May 12, 2006
Sorry. Where is the North Montana?
Reference is to (actual name) the "Northern Montana Division". It was all those lines and branches running north out of Harlowton. Actually, Harlowton was also included, as it was a (the major) terminal of the NMD.
From Harlowton north.....
Just came back from working in Yellowstone National Park. While I was there, I visited Harlowton and saw E57B on display, and I went to the Depot Museum, which is very nice. I did notice they had items on display at the museum that were related to other railroads besides the Milwaukee, which surprised me very much, especially since a lot of those railroads competed with the Milwaukee. And, yesterday, on my way back to Washington through Montana, I did stop at some of the Milwaukee related sites: Deer Lodge, to visit E70 and 'friends', and Taft, to see the East Portal of St. Paul Pass Tunnel. Today, though, I just drove home from Spokane to Vancouver. Have also worked some on the book I want to write with the 'what if' scenario of the Milwaukee still existing.
We were up in Harlowtown just last weekend visiting relatives who worked on the Milwaukee Road. That is quite a museum and as you mentioned has a lot of items from other railroads. As a Kid I can remember going up there and spending the night with cousins and then riding west. My folks would usually pick me up in either Three Forks or in Deer Lodge where we also still have relatives living.
There is still so many places around the state that the Milwaukee Road is still on a lot of peoples minds. You did pass the old bridge when you went through Saint Regis, a stark reminder of the railroad, as well as riding along the old right of way which pretty well parallels the MRL/BNSF main line. I always like looking at the old bridges and trestles as well as the tunnels right along the interstate.
Great photos in this post which bring back a lot of memories.
What route did you take after leaving Harlowton? There is some simply beautiful country to see, along the old highway west of there. Or did you hop down to I-90 again?
Actually, I drove from Bozeman, on I-90, to Highway 89 to Highway 12 on my way to Harlowton. Came back pretty much the same way, except that I went part of the way on Highway 86. Did not go back on I-90 at all.
A question about the old transcontinental right of way : when the line closed in 1980, was the ROW immediately sold, or does it still belong to Milwaukee Road successors (thus Soo Line and its own successors, CP and/or CN) ?
Just in case some sort of nostalgic wanted to revive it...
I think it went back to the original landowners. Ken?
It went to various concerns. Such as prior owners, governments as trails. Parts were wiped out, such as through downtown Ellensburg, (WA), for expansion of Central Washington University. Etc, etc. It could be re-established, but the obstacles are many. Naysayers/NIMBYs. Eviro types. Getting rights-of-way for portions missing. Money. Lack of foresight. Lack of the mindset which first pioneered the transcontinentals/unwillingness to make a long term investment......
Thank you. Indeed I was rather sure of the reply...
The land on which the Santa Fe tracks to their station at 1st and Elgin sat here in town remained empty until very recently. It is kind of difficult to see a building go up square in the path, and realize what was can no longer be again...
Ted Turner I believe owns quite a bit of the line thru Sixteen Mile Canyon, since it goes right thru his ranch that I heard is like almost a 3rd of the State of Montana?
Well, no. What Ted owns are several ranches, in different places. You can Google up Montana Cadastral Mapping and find all the land owners in this State. In size, Montana is the fourth largest State in the USA. The amount of land he owns in Montana is a tiny dot on the map. The largest land "owner", (they are supposed to be a caretaker, not a separate concern from the citizens), is local, county state and federal government. They hold a HUGE or possibly better descriptive word, ENORMOUS portion of the State property.
Oh, thanks for the info. I remember hearing something on a forum that he owned alot of land in Montana, and you can't get into places like Sixteen Canyon without his permission.......
As you can see by this map, he owns nothing in that area.
Good to know, I wonder how you would obtain permission to get into there? Be nice to get my Jeep back in there on the old roadbed, just to check out the wonderful scenery of the area!
I believe the road into that area is public. You just cannot go off of it. Use that map. Find the landowners name or manager/management company and contact them.
If you use Montana Cadastral it will lead you to landowners and how to contact them.
Good to know! Thanks guys!!