After the initial announcement on Monday that Montana Rail Link was ending its long-term lease with BNSF Railway Company, spokesperson Jon Bennion reached out with more detailed information to clarify the story.

According to the press release, BNSF will resume operations on its mainline corridor through the southern part of the state once the necessary approvals have been received.

Over 90 percent of the loads on Montana Rail Link’s leased lines were moved on behalf of BNSF.

One very important part of Tuesday’s press release states that ‘BNSF has committed to retain all union and non-union employees of MRL in their current jobs with similar pay, benefits, seniority and other terms of employment. The lease termination will require the negotiating of collective bargaining agreements with the affected unions.’

In addition, ‘MRL must first obtain authority from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to terminate the lease before the lease concludes’.

Katie Farmer, President and CEO of BNSF stated that she was ‘excited to bring an important part of our railroad’s history back to our operations at BNSF’, and that ‘the line will become the MRL Subdivision of our Montana Division in recognition of the shared heritage of BNSF and MRL’.

Montana Rail Link was founded in 1987 by industrialist and Missoula businessman Dennis Washington. MRL operated the tracks between Huntley, Montana and Sandpoint, Idaho and employs over 1,200 railroad industry professionals.

BNSF operates nearly 32,000 miles of track in 28 states and in Canada.

Find out more about BNSF by visiting their website here.


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