Montana Rail Link

From left to right: Greg Hampson, Ben Hampson and Bill Hampson holding Ben’s son, Thad. (Caption and Photograph Courtesy of BNSF)

BNSF: Hampson Family’s Enduring Mark of Safety, Resilience, Dedication

Ben Hampson’s family connection to the railroad runs deep. On his maternal side, his great-great-grandfather, Joseph Martinz, and great-grandfather Jack Martinz worked for Northern Pacific Railway (NP) in the early 1900s. Meanwhile, the paternal legacy took root in 1942 when Dan Hampson, driven by unfavorable farming circumstances and the inviting promises of railway employment, moved his family from North Dakota to Montana.


BNSF Welcomes Montana Rail Link

Railroading is a team effort, and since 1987, BNSF and Montana Rail Link (MRL) have been operating in collaboration across the Big Sky state and portions of Idaho and Washington. During the time that MRL leased and operated mainline tracks between Huntley, Montana, and Sandpoint, Idaho, our teams worked shoulder to shoulder to ensure strong outcomes for customers, employees and communities alike.

Paducah & Louisville Railway, Inc. was one of five ASLRRA Southern Region members to earn a President’s Award in 2023. ASLRRA President Chuck Baker (right) and ASLRRA Southern Region Vice President Ben Tarbutton III (left) presented the award at this month’s Eastern & Southern Region Meeting. (ASLRRA Photograph)

ASLRRA Members Honored for Safety Performance

The American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA) presented President’s Safety Awards to members at its Central and Pacific Region Meeting, held Sept. 26-28 in Long Beach, Calif., and at its Eastern and Southern Region Meeting, held Nov. 7-9 in Lexington, Ky.

Pictured: MRL manifest approaching Bozeman, Mont. (Bruce Kelly Photograph)

STB OKs MRL Rails’ Return to BNSF

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) on March 8 approved Montana Rail Link’s (MRL) petition to cease operating over main line between Huntley, Mont., and Sandpoint, Idaho, under a long-term lease with BNSF.

BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Katie M. Farmer (BNSF Photograph)

2023 Railroader of the Year: Katie Farmer, BNSF

RAILWAY AGE, JANUARY 2023 ISSUE: Railway Age’s 2023 Railroader of the Year Award, the 60th annual, goes to a groundbreaking North American rail industry leader: BNSF President and Chief Executive Officer Katie M. Farmer.

(Map Courtesy of MRL, via Nov. 18 STB Filing)

MRL Rails One Step Closer to Returning to BNSF

Montana Rail Link (MRL) in January announced it would cease its long-term lease with BNSF to operate over main line between Huntley, Mont., and Sandpoint, Idaho. Now, it is asking for Surface Transportation Board (STB) authorization.

MRL helper locomotives assist at the rear end of a BNSF grain train climbing Bozeman Pass, west of Livingston, Mont. (Photo and caption by Bruce Kelly)

BLET: BNSF-MRL Implementing Agreements Ratified

An “overwhelming majority” of participating Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) members have ratified an implementing agreement and Oregon Short Line Protective Agreement with BNSF regarding its resumption of service on Montana Rail Link (MRL), BLET reported.