For many in Kalispell, Montana, the train that rumbles through town once or twice a week is nothing more than a brief annoyance. Something that ties up downtown for a few minutes and briefly prevents everyone from getting to their final destination.
For me, it’s been the subject of a photography project that I started earlier this year. For decades, local leaders have been looking at ways to redevelop Kalispell’s underused industrial core. With the completion of the Glacier Rail Park just east of town, Kalispell will now be able to rip up 2 miles of railroad through downtown and replace it with a walking trail, green space and commercial and residential developments. It’s really a win-win for the railroad and the town; the former gets a new rail facility and the latter gets to develop some prime real estate.
Knowing it wouldn’t be long before the rails were ripped up, I started photographing every aspect of the railroad through downtown Kalispell this spring. I spent a day with the train crew as they switched cars. I climbed all over the old grain elevator. And I hung out with the folks who unload freight cars full of drywall.
While this project is far from over, I’m excited to present a selection of some of what I’ve shot this year. I hope you enjoy this brief look at a little piece of Kalispell that will soon be gone.