Group Wants Stimulus Money for Train Assembly Plant

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – A group of railroad enthusiasts who want to restore a Southern Montana passenger route are pushing for federal stimulus money to be spent on a train assembly plant in Livingston.

Chuck McMillan of Helena is working on the proposal with Warren McGee, a retired railroad conductor from Livingston, Rep. Barry Green of Glendive; and Michael Ackley of Missoula.

“There is a need for this particular type of business to supply America’s railroads,” said McMillan, a former engineer for Northern Pacific and Burlington Northern railroads, as well as for Amtrak. “With this stimulus package right now, it just kind of falls into place.”

McMillan said the proposed Livingston facility would produce railroad passenger coaches, baggage cars, sleepers and diners for Amtrak, commuter railroads and excursion lines in America.

Amtrak, which is expected to receive $1.3 billion from the federal stimulus Jobs Bill, is studying the feasibility of a Southern Montana route. The railroad used to operate the Hiawatha route through Glendive, Livingston, Bozeman and on to Missoula.

Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said in an e-mailed statement that he is pushing for the state to get its share of the Amtrak money in the Jobs Bill.

“Railroads have been an important part of our state’s past, and should be an important part of our future,” he said.

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