Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sunset on the Badlands

The journey west continues as setting sun puts a finishing touch on this day in Eastern Montana.  The journey west began near Terry, MT at MP 1080 on the Pacific Coast Extension (PCE).  Now, near MP 1105, the ball is dropping, and what had been the heat of the badlands will quickly turn to a desert cool.


The Yellowstone River has been crossed once by the time trains made their way to this location.  A second crossing at Calypso (MP 1108) lies ahead before arrival at the Division Point of Miles City. 


It is impossible to escape the enormity of things out along the old PCE.  The line runs across incredible distances of vast emptiness and the Badlands only magnify that reality.  Passing through the Yellowstone crossings emphasizes something else as well:  the enormity of what was removed so many years ago.  This was not a small back-woods logging road, or a grain line rolling through Iowa countryside.  Everything the Milwaukee did here was big and intended to last.  Though Superdomes and Columbians are relegated to photographs older than these, the railroad and its inspiring vision still dwarf travelers who pass this way. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Outstanding pics with of sunset in the Badlands with light and shadow along the bridge.

I remember walking along what was left of the Milwaukee Road rails when I was a student at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City back in 1991 and 1992. It was always interesting watching the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern RR yards just across St. Joseph Street.

It is hard to believe, but there are a few Soo Line/CP/Milwaukee black bandit locos still running yet in Minneapolis/St Paul. Every once in a while, a railfan will snap a pic of one.