The Grandview

In 1999 the Alaska Railroad purchased the nine car Florida Fun Train at auction for $3.6 million.  This passenger car purchase was the first since 1989 and helped to aleviate the stretched-to-capacity delima the railroad was experiencing.  The cars were refurbished, repainted and dubbed the Grandview.

The Grandview is used to transport cruise ship passengers from Seward (or Whittier) to Anchorage twice a week.  This stretch of rail is among the most scenic in the world and seeing it through a nearly unobstructed panaramic view is an awesome experience passengers will not soon forget.  Passengers have even said the train excursion was better than sailing on the cruise ship.  Well, of course!

The Grandview has four coaches numbers 551, 552, 553 (shown here having a window replaced) and 554.  The interior of these coaches have enormous glass windows which start at thigh level and curve overhead to form the ceiling.  The splashy colorful seats brighten up the ride even on a gloomy day.  When a passenger gets hungry, they can either head for the dining car (number 351) or the snack car (number 352) complete with Tiki Railbar and balcony overlooking a palm tree.  Passengers can also pick up a souviner of their trip at the onboard gift shop.  Diner 451 has numerous tables, stools overlooking large windows and a kitchen.  The Florida motif in the snack and dining cars may look a little out of place.  However, the railroad will run them as-is until the interior is well worn and then redecorate with something more Alaskan.

An SD70MAC is used to pull the train while a head end power (HEP) unit (number 1503 on my ride) provides electrical power for the cars.  I couldn't resist a photo of the Grandview from the back of the train and a second one from the cab of the locomotive.

Currently, the Fun Train's theater and arcade cars are being stripped and rebuilt as dining cars.  A conference car, undelivered before the company went bankrupt, has been rebuilt and shipped to Alaska.  Dubbed the Alaska #2000, it will be used as a conference car available to rent for business meetings and other gatherings.