Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Electric Train Approaches Butte Hill Yard, 1961
March 12, 2021
The Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway was built in 1892 with the specific aim of carrying ore from Butte to the smelter in Anaconda, where it would be processed. But it did more than that - the BA&P also took passengers and freight between the two cities.
It was also a pioneer of electric railroads, with electric locomotives having been constructed just for the line by General Electric. It was ahead of its time, running the electric train until the advent of diesel-electrics made that a cheaper option.
This picture was taken in 1961, six years before the diesel-electric change was made.
Following the closure of the Anaconda smelters on Sept. 29, 1980, still known to many who remember it as "Black Monday," the BA&P would eventually be sold and rechristened Rarus Railways, which would establish a freight connection with Burlington Northern Santa Fe until finally reverting back to its earlier name. Today, it is once again known as the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway, though it no longer shuttles ore back and forth.
The BA&P is also part of film history, being prominently featured in Runaway Train, the train-thriller and crime classic starring Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, and Rebecca Demornay.