Montana By Steam 2002 - Part 9

Oct 20, 2002 Day Six (Final Day) of Montana By Steam excursion, Missoula, MT to Sandpoint, ID

Unlike the other westbound return days, Day Six is not a simple reverse of its eastbound counterpart day (Day One). Day Six begins in the MRL 4th subdivision at Missoula MP 119.3 and proceeds to Desmet MP 125.9, then takes the 10th subdivision from Desmet MP 0.0 to Paradise MP 64.2, then back in the 4th subdivision from Paradise MP 0.0 to Kootenai MP 116.9, totalling 187.7 miles for the day (as compared to 216.8 miles for Day One).

Another way of saying it is that between Paradise and Desmet, Day One took the NP Low Line via St. Regis and Day Six took the NP High Line via Dixon. The Low Line was NP's "Water Level Route" along the Clark Fork, whereas the High Line goes over Evaro Hill.

Engineer: Greg Kamholz
Fireman: Jim Vanderbeck
Assistant Fireman: John Cox
MRL: Bob Bateman, engineer pilot, Missoula and Dave Swanson, road foreman/trainmaster, Missoula.
MRL support vehicle: Paul Elsenpeter, mechanical foreman, Missoula.

Evaro Hill

The SP&S700 works her way up Evaro Hill's 2.2% grade on a frosty, slippery morning. Photo by Joel King.

Evaro Hill as seen from the tool car. Photo by Arnie Holden.

The Marent Gulch Viaduct is 798 feet long and 226 feet high (notice we are looking down at the tops of tall trees). As we crossed it, Linda got this shot from the tool car looking down at the highway and a few chasers that waited in that spot. Photo by Linda Vanderbeck.

Skyfire should have some good shots of us crossing Marent. Photo by Arnie Holden.

Paradise, back in the MRL 4th subdivision at MP 0.0.

When the train pulled into Paradise to let passengers off for the run-by, engineer Greg Kamholz whistled one long blast to signal the stop. That narrow valley of the Clark Fork echoed the whistle back and forth maybe four, five or six times. I lost count. After we get either the video or audio CD, we'll hopefully be able to hear again what seemed almost like a religious experience at the time.

During World War II, the SP&S 701, one of the 700's two sister engines in its class, needed some repairs that the SP&S shop force either didn't have time or space to perform because of the press of war-time traffic and resulting maintenance workload. It was sent to Livingston for the work and on the way back, had its picture taken in Paradise by Ron Nixon, a well known NP photographer and contemporary of Warren McGee. One of our engineers, Greg Kamholz, suggested we stop the 700 in the same spot and try to replicate the 701 photo with rods positioned similarly, etc.

Jim Abney, using Greg's camera for him since Greg was in the cab, caught several others taking their shots. Left to right, Ken Keeler MRRT VP, Dale Birkholz and Terry Thompson of the PRPA, and Warren McGee. Photo by Jim Abney.

Photo by Dale Birkholz.

Leaving Paradise for Sandpoint. Except for modern signals, this scene could be from 60 years ago. Photo by Joel King.

Along the Clark Fork west of Plains. Photo by Joel King.

Along the Clark Fork near Eddy. Photo by Joel King.

Sandpoint MP 116.9, the conclusion of a successful "Montana By Steam" excursion.

Tired after a day in the cab, but happy with the results of the excursion, a beaming Jim Vanderbeck requires no effort to smile for the camera as he heads for our tool car, the "Kenny Prager". Photo by Terry Thompson.

Jim Vanderbeck, PRPA Acting President (and now President), and Ken Keeler, MRRT VP, congratulate each other. Photo by Terry Thompson.

Engineer Jim Abney, MRL pilot Bob Bateman and engineer Greg Kamholz. Photo by Dale Birkholz.

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