MRL receives green light for BNSF lease termination

The US Surface Transportation Board (STB) has approved Montana Rail Link’s petition to conclude its long-term lease with BNSF. MRL announced an agreement in early 2022 for BNSF to resume operations of its mainline rail corridor through southern Montana.

Since 1987, MRL has leased and operated BNSF track between Huntley, Montana and Sandpoint, Idaho, with a deep commitment to service. That track has become a critical link in our northern transcontinental network. Integrating it back into BNSF operations means freight won’t need to be interchanged between two railroads. This will strengthen the supply chain and enhance rail capacity in the Pacific Northwest, benefitting customers who ship agricultural, consumer and industrial products along the route. Montanans will continue to have consistent, reliable rail access to global markets.

In a statement, BNSF said: “We expect to complete the process with a smooth transition for our customers by the end of this year. All MRL employees will keep their positions and join the BNSF team. We welcome our new team members, and we look forward to what the future brings for our railroad and our customers who move freight in and through Montana.”

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