The road began as a railroad grade for the Montana Central. In 1887, the Northern Pacific and Montana Central railroads raced to complete branch lines to the Drumlummon Mine and Marysville up the narrow canyon. The Northern Pacific’s line ran along one side of Silver Creek while the Montana Central ran on the other side, in the valley. The Northern Pacific won the race and successfully blocked the Montana Central from entering Marysville by refusing to grant it access through its trestle. The Northern Pacific’s route was indeed a remarkable feat of engineering. The tracks clung to the mountainsides, crossing deep gulches, all the while climbing, climbing, until it reached the famous mining camp. The final trestle made an eighteen degree curve into town, swinging the train dramatically over the gulch.
|The Northern Pacific Railroad's trestle just outside of Marysville|
Image via Legends of America
P.S. A shout-out to Mark Huffstetler, who's working on a book about Montana's historic railroad depots. You can follow him at Daily Montana.
P.P.S. Helena As She Was has more photos of the Northern Pacific depot and line to Marysville. Scroll down about 3/4 of the way to see them.