The Great Northern Railroad

Kremlin Montana's History Begins

The Great Northern Railroad was built by James J. Hill from Havre west to Cut Bank across the northern part of Choteau County Montana during the winter of 1890-1891.

The town of Kremlin and other small towns along The Hi-Line, the railroad's northern route across Montana, had their earliest beginnings with this event.

A record of much of the Great Northern Railway's history in Kremlin is reconstructed here from the "Applications For Expenditures" (AFE) files in the Great Northern Railway Historical Society (GNRHS) and Northern Pacific Railway Historical Association (NPRHA) Joint Archives available online. The AFE files were project files for all purchases, construction or removal of facilities or equipment from the Great Northern property.

(Where original prices for the projects were listed, we have used a Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index Calculator online to also show the prices in 2010 dollars for comparison. The CPI table begins at 1913, so the 1910 price difference would be a bit higher)

  • 1901 - Construct section house, section facilities
  • 1901 - Well, water facilities
  • 1902 - Main Line Track: Place split switch in crossover, remove stub switch
  • 1910 - Install mail crane, $22 ($502.73+ in 2011 dollars)
  • 1910 - Install portable stock chute and grade along industry track, $33
    ($754.10+ in 2011 dollars)
  • 1912 - Extend passing track, construct 1000 ft industry track
  • 1913 - Construct passenger and freight depot, 30 x 48, with gravel
    and frame platform
  • 1913 - Construct public road crossing 2 miles west, $48
    ($1,096.87+ in 2011 dollars)
  • 1913 - Place two new public crossings to accommodate public highways
    laid out by Hill County, close temporary crossing.
  • 1914 - Move private crossing to 3/4 miles west, $7 ($159.96+ in 2011 dollars)
  • 1914 - Move mail crane to a point near the depot, $7 ($159.96+ in 2011 dollars)
  • 1925 - Construct passing track at station, $6130 ($140,079.79+ in 2011 dollars)
  • 1944 - Rehabilitate section facilities and place on concrete foundation
    with storm sash on section house
  • 1945 - Install two indicators to replace push button type, semaphore, $105
    ($2,399.41+ in 2011 dollars)


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