oil trains in Wild Places
Calling East Glacier, Montana 'home' means living next to one of the wildest ecosystems in the country. Also running through East Glacier is a major railroad. Everyday, a Bakken oil train crosses Montana’s Hi-Line en route to the pacific coast from the oil fields in North Dakota.
Before reaching it’s destination in the Puget Sound area, the trains must pull the volatile oil across the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and Glacier National Park.
After the trains leave Glacier Park, they snake their way along the Middle Fork Flathead River – a wild and scenic river corridor and the headwaters to the Columbia River. Even as crude prices fall and demand for oil seems to be on the slight decline, the Puget Sound region is bracing for a million gallons of Bakken crude per week – which has to come though Montana.
The safety Risks are real.
I captured these photographs below of Bakken oil trains approaching, and crossing Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The threat of a catastrophic accident is real - even though much has been done over the past year or so to improve rail safety. No one disputes that not enough has been done, to ensure complete safety. There’s a shortage of rail safety workers according to one report, and another claims rail safety is lacking in Montana.