Pullman car service will be inaugurated on the Alaska Railroad early in October, R. N. Whitman, ARR general manager, announced today.
Two modern cars are being specially conditioned at Chicago to meet the rigors of Alaskan service between Anchorage and Fairbanks and will be placed in service immediately upon arrival.
The service will mark a new milestone in the development of Interior Alaska, Whitman noted, pointing out that the comfortable accommodations of a Pullman drawing room or compartment are more of an inducement to tourists than the seats of a coach.
He said the Pullman cars will operate on a new night schedule, six days a week throughout the winter. Northbound and southbound trains will operate on alternate days, thus permitting businessmen to leave Anchorage at 8:30 pm, sleep all night and arrive in Fairbanks at 8:30 am.
After a day of business activity in Fairbanks they will be able to return to Anchorage that night, arriving here with no loss in working time.
Summer schedules have not yet been worked out, Whitman said, but he stated the Pullman service will definitely be available to the summer tourist trade.
G. V. Randall, ARR mechanical superintendent, returned this week from Chicago where he had conferred with the Pullman Company on the special fittings and decorating of the new cars.
He said the sleepers will consist of six compartments and three drawing rooms each. The drawing rooms will contain two lounge seats and a davenport in the daytime, converting to three berths at night, and will have private washing and toilet facilities, a separate wardroom and liberal storage space.
The compartments will consist of two lounger seats which convert into an upper and lower berth at night, a chair and washing and toilet facilities. Although drawing rooms are designed for three people, a family of two adults and three children can be comfortably accommodated, Randall said.
Special heavy-wrap insulation is being applied to all external piping, Randall said, and all the windows will be therompane-type double glass with formica sills. All curtains will be completely lightproof to provide darkness even during the summer months.
Air conditioning in both cars will be ice-activated, with each car carrying two tons of ice for this purpose. Special heating systems will insure warmth in the winter, Randall said.
Experienced Pullman porters will be hired to provide the same type of service as on Stateside lines, and the regular ARR lounger car will be a part of each train.
Although the Pullman service is untried on the ARR, Whitman said great interest has been shown by the public and it is expected that the night trains will offset in part large losses suffered in winter passenger service in the past. He added that any savings will be eventually reflected in the freight rates.