ease while shaving off nearly 30 miles. These railfan favorite gas trains are the only trains on this end of the railroad anymore that are guaranteed to run with blue power. Strictly an intra-MRL operation, these trains came into being in 1995 when a gap was created in the 40 yr old and 531 mile long Yellowstone Pipeline when the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe chose not to renew the pipeline company's lease of 21 miles of right of way across their Flathead Indian Reservation. To learn about how and why this came about this article may be of interest: Unincorporated Ravalli Lake County, Montana Sunday September 4, 2022

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  • Published 12.03.22
  • Resolution 1024x683
  • Image type jpg
  • File Size 259699 byte.

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