2008 ARR Railfan Trip


Finally, after months with railroad lawyers, insurance folks, several conference calls with the operating folks, a few reschedulings (we added a 4th day to make sure the trip would cover the line at least one way in daylight), and all sorts of fun with hotels and meals, we have a scheduled Alaska 2008 charter covering the entire Alaska Railroad! Please note that this will be the first railfan-type charter train to cover the entire railroad so come on out and enjoy, and please pass the word on. I plan to limit the trip to about 150 total passengers.

The registration sheet is below and this and more information will be on the SARM website by Christmas.Thanks for waiting.

Bart Jennings
Southern Appalachia Railway Museum


ALASKA 2008!
September 15-18, 2008
Sponsored by the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum


The Southern Appalachia Railway Museum announces a special private passenger train over the entire Alaska Railroad during the end of the fall colors and the beginning of the winter season. This four-day charter will cover the entire Alaska Railroad, including lines that regular Alaska Railroad passenger trains do not operate on. This includes the Eielson and Fairbanks Airport Branches near Fairbanks, the Suntrana Branch at Healy, the Palmer Branch, the Anchorage Airport Lead, the entire Whittier line, and the dock line at Seward, as well as the entire mainline.

If you have always wanted to go to Alaska and ride the trains but have been waiting for a chance to ride the entire railroad, here is your chance. SARM has chartered our own passenger train, a train that will include plenty of coach and dome seating. We will also have our own dining car serving from the regular menu as well as a lounge car for snacks. By having our own train, we will have the ability to set our own schedule and make numerous stops for photo runbys and to tour various AKRR facilities and several museums. Please note that vestibule riding is permitted and the domes are general seating, so be prepared for numerous photo opportunities.

Our train will start in Fairbanks, spending the first day on area branch lines. Day 2 will feature a trip down the mainline, out the Suntrana Branch, through the famous Nenana River gorge and Denali National Park, and on to Talkeetna. Talkeetna is said to be the inspiration for the TV show "Northern Exposure" and is a joy to explore. Talkeetna overlooks Mount McKinley, known by many as Denali, and is the base of most attempts to climb North America's tallest mountain. Our hotel features magnificent views of the mountain.

Day 3 features a mainline trip on to Anchorage as well as a trip out the Palmer Branch and the Anchorage airport line. Day 4 covers all of the lines south of Anchorage, including trackage not normally covered by regular passenger service in Seward and Whittier. A more detailed schedule is included below.

The Southern Appalachia Railway Museum is based in the Knoxville-Oak Ridge, Tennessee, area and operates the Secret City Scenic Excursion Train through the former K-25 Manhattan Project facility. Each year, SARM operates several rare mileage and photo freight trains around the United States. Check out our website at www.southernappalachia.railway.museum for information on our organization and on our many other nationwide events.

Tour Schedule: The charter train tour is designed to use the full 12 hours of daylight each day as well as the full legal time of our train crew(s). The preliminary schedule below is for planning purposes only and may be modified based upon actual operating conditions.

Day 0 - Sunday - September 14, 2008
Arrival in Fairbanks on your own. You are responsible for making your own hotel reservation and paying for the room in Fairbanks. A list of hotels with shuttle service to the train station will be provided.

Day 1 - Monday - September 15, 2008
0900 Depart Fairbanks Depot
1130 Arrive Eielson AFB, turn on wye
1345 Arrive Fairbanks Airport Branch at G 6.0
1530 Return to Milepost G 6.0
1630 Arrive Fairbanks Depot
1900 Around loop, stop at old depot, tour of yard, return to current Fairbanks Depot

Lunch in the dining car from the regular menu is included in the tour.

Breakfast and dinner will be available in the dining car at an extra expense.

You are responsible for making your own hotel reservation and paying for the room in Fairbanks. A list of hotels with shuttle service to the train station will be provided.

Day 2 - Tuesday - September 16, 2008
0900 Depart Fairbanks Depot
1115 Depart Nenana Depot after photos, tour of railroad museum
1315 Healy, Suntrana Branch
1430 Denali
1730 Hurricane Bridge
2030 Arrive Talkeetna

Lunch in the dining car from the regular menu is included in the tour.

Breakfast and dinner will be available in the dining car at an extra expense.

Lodging at Talkeetna is included in the tour price. Single supplement rooms are available for an extra $85.

Day 3 - Wednesday - September 17, 2008
0900 Depart Talkeetna
1130 Palmer Junction/Matanuska
1230 Palmer Depot
1330 Palmer Junction/Matanuska
1500 Anchorage
1545 Anchorage International Airport
1800 Arrive Anchorage

Breakfast at the hotel is included in the tour. Lunch in the dining car from the regular menu is also included. Dinner will be available in the dining car at an extra expense. You are responsible for making your own hotel reservation and paying for the room in Anchorage. A list of hotels with shuttle service to the train station will be provided.

Day 4 - Thursday - September 18, 2008
0815 Depart Anchorage
1015 Arrive Portage
1100 Arrive Whittier, tour facilities
1200 Depart Whittier
1230 Arrive Portage
1700 Arrive Seward Depot, wye train to terminal
1800 Depart Seward
2230 Arrive Anchorage, tour ends

Lunch and dinner in the dining car from the regular menu are included in the tour. Breakfast will be available in the dining car at an extra expense. You are responsible for making your own hotel reservation and paying for the room in Anchorage. A list of hotels with shuttle service to the train station will be provided. ON-BOARD SERVICES AND HOTELS: Lunch in the dining car is included each day on the train. Dinner is also included on Day 4. Additionally, snacks, drinks and souvenirs will be available for sale on the train. To ensure adequate space on the cars, passengers are encouraged to carry only small bags on the train. Large bags can be checked at Fairbanks and picked up at Anchorage.

