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Nostalgia & History > Montana Monday: S-curve before the fire


Date: 02/11/19 09:40
Montana Monday: S-curve before the fire
Author: santafe199

1988 was my first full year in Montana. After settling in with my new employer I started to apply my still active railfan instincts. Most of my shooting was opportunistic stuff, while I was on duty with MRL. Such as shooting miscellaneous rosters or scenes while waiting for a crew change, or shooting from inside a cab en route. But on occasion I would take time to go exploring my new “home turf”. Here’s a good example from June of ‘88. While driving en route between Missoula & Helena I found a convenient spot for a series of elevated S-curve shots.

But my railfanning glee would be derailed later in the month. Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia: “On June 30, 1988, lightning struck a tree in the Crown Butte region of Yellowstone National Park, in the park’s far northwest corner near where the borders of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming meet. The lightning bolt started a small forest fire, which became known as the Fan Fire. The Fan Fire ballooned to cover about 1,800 acres…” You know the rest of the story.

Of course the thick, choking smoke from the fire spread in all directions. It made an unbelievable difference in the Big Sky! Those beautiful, pervasive, grand sweeping vistas only Montana can provide were GONE! The smoke from the Yellowstone Fire of 1988 slashed normal visibility down in huge chunks. And what visibility there was had an ugly, smoggy brown cast to it. It was horrible. And wouldn’t you know: In July my parents were planning to come up from Kansas for a week-long visit in my new ‘paradise’…

1. & 2. BN tiger-striped 3160 is westbound with a manifest (train 121?) about 4 miles east of Garrison, MT. Photos were taken from parallel US hwy 12 in June of 1988.

Thanks for looking back!
Lance Garrels
santafe199






Date: 02/11/19 11:39
Re: Montana Monday: S-curve before the fire
Author: monaddave

Around the corner and east under the highway bridge is the former siding of Bradley.
Dave in Msla



Date: 02/11/19 11:49
Re: Montana Monday: S-curve before the fire
Author: santafe199

monaddave Wrote: > ...  former siding of Bradley ...

Wow, that's a location I don't recall anyone talking about. Even Huey Green, who knew I was a railfan. Come to think of it, I think ol' Huey was a bit of a fan himself...

Bubba-loo #2



Date: 02/11/19 16:59
Re: Montana Monday: S-curve before the fire
Author: SCKP187

Nice.  That is quite a consist and a really good looking train in tow.  Never got to see any of the orange tiger stripe BNSF in the Tulsa area that I recall.
Brian Stevens



Date: 02/11/19 19:28
Re: Montana Monday: S-curve before the fire
Author: spwolfmtn

santafe199 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Of course the thick, choking smoke from the fire
> spread in all directions. It made an unbelievable
> difference in the Big Sky! Those beautiful,
> pervasive, grand sweeping vistas only Montana can
> provide were GONE! The smoke from the Yellowstone
> Fire of 1988 slashed normal visibility down in
> huge chunks. And what visibility there was had an
> ugly, smoggy brown cast to it. It was horrible.
> And wouldn’t you know: In July my parents were
> planning to come up from Kansas for a week-long
> visit in my new ‘paradise’…

Unfortunately, now we call this just a normal summer out here in the west   :>(   .



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