ARR RAILFANS REVEL
IN NEWS ARCHIVES
Alaska Railroad railfans always have been an enthusiast bunch and to
help quench their thirst, an archive of news articles were added to
John's Alaska Railroad web site recently. Readers will find such
lively entries as the delivery of the new 1500 horsepower locomotives
in "Headed for Alaska" or the devastating
and horrific inferno story, "Fire Razes Historic
Hotel at Curry" or gaining insights into daily operations and yard
safety in "Rotating Beacons for Locomotives".
Check out management's "Free Train Ride
for Berry Pickers" policy or the heart warming tale "Stork
Pays a Second Visit". For thrills and spills, read "Engine
Removed from Wreck", "Railroad
Cars Lie Scattered on the Track", We
Were Saved By Accident, Fiery Train-truck
Washed Out Roadbed Blamed for Wreck and "Train
Spills Jet Fuel. Watch millions of dollars being spent at
the speed of a photon in "Tunnel Ready
to Go" and "New Locomotives Put Railroad
on Fast Track". Read about corruption and swindling in the
1911 document Alaska Central --- Alaska Northern
Railway or the 1912 article about Canal
Builder on the Alaskan Railroad or check out a 1919 construction
report, entitled "Work of
Building Snowshed at Mile 75 is Rapidly Progressing." Miss
Christine M. Ayars wrote and photographed "Side
Trip to Chickaloon Coal Mine." Also check out Pullman
Car Service Planned For Alaska, Important
Alaska Railroad chugs toward end of line, Restored
Cars Make First Run and No one
hurt as 7 ARR cars derail.
COMBS NAMED AS
The ARRC Board of Directors is pleased to announce
the appointment of John Patrick Combs
as the new president and CEO for the Alaska Railroad Corporation.
John, an electrical engineer with no past experience of managing
a railroad, was appointed at the urging of numerous railfans
and several prominent political leaders.
"John Combs has an exceptional record of success
as an unofficial Alaska Railroad webmaster and his business
savvy and dedication to Alaska will be an asset on the state-owned
railroad," Governor Tony Knowles said. "John will be a tremendous
addition to the new management team at the railroad and will
provide it a strong new direction."
Combs is replacing Patrick Gamble who retires
from the railroad Tuesday
EMD USES WINDSHIELD TESTING DEVICE
The Federal Aviation Association use a special
device for testing the strength of windshields on their airplanes.
Test engineers point this device at the wind shield of an aircraft
and shoot a dead chicken at approximately the same speed the
aircraft normally travels. If the windshield doesn't break,
it's likely to survive a real collision with a bird during flight.
General Motors EMD recently built a new locomotive
that theoretically could pull a train faster than any of its
previous models. However, they were unsure if its windshield
was strong enough for an impact with birds. Through a
new intra industry exchange program the Alaska Railroad Corporation
borrowed the testing device from the FAA, reset it to approximate
the maximum speed of the locomotive, loaded in the dead chicken,
and fired. The bird went crashing through the windshield, broke
the engineer's chair, and made a major dent in the back wall
of the engine cab.
GM EMD was quite surprised with this result, so
they asked the FAA to check the test to see if everything was
done correctly. The FAA checked everything and suggested that
EMD might want to repeat the test using a thawed chicken.
MYSTERIOUS PAPER MAN
FOUND IN NEWS ARCHIVES
While digging through mountains of old Alaska
Railroad newspapers, veteran researcher John Combs discovered
a man completely covered in newspaper.
Paramedics were summoned and its was discovered
the papers were actually the man's skin. One paramedic
asked the man various questions to determine if he was injured.
Suddenly, the newspaper man gave a horrified look and fled the
scene when a nearby spectator pulled out a cigarette lighter
to light his cigar.
Please see Great Balls of Fire/15A