Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway

The Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway (reporting mark BAP) is a short line railroad in the U.S. state of Montana which was founded in 1892.[1] It was financed by the interests behind the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and operated primarily to carry copper ore from the mines at Butte, Montana to the smelters at Anaconda, Montana, although the company was chartered as a common carrier and also carried passengers and general freight.

Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway
An electric locomotive owned by the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway.
Reporting markBAP
Dates of operation1892present
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
HeadquartersAnaconda, Montana

Early years

The BA&P was an electrification pioneer, converting in 1913 and being the first primarily freight railroad to electrify. Electrification was at 2,400 volts DC;[2] the work was performed by General Electric and the railroad's own staff. As described in a period article:

The length of this line was 30 miles, having a total of 114 miles of single trackage, and considerable heavy grade. The electric locomotives hauled heavy ore trains and the operating results from every viewpoint far exceeded expectations. Mr. John D. Ryan, principal owner of this road,[...] (says) that "the cost was within the original estimate, the operation has been an unqualified success and the economy at least 50% in excess of the promises of the engineers at the time the work was undertaken. The tonnage handled over the lines increased over 50% in three years ; no difficulty has been found in moving the increase, and in the opinion of the railway managers the main line and two of the principal branches had reached the capacity of single track when electrification came into use."

E.W. Rice Jr.[2]

The electrification was abandoned in 1967 as it had become cheaper to operate diesel-electric locomotives.

Many resources of the railway were included in the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway Historic District, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988.

Business sold

The railroad as a whole lost much of its business following the closure of the Anaconda smelters, and in 1985 was sold to a consortium of local investors and reconstituted as the Rarus Railway (reporting mark RARW).

Film credit

In 1985, The B.A.&P. became the backdrop of a full-length feature film called Runaway Train. The film was directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, & stars Jon Voight, who was nominated for an Academy Award & won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Eric Roberts, who was nominated for an Academy Award & Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, Rebecca DeMornay, John P. Ryan, Kyle T. Heffner, Kenneth McMillan & Edward Bunker who also co-wrote the script. It was filmed on the B.A.&P. Railway & at the Roundhouse at Anaconda in March 1985. The film was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture - Drama.

Name change

On July 19, 2007, Patriot Rail Corporation, the parent company which acquired Rarus Railway in May 2007, announced that the railway's name was officially changed back to Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway.[3]


  1. American Railway Association (1922), p. 901.
  2. Rice Jr. (1917).
  3. "Rarus Railway Brings Rail History to Life, Changes Name to Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway Company" (Press release). Patriot Rail Corporation. 2007-07-19. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-19.


  • American Railway Association, (Division V - Mechanical) (1922). Wright, Roy V.; Winter, Charles (eds.). Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice (6th ed.). New York, NY: Simmons-Boardman Publishing. OCLC 6201422.
  • Mutschler, Charles V. (2002). Wired for Success: The Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Railway, 1892-1985. Pullman, Washington: Washington State University Press. ISBN 978-0874222524. OCLC 49679616.
  • Rice Jr., E.W. (1917). "On the High Speed Electric Railway". Journal of the Illuminating Engineering Institute of Japan. Illuminating Engineering Institute of Japan. 1 (4): 437–444. doi:10.2150/jieij1917.1.437. ISSN 0019-2341. Retrieved 25 October 2015.
  • Rogers, Gordon W. (July 1963). "Where Electrification First Made Good - Butte, Anaconda & Pacific, laboratory under catenary". Trains: 16–28.

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