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  • Montana Rail Link is a privately held Class II railroad in the United States. MRL, which operates on trackage originally built by the Northern Pacific Railway, is a unit of the Washington Companies, and is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. The railroad runs between Huntley, Montana and Spokane, Washington, largely within Montana, and the main line passes through the towns of Missoula, Livingston, Bozeman, Billings, and Helena. Montana Rail Link connects with the BNSF on both ends and also in Garrison, Montana. The railroad has over 900 miles of track, serves 100 stations, and employs approximately 1,000 personnel. The main yard is in Laurel, Montana, with smaller yards located in Missoula, Billings, and Helena. Montana Rail Link's present status and main line date back to 1987, when MRL under Missoula businessman Dennis Washington agreed to lease Burlington Northern's southern Montana main line between Sandpoint, Idaho and Huntley, Montana, near Billings. This spin-off was controversial as it happened during contract negotiations between Burlington Northern and the United Transportation Union. MRL workers are represented by various unions.

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