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Trains Coming Back To The Valley

Montana Rail Link train engine (KLYQ file photo)

Following a guarantee that the line would earn over $250,000 in shipping receipts, a pledge worked out between local businesses and the Ravalli County commissioners, Montana Rail Link announced that for the next year, at least, trains would be on the Bitterroot Line again.

The line had been “mothballed” for about a year, following flood damage between Stevensville and Florence. Work on repairing that section of line could begin as early as this week with an assessment of the damage.

Commissioner JR Iman told KLYQ that he was happy to see a combined response from county and city governments to keep the line open. Representatives from city governments have initially indicated that they will help with the revenue guarantee.

He said that the line is one of the last “spur” lines left in the state. Rail companies have been moving toward longer multi-car trains on main lines for economic reasons.

He also said this move will protect jobs in Ravalli County that otherwise might have gone elsewhere. The deal will keep the line open at least a year.

Montana Rail Link said the work from the Ravalli County Economic Development Agency also helped the company decide to repair the line.

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