BOCA RATON, Fla. — Patriot Rail Corp., a short line and regional freight railroad holding company, has changed its name to the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway Co.
The name change has historical significance as the Rarus Railway traces its Montana heritage to the historic BA&P Railroad, which was built in the 1890’s. Patriot Rail acquired Rarus Railway in May 2007.
The Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railroad was incorporated in 1892 to serve the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, which was established in 1891 by Marcus Daly, an Irish-born businessman who also founded the town of Anaconda, Montana. From the late 1800’s to the mid-twentieth century, the mine was one of the state’s largest employers and provided well-paid jobs for several generations.
The BA&P railroad operated primarily to transport copper ore from the copper mines in Butte to the smelting operation in Anaconda. The rail line was electrified in 1913, becoming the first U.S. freight railroad to electrify. The railroad carried both freight and passengers until 1955, and in 1967 began using diesel-electric locomotives in place of electric.
In 1985, the BA&P property was transferred to the State of Montana and the railroad was purchased by Rarus that same year. In 2005, Rarus created the Copper King Express excursion passenger train, bringing passenger service back to the BA&P line for the first time in over 50 years.
Today, the new Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway operates over a total of 63 rail miles, with 26 miles of main line track running between Anaconda and Butte, Montana. Freight commodities handled include copper tailings, impacted soils, copper concentrates, beer and slag. BA&P interchanges freight traffic at Silver Bow, Montana, with Class I carriers Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad.
The railroad utilizes 12 locomotives and its major customers include Atlantic Richfield Co., Montana Resources LLP, State of Montana and Thompson Distributing, Inc. BA&P also owns a well-equipped 20-bay locomotive roundhouse, wheel shop and machine shop in Anaconda, Montana.
The Copper King Express excursion train offers tourists a scenic 52-mile round-trip ride in luxury passenger cars through Durant Canyon and many historic points of interest. The train operates June through September and has special event trains, theater trains, museum tours and dinner trains.
Patriot Rail Corp. is a short line and regional freight railroad holding company based in Boca Raton, Florida. The Company currently owns and operates two short line freight railroads comprising 212 total rail miles – the Tennessee Southern Railroad in Tennessee and the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway in Montana.
— Business Wire