HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Places » U.S. » Montana (Group) » In Rural Montana, a Hope ...

Sun Jan 24, 2021, 11:56 PM

In Rural Montana, a Hope That Biden Will Reopen the Rails [View all]

DEER LODGE, Mont. — For nearly a century, passenger trains rumbled three times weekly through this broad, grass-rich mountain valley in central Montana, home to more cattle than people, until Amtrak pulled the plug on the North Coast Hiawatha in 1979.

But with a new president known as “Amtrak Joe” and Democratic control of both houses of Congress, a dozen counties across the sparsely populated state are hoping that a return to passenger train service through the cities of Billings, Bozeman, Helena and Missoula, and whistle stops like Deer Lodge in between, is closer than it has been in four decades.

“Residents of the very rural parts of the state have to travel 175 miles to get on a plane or to seek medical services,” said David Strohmaier, a Missoula County commissioner who is one of those behind the newly formed Big Sky Passenger Rail Authority to raise money and lobby for a return to passenger rail in southern Montana. “Rural communities see it as an economic development opportunity but also as a social lifeline for residents who might not have any other means to travel long distances for necessities.”

Making the journey between Chicago and Seattle, the Hiawatha served the largest cities in Montana. Its absence left a gap in a state where cities and services are widely scattered and public transportation is poor to nonexistent, especially for low-income residents.


7 replies, 1264 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply In Rural Montana, a Hope That Biden Will Reopen the Rails [View all]
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Jan 2021 OP
AllyCat Jan 2021 #1
elleng Jan 2021 #2
Wellstone ruled Jan 2021 #3
Blue Owl Jan 2021 #4
keithbvadu2 Jan 2021 #5
montanacowboy Jan 2021 #6
babylonsister Jan 2021 #7