Re: Things likely to go away when MRL does. Super Pool
Author: Bruce Kelly
Date: 01-13-2022 - 08:17
Ross Hall predicted, "11) Evaro Hill will likely to be at least mothballed if not abandoned. Steep grades and costly bridges make the line a liability to BNSF's current cost cutting."
I might be proven wrong in the years to come, but given the traffic that exists today I would expect the opposite to take place. As long as MRL and BNSF are moving loaded coal, grain, and oil trains west, the 10th Sub via Evaro Hill should continue to move empty coal, grain, and oil trains east. (Plus the Gas Local both directions.) Think of it as a miniature version of Stampede Pass. Both have 2.2% grades, both have some large bridges, (Evaro, however, does not have a nearly two-mile long tunnel) and both are valuable assets to the overall route structure and traffic plan. Like Evaro, Stampede's primary purpose at this time is to move empty unit trains east. And like Stampede, Evaro takes some of the pressure off the adjacent route(s) to free up space for westbound unit trains to mingle more easily with other trains (manifest, intermodal, vehicle) traveling in both directions.
Some might think that BNSF will eventually route more of its coal and grain over Marias Pass to avoid the steeper westbound MRL grades of Bozeman and Mullan. Don't count on it, at least not completely. Voices from the top say the opposite is more likely to happen, more unit trains running via MRL to free up space on the Hi Line for intermodal and the like. But don't discount the growth opportunities for intermodal between the PNW and the Gulf via MRL. The morphing of the tiny Q-PTLALT and Q-SSEALT stack trains into the monster intermodal/manifest Q-SPOALTs of today being just one example.