Montana Rail Link (MRL) has unveiled the first of two special locomotives to thank veterans for their service and essential workers for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both will operate in regular freight service between Billings, Mont., and Sandpoint, Idaho, serving “as symbols of our appreciation,” said MRL, part of The Washington Companies and Railway Age’s 2013 Regional Railroad of The Year. The second locomotive will be rolled out in the coming weeks, according to the 900-route-mile regional.
“Essential workers have played a critical role in keeping our communities healthy and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said MRL President Derek Ollmann, who signed on to lead the regional in November 2019. “All essential workers including railroaders, first responders, health care workers, janitorial staff, grocery store clerks and truck drivers have served all of us with dedication and sacrifice.”
“We thank veterans and their families for their collective sacrifice and service,” Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation Executive Director and Vietnam veteran Mike Halligan added. “We’re proud to recognize two of the great organizations that serve our veterans, citizens, and communities across Montana.”