Walter Strong


image 31. New EMD F7 A and B units lead this train South through the Healy Yard.
image 32. South bound freight out of Healy after 1952. Those tank cars are going south empty to Whittier where Union Oil and the Military POL docks brought in fuel for the Military. It was well into the 1970s before loaded tank cars went south.
image 33. Bridge span down on the Suntrana spur at Healy. The river undercut the pier and it tilted out from under the bridge deck.
image 34.What do we do now boys? Thats either LC 56 or 57 all alone out on the bridge. A steam crane without its tender. Hope they had the safety meeting and have some plan of action.
image 35. Nice rustic timber bridge but no idea where.
image 36. Water tank at Sutton or Granite Creek down the hill from Eska and Jonesville Coal mines. That is King Mountain in the back ground and the Matanuska River would be through the trees to the right of this scene. For a fact I can tell you the tank is half full.
image 37. Alco RSD1 #1039 on the roundhouse turntable lead in Anchorage. The Coach shed is in the background and the old blacksmith shop and powerhouse are to the right.
image 38. 4th of July parade on 4th Avenue in Anchorage in the early 50s.
image 39. 4th Avenue Anchorage in February for the Fur Rondy Sled Dog Races in early 50s.
image 40. Alco RSD1 #1027. With the door open you can see the confined shape of the cab on these former GI locomotives that were built for European close clearances. You could not stand up in the cab next to the window. Tall men spent most of their time hanging out of the cab.
image 41. I'll let you describe this locomