Railfanning to or from Yellowstone?

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Railfanning to or from Yellowstone?

Postby train2 » Tue Mar 17, 2015 3:39 pm

I am in the planning stages of a trip to Yellowstone. My plans are wide open at the moment. While the trip is to see Yellowstone I will stay long enough to see some railroading while in the area. In years past I have spent a lot of time in Montana on the western end of MRL and the BNSF highline all over MT and Idaho. So my question is what else would be good to see?

I have a couple of ideas, fly to Salt Lake and drive up to Yellowstown. I know nothing about any lines in UT or Idaho. What can you tell me would be be a good potential to see?

******Please rate any answers as to scenery, traffic and any other tips you can offer.

The other option is to fly into Jackson Hole, what lines are reasonable to the north, south and west of Jackson?

One other thoughts I had was to take a few days, or half a week and go to the Powder River. Anyone able to give a good estimate of drive time from Yellowstone to Power River territory? My take on the PR is the traffic is intense but the scenery is bland and after a few days it gets old. I have been told this by a number of visitors.

Far distant 3rd idea is to fly to Denver and drive north to Yellowstone. Good or bad idea? Targets along the way?

Thanks,
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Re: Railfanning to or from Yellowstone?

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Mar 17, 2015 9:40 pm

If you fly in to Salt Lake City you will be in UP territory,some of it former DRGW ,You have TRAX Light Rail in Salt Lake City
UP's 2 track main line from Salt Lake to Odgen,along with UTA's Frontrunner commuter service right next to the UP main
Next to Odgen Station(doubles as a visitor center) there's a outdoor rail equipment display ,possibly a Hobby Shop in
the station (the shop was there about 7 years back),
I-15 follows the UP main from Salt Lake all the way to Idaho Falls Id passing thru a Jct at McCammon Id
and a Major Yard At Pocatello Id,at Idaho Falls,a shortline might be using the remaining ROW of UP's
Yellowstone Branch,that use to reach to the National Park(not sure when UP pulled up the rails to the park)

The Powder River coal line is in NE Wy,about 350 miles east of the park to Gillette Wy the northern end of the line,
only state route 59 follows the coal line,the mines would be off limits and track access could be on dirt roads,
not healthy for rental cars,you are passing thru Thunder Basin National Grasslands as well.
village of Bill Wy is a UP yard on BNSF dispatched Orin Sub a 3 track Mainline with a 20 mile streach of 4 track mainline.
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Re: Railfanning to or from Yellowstone?

Postby train2 » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:35 am

Give me some thoughts on the UP line through Idaho" Scenic? Busy? Boring? etc.
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Re: Railfanning to or from Yellowstone?

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Mar 20, 2015 6:43 pm

The UP Montana ends at Silver Bow Mt to an interchange with a shortline(RARW) and BNSF.
At Idaho Falls UP interchanges with Idaho Eastern,uses the remains of the Yellowstone Branch to Ashton Id.
Most of the UP traffic heads west at Pocatello to Nampa Id and Portland Or.

I-15 from Odgen to Idaho Falls is in a river valley,as is US 20 to West Yellowstone Mt,
US 20 east gets you into the National Park in Wy
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