This is an electric boxcab engine on display at the Anselmo Mine in the town of Butte, Montana, USA. It is part of the World Museum of Mining collection in Butte. This locomotive was built in December 1914 by General Electric and was used by the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway to head ore trains from the Anselmo Mine in Butte to the town of Anaconda, Montana. Click to enlarge. (James St. John, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)


BAP logo.


The Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway (reporting mark BAP) is a short line railroad in the U.S. state of Montana. The BA&P was founded in 1891 and operated as such until sale in 1985, when it was renamed the Rarus Railway (reporting mark RARW). The railway was again sold in May 2007 to the Patriot Rail Corporation, and the name returned to the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway in July 2007. The railway was the main conduit for ore transport between Butte and Anaconda, and used for filming of portions of the 1985 Golden Globe nominated movie Runaway Train.


Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Boxcab Electrics Nos. 65, 56 and 54, all built by Alco GE in 1913, shown here at

Anaconda, Montana on April 28, 1958. Photo courtesy the Charly's Slide Collection.

(© Mary Jayne's Railroad Specialties, Inc., Fair use, Title 17, Section 107, via W. Lenheim Collection)



An 1890 dispute between the Montana Union Railway and the Anaconda Company arose over the transportation cost copper ore from the Butte, Montana mines to the Anaconda, Montana smelters. Financed by the Marcus Daly, the interest behind the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, the Butte, Anaconda, and Pacific was incorporated in 1891 and opened for operation in just two years later in 1893. While first operated primarily to carry ore from Butte to Anaconda the company was chartered as a common carrier and also carried passengers and general freight.


Headframes of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, looking over the town of Butte, MT. Click to enlarge.

(HAER, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)


Early years

When first opened, the BA&P used steam locomotives to haul the ore, freight, and passenger trains, however the heavy daily use took its tole on the engines, and by 1910 alternative power sources were being sought. The BA&P was an electrification pioneer by converting form steam to electrification between 1912 and 1913. As such it was the first major railroad line to electrify, with 75 mi (121 km) out of 114 mi (183 km) powered. While the standard voltages used at the time were 600 or 1200 volts DC, BA&P electrification was the highest demanded at that time, being 2,400 volts DC. 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.

The BA&P sourced its electrical needs from Great Falls, Montana 125 mi (201 km) to the northeast, and the power was converted from AC to the 2,400 volt DC at several substations along the railway. To replace the aging steam power, an order of seventeen new 80 tons (73 t) electric locomotives was placed with General Electric, with two being passenger locomotives and the remaining fifteen being freight locomotives. The two passenger locomotives were outfitted with double pantographs, dual headlights, and hand been geared for a standard running speed of 45 mph (72 km/h) while pulling three coaches. In contrast the freight locomotives had single headlights and one pantograph each, plus were geared for a standard speed of 35 mph (56 km/h). More locomotives were soon needed and a second order of four locomotives was made with General Electric in 1914. These units were gears lower than the other freight units and intended to be used at slow speeds in the smelter and Butte mine yards. The 1913 GE locomotives were marked as numbers 50 through 66, the 1914 units 46 - 49, the 1916 units 42 - 45.

During the electrified years, an average of eight passenger runs between Butte and Anaconda were made daily, with four runs going each direction. Usually the runs were preformed by locomotives No. 65 or No. 66, which would pull a three car train of two passenger cars and a baggage car. Power was supplied to the cars via a 600 volt cable connected to the locomotives dynamotor. Freight runs were nearly all comprised of ore loads, hauled in 18 tons (16,000 kg) ore cars each of which could carry 50 tons (45 t). Groups of 30 ore cars were assembled at the mines in Butte and brought out to the yard at Rocker where a 60 car train, weighing an average of 4,000 tons (3,600 t) was compiled for transport on the main line to Anaconda. In the West Anaconda yard the train was broken up into 1,400 tons (1,300 t) groups and then taken by a single locomotive to the smelter for unloading.


Rarus Railway 103, a GP7, built in 1953 for the railroad when it was known as the Butte, Anaconda, and Pacific (which it is now known as once again today).

Currently serving as a switcher at Columbia Grain in Rudyard, Montana, 2019. Click to enlarge.

(Matthew Zisi, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)



Electrification was abandoned in 1967.



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

On July 19, 2007, Patriot Rail Corporation, the parent company which had acquired Rarus Railway in May 2007, officially changed the railways name back to Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway.



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.


Film credit

In 1985, The BA&P became the backdrop of full-length feature film Runaway Train. The film, directed by Andrei Konchalovsky, starred 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 BA&P tack and at the Anaconda roundhouse in March 1985. The film was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Picture - Drama.


Electric Locomotive Type 0440-E-160-4GE229-2400V. Built for the Butte, Anaconda & Pacific by the General Electric Company, December 1914.

From the 1922 Locomotive Cyclopedia of American Practice. Click to enlarge.

(General Electric Company, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)



Main region: Montana, USA
Parent company: Patriot Rail Corporation
Headquarters: Anaconda, Montana
Founders: Marcus Daly
Reporting mark: BAP
Dates of operation 1891–present
Track gauge 4 ft 8+1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
No. of tracks 1


See Also:

Railroads A-Z