It's one of the roughest, toughest mountain passes, where heavy tonnage trains battle 2.2 percent grades and up to three sets of helpers are needed for the haul. It's a line of repeated horseshoe curves, with two long trestles, and a 3,896-foot long tunnel that crosses the Continental Divide. It's located in the Big Sky country of Montana, where endless vistas of mountains and cloud-filled skies create a scenic backdrop for trains of 100-plus cars. It's a place where two railroads juggle nonstop traffic over 29 miles of partially single-tracked mountain rails. Welcome to Mullan Pass!
Burlington Northern and Montana Rail Link shared the line when Video Rails captured the excitement on this legendary Pass in 1990. Starting at Helena Junction, we see BN and MRL trains depart for the steep climb to the summit. Every westbound train needs helpers and MRL's heaviest power is assigned to its helper pool. SD40-2s and SD45s make up the bulk of the power seen here. 15,000-ton coal trains with 45,000 HP grind their way up the 2.2 percent grade, past Iron Ridge, Greenhorn Trestle, and Skyline Trestle to Mullan Tunnel, Blossburg Siding, and Elliston. Huge clouds of diesel exhaust billow out of the tunnel, making it easy to see why it's called the "Black Fog of Blossburg."
A special treat is a cab ride across the Pass in the lead helper engine of BN Train 195, a daily mixed freight. Whether you're viewing the line from the crews' perspective, from trackside, or through vast panorama views, railroading on Mullan Pass is an awesome experience you'll want to enjoy again and again!
DVD Special Feature:
* Chapter Menus provides instant access to program segments.
1 Hour In Color with Stereo Sound and Narration Full-screen (4x3) Format No region code; can be played in any NTSC DVD player worldwide Packaged in Sturdy Vinyl Clamshell Case ISBN: 1-56342-226-3 UPC: 7-48268-00509-1 Produced by Video Rails 1998. Released on DVD by Pentrex 2007
Nikhil Murthy (Washington) on 2016-01-30 09:25:24.
5 of 5
This program features Montana Rail Link's operation over Mullan Pass from Helena to Elliston. After that, there is a cab ride over this same stretch of trackage. The highlight of the program is at Mullan Tunnel where so much diesel exhaust is blown out of the tunnel. That's why the tunnel is called "The Black Fog of Blossburg." One of the more interesting helper operations that I believe only Montana Rail Link does is that they put 2 sets of mid-train helpers in 2 locations in the middle of the train instead of one location and possibly rear helpers. As a result, there are some trains that comprise at least 10 locomotives. I don't know if MRL continues this policy today, especially since they have new motive power compared to what was shot in this program since this was filmed in the 1990s.
Additional remarks by Nikhil Murthy: Narration:Just enough. Would kids enjoy this?Yes. Image quality:Excellent! DVD Value:Excellent Value! Recommend to others?Definitely.
Probably Video Rails second best production. Montana is naturally a highly scenic area and with freight passing through it's even better. This DVD has ground shots followed by a cab ride over the same territory. Slightly dated with older power in the lead. Nice chapter on cut-ins of helper units on a long coal drag. Mullan Pass is a short section of mountain railroading thus this DVD is under an hour.
Additional remarks by Trackside: Narration:Just enough. Would kids enjoy this?Yes. Image quality:Excellent! DVD Value:Good Value Recommend to others?Definitely.
This video of Mullan Pass definitely exceeded my expectations. Superb writing, excellent narration, and great camera angles combine to make this video one of the best that I think that Video Rails produced. Highlights include Greenhorn Trestle, Skyline Trestle, and Blossburg Tunnel, home of the "Black Fog of Blossburg." Also included is the superb intro characteristic of Video Rails and informative graphics. An added bonus is a cab ride of a Burlington Northern train over the pass. I have enjoyed this DVD many times. I think that you will enjoy it too.
Additional remarks by VideoRailsFan: Narration:Just enough. Would kids enjoy this?Yes. Image quality:Good. DVD Value:Good Value Recommend to others?Definitely.
This video was a great tour of Mullan Pass. Until I saw this program I was not familiar with Mullan Pass at all. Based on what I saw in the DVD I can understand why railfans are drawn to the area. Mullan Pass has everything you could ask for in mountain railroading: steep grades, long freights, helper engines and great scenery. Plus the length of the DVD, 60 minutes, is ideal for busy people. It is not the longest train video, but you won't feel cheated by this show!