Just after 5 p.m. on Dec. 27, a long freight train rolled across U.S. Highway 93, briefly tangling rush-hour traffic in the heart of downtown Kalispell. For most people waiting in their cars, it was a brief inconvenience, one that has unfolded many times over the last century.
But little did the people in their cars know, they were also witnessing history.
On Dec. 27, just four days shy of the 128th anniversary of the Great Northern Railway’s arrival, the Mission Mountain Railroad ran its last freight train out of downtown Kalispell. The final train was the result of years of work to move the railroad out of downtown and redevelop Kalispell’s long-underused industrial core. Officials expect the two miles of track to be ripped up next year to make way for a new trail connecting Woodland Park with Meridian Road.
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