June 24, 2024

In North Dakota’s Bakken Oil Field, The Smell of Diesel, the Sound of Trucks

WILLISTON, ND — Past midnight at the station platform in Spokane, 850 miles east of this riotous Great Plains city riding the lashing tail of an oil drilling dragon, the roustabouts and heavy equipment operators kiss wives and girlfriends, then reluctantly board Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Twenty-one day shifts, 14 hours a day, in wind-whipped cold and in a perilous work zone that can maim or kill has a way of quelling enthusiasm — even when …

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