Bags brought onto the train must fit in luggage racks, overhead or under seats to keep the aisles clear. Except for Talkeetna, the hotel and transportation is not included in the tour price. A list of hotels at Anchorage and Fairbanks will be provided with your other tour booking information.

OUR TOUR CONCEPTS: SARM has for many years been operating rare mileage passenger charters for the adventuresome rail enthusiast. We specialize in running rare mileage train trips that feature the opportunity to ride rail lines that normally don‚t have passenger service. SARM also operates a number of special trips with the rail photographer in mind, including numerous photo freights. Alaska 2008 is designed to provide both: a chance to ride the entire Alaska Railroad while making numerous stops for photographs.

Prospective passengers should understand that these trips are not intended to be luxury vacations. While we have contracted for good equipment such as dome and dining cars, the passenger will not be offered the luxury of at-seat service or mile-by-mile narrations. Instead, we plan to offer the unique experience of a private train where you can move around (we generally plan for two seats per passenger), dine at your convenience, and enjoy the scenery only available from the tracks of the Alaska Railroad.

Additionally, each passenger will be responsible for getting to and from Alaska as well as making their own reservations for hotels in Fairbanks and Anchorage. We do this because many people have airline and hotel partnerships that they wish to use and different meal and room standards. Therefore, you get to choose most of your lodging, meals and travel arrangements and save money by not having us make the arrangements. Also, we realize that many people will want to arrive in Alaska early or stay late for a longer vacation. Please note that we will provide a list of recommended hotels in Anchorage and Fairbanks as well as some vacation ideas for those looking for more activities.


EQUIPMENT: All of the equipment used on the trip will be supplied by the Alaska Railroad. The train will consist of various types of passenger equipment, including coaches, domes, and dining cars. The equipment has been restored and upgraded for modern use but may not be fully accessible for all passengers. Steps and narrow aisles may make it difficult for some people.

Because of the cars‚ historical design, passengers needing special assistance are asked to make arrangements on their own for physical help.

PHOTO STOPS: We are planning approximately five photo stops each day of the tour. Stops will include a number of scenic and historic locations. These stops will often be made in areas without boarding facilities such as platforms. Only those physically capable of getting on and off the train without assistance will be allowed off at these locations. Additional stops for photos will also be made at several locations where platforms are available for those who require them. Anyone getting off the train at these locations will be expected to comply with both tour and railroad officials to allow everyone to get their pictures in a safe manner.

TOUR GUIDES: Bart and Sarah Jennings, the regular SARM rare mileage charter trip guides, will be working as volunteer hosts on the Alaska 2008 charter. Bart and Sarah have worked as volunteers on similar trips for almost twenty years. Both will be working with the railroad staff to make sure everything goes smoothly.

FURTHER INFORMATION: This train is operated for the education, entertainment and enjoyment of the passengers and as a fundraising activity for SARM. It will run rain, snow or shine. The train is not a part of the regular operations of the railroad involved, therefore, the Alaska Railroad cannot be held responsible for delays or changes in the equipment or itinerary. The operators cannot be held responsible for problems associated with connecting transportation, lodging, sickness, weather, acts of war, acts of God, or other causes beyond our control. The same holds true for the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum and any other non profit or for-profit organization assisting with these trips. Tickets cannot be canceled after July 31, 2008 (45 days before the event). Reservations canceled before that date will have a $100 cancellation fee. A full refund by check will be made if for some reason SARM is forced to cancel the trip. Remember, this is a volunteer operated fund-raising event, please assist us as you can. Please contact the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum with any questions that you might have. E-mail is preferred at: b.jennings@mchsi.com. If you want to send a written question, send it to SARM Alaska 2008, P.O. Box 6756, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope with any correspondence.

TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets are available only through the Southern Appalachia Railway Museum at SARM Alaska 2008, P.O. Box 6756, Oak Ridge, TN 37831. Do not contact the Alaska Railroad for any information about this trip as it is not part of their regular passenger operations. Please note that tickets are very limited.

A down payment of $800 per person is required to make a reservation for the tour. Final payment must be made by June 30, 2008. You can save $50 per person by making full payment with your original reservation before March 30, 2008. Payment is only accepted via check or money order. Note that the tour price includes the hotel at Talkeetna based upon double occupancy. Participants wishing to room with someone else should indicate that in the comments/roommate section of the order form. If no name is provided, roommates will be assigned by the tour. Please note that a single room is available at Talkeetna for an extra charge of $85.

Down Payment Number of tickets __________ @ $800 = ___________________

Final Payment Number of tickets __________ @ $1099 = ___________________ (Due June 30, 2008)

Save $50! Number of tickets __________ @ $1849 = ___________________ (Pay in full by March 30, 2008)

Single room supplement @ $85 = ___________________

Total Enclosed = ___________________

Name(s) __________________________________________________________________________________________________

Address __________________________________________________________________________________________________

E-mail _________________________________________________

Phone _________________________________________________