Sherman Stebbins Collection


image 1. Trailer 303 often ran with Doodlebug Number 114 into Whittier from Anchorage.
image 2. Military buddies on open platform observation car. This is not the Seward which had an offset door to the left side looking at the end of the car.
image 3. Consolidation #501 at the head of a military supply train in Whittier cir 1943. This is very early before any of the infrastructure was built along the water front. The boats were bound for interior rivers to serve locations like Galena, Tanana, Fort Yukon etc.
image 4. Consolidation #502 is another old timer. The 500s were originally in the 400 class and then renumbered. The crew is unidentified.
image 5. Great detail shot of Mogul 2-6-0 Number 620, one of the Panama Moguls. Notice the corners of the plow are cut out to allow use of poling pockets.
image 6. Small Whitcomb diesel 2026 from the Quarter Master Corps, United States Army aboard old Panama flat car ARR 212?. This is a Whittier scene and I believe the locomotive ended up at Wainwright Field at Fairbanks.
image 7. This is the Alaska Railroad Anchorage Chamber of Commerce train in the February 1949 Fur Rendezvous on 5th Avenue in Anchorage, Alaska. The train had been put together for the dedication of the ARORA Passenger Service in October of 1948 at the Anchorage Depot with the refurbished Davenport #6 aka #1 and gave rides on Alaska Day in front of the Depot. It was such a success that they laid temporary track down 5th Avenue for the Rondy Celebration in February and put the little train to work. Every school kid in Anchorage got a free ride and the regular fare was .10 for kids. - Pat Durand
image 8. See description #7.
image 9. Seward
image 10. Fish-belly flat ARR 12812 most likely being loaded in Whittier. The photo is after October 1958 the build date of the flat car. I suggest it is during the Whittier cleanup after the military left and turned the property over to the Alaska Railroad. There were over one hundred old travel trailers and house trailers abandoned in Whittier. They were brought in in the early 50's to house civilian and military families during construction of the Hodge Building and other facilities.

11. Back of picture says,"Train Depot on Nenana River, Healy, Alaska September 19,1923". Nice row of old drop end gondolas. To the bottom right there's a neat car that looks like maybe a portable stem driven saw mill. There's a man and a woman in the picture by the outhouses behind the center building. - Sherman Stebbins

This very early view of the Healy Section House and coaling facility begs comparison to present day views. This was the last level piece of ground for development of a yard before the tracks entered Nenana Canyon upriver to the right. The wild braided nature of the river juncture here is evident. What cannot be seen is any track going up the river bottom and a river crossing to get to the Suntrana Coal seams open to view up the river on the left. - Pat Durand

image 12. This is an unusual arrangement for a Russel Snow plow being pushed by a string of equipment. Much more likely it is being towed at the rear of the mixed train to a new location RR South of Willow. Note there is no coupler on the front of the Russel Plow. 1940s
image 13. Alaska Railroad Pacific 4-6-0 #901 in the summer of 1943 at the Seward engine house. Note the Vestibule Cab and the the poling pole and tow cable on the side of the tender frame. The hostlers job here was to keep the locomotives warm and ready for any call to duty.
image 14. No number can be read on the smoke box plate of this Panama Mogul from the 200 class. She is being kept in steam here in the cinder littered ready track at the Seward Engine house. Seward Roundhouse Summer '43
image 15. Pacific ARR 901 has been turned on the wye and stands ready at the Seward engine house along side the unnumbered Mogul. There was no turn table at Seward. In fact the only turntable on the Alaska Railroad was located in Anchorage. Turning trains and locomotives at other locations was done on a wye which was much less challenging to maintain in the winter. 1943
image 16. The Seward Engine House in 1943 shows a rough and tumble operation. The tank car on the right may be in for some wheel work. Looks like an old axle set at the right. The photographer was being photographed as well.
image 17. Locomotive Steam Crane Number 6 was equipped with a clam shell bucket and provided multiple services at Seward. Including cleaning out the ash pit that can be seen in the photo foreground. This machine was probably kept in steam most of the time as it would also be needed to fill the coal bunkers on all the steam engines as there was no coaling tower in Seward.
image 18. The heaviest locomotive in service on the Seward division in steam days, was Mountain 4-8-2 ARR Number 802 seen here simmering in front of the Seward Engine house. As of this photo date she no longer was equipped with a trailing truck booster. 1943
image 19. The loco is one of the 200 class Panama Moguls but I have no idea what number. I can tell you this is not Whittier but rather Seward. The view is looking due East across Resurrection Bay from about where the Sea Life Center is located in Seward today. Time frame could be any where from 1919 through the 1946 when the last 200 class locomotive was retired. An example would be #224 with a slope back tender that was retired in 1946. - Pat Durand
image 20.The three wheeled Velocipede was powered by the handle bars and pedals on the crank rod connected to the crank pin on the rear wheel. Sort of a rowing machine adapted to power the hand car. With the extra seat behind the rider there is probably another set of foot pegs on the crank rod. In some cases there was a seat on each end so two people could ride and pedal and work the hand bar. With two sets of handles you could call this a two speed velocipede with High and Low gear. We have a double ender of very similar design at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry. They were normally painted yellow or red for visibility.
image 21. The Willow Station and Depot cir 1940-45 is typical of the many water stops and fueling operations along the Alaska Railroad at that time. There were coal bunkers with chutes in Anchorage, Healy, and Fairbanks. All other locations depended on the stiff leg cranes and track side open bunkers to do the job. The boiler house seen here provided central steam heat and electrical power. This was augmented with coal stoves. Back up electrical power was commonly supplied by a single cylinder Witte generator set and batteries.
image 22. I imagine this mill would have been the first structure built in Seward when the A.C.R.R. (Alaska Central Railroad) started 1903-1904? No date on the photo but I imagine a mill this massive must have been built at the earliest start of construction. On the left side of the photo you can see a flat car on tracks ready to be loaded from the dock.

Special thanks goes to the Sherman Stebbins for providing these images!
Thanks also to Pat Durand for the extended commentaries.

Page created 3/26/11 and last updated 2/20/15
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