I just crossed the tracks around 11:30 this morning (Thursday) and noticed that our eastbound Empire Builder was in the station and ON TIME for it’s 11:42 departure to Havre and all points east all the way to Chicago…my friend Jeff Karst calls it “Shy Town”. How fortunate we all are to live here in the Golden Triangle on the Hi Line and have the advantage of being on the main line for “The Builder” (as rail enthusiasts say) and AMTRAK. I’ve said before that we all need to use and support this service because it is virtually a “life line” for folks up and down the Hi Line. If you’re a train buff like me (my last name rhymes with “buff”), you might be interested in joining the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. I’ve been a member a few months myself and I am thoroughly enjoying reading up on the ol’ Great Northern along with the magazine they send me, “The Goat”. “The Goat” is more than cool and is a beautiful presentation. I received some material from the society this month and was fascinated reading about the Western Star back in the early 50′s. I never knew it before, but around 1951, there was Great Northern passenger service to and from Sunburst, Great Falls and I even believe Conrad. Plus, Shelby connected to Great Falls and on down to Helena & Butte with service all the way over to the eastern part of the state. The Western Star was a great passenger train and was a nice cousin of “The Builder”. It came about when the old “Orient” train was discontinued. In reading about the Western Star, I found it amazing about the mail car, the postal workers on board the train in the car and realized what a blow it was to the railroad and our communities when the government didn’t renew or keep up the government mail contract. The “old days” were far different than the world today and I’m not so sure we are all that much better off in many ways. I know a lot of you would enjoy the Great Northern Railway Historical Society. The dues, in my opinion, are minimal and more than worth it. If you’re interested, I suggest you contact my friend (and a cool rail Great Northern Railway fan), Bruce Goeser out in Wisconsin at: firstname.lastname@example.org. He can get you hooked up (railway term) and receiving your benefits including “The Goat” magazine in no time. Here’s saying “welcome aboard the Great Northern Railway Historical Society.