In a country as vast as the United States, all kinds of goods have to be transported from coast to coast and everywhere in between. In our travels we saw plenty of evidence of this with the transport trucks that seem to fill the freeways in both directions.


However, some products need to be transported in greater volumes than transport trucks are able to do in a cost effective way.

Grain, for example, is grown in such quantities and needed in all parts of the country, that it makes more sense to load it onto railroad cars and move it across the land by rail. The grain elevators are built beside the railroad tracks so the product can be loaded onto railroad cars easily. Sometimes as many as 123 cars in one train are pulled and pushed (with engines in front and behind) along the tracks.

Grain elevators, old and new, stand beside the tracks in nearly every small farming town across Montana.



The train that goes down these tracks will soon come to another set of grain elevators.


I’ve seen railroad cars loaded with grain, but often the cars are loaded with coal. Many times the train is so long it needs more than one engine to push or pull the long line of cars. Once in a while, the cars carry tanks that are probably filled with some kind of petroleum product. Other times, I’ve seen huge airplane parts being moved by train. It is a very handy form of transportation. Usually the cars say BNSF on the side (Burlington Northern Santa Fe), but occasionally one can see an Amtrak train, transporting the most important cargo of all – people.


No matter what the cargo is, the trains all use the same tracks and these seem to go on forever, both east…

Picture 065a

and west.

Picture 062a

18 thoughts on “Trains

  1. Ursula

    They sure figured it all out. It’s interesting to learn about how such big countries move their goods around. Great pictures and explanations! Thanks for sharing it with (some of us) not knowing about this.


  2. townspirit

    We used to have a train coming right to Spirit River, but now the farmers have to haul it to the next town. No more haunting whistles in the night (which always made me think of B.C. anyway!) Now the tracks are overgrown, or removed. It’s nice to see Montana is still using this form of transport.



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