BNSF Railway taking over Montana Rail Link route

BNSF Railroads
Posted at 1:17 PM, Jan 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-11 15:17:04-05

MISSOULA, Mont. — BNSF Railway has announced plans to resume operation of its mainline rail corridor through southern Montana, ending a lease with Montana Rail Link.

Under the lease that began in 1987, MRL operated the tracks owned by BNSF Railway between Huntley, Montana, and Sandpoint, Idaho.

MRL had in-state freight contracts and used its locomotives to haul BSNF freight across the state. Over the last several years, more than 90% of the traffic on the southern corridor were loads that BNSF was moving. Ending the lease eliminates the need for BNSF Railway to turn its loads over to MRL in Montana.

BNSF Railway says it will hire all of Montana Rail Link's employees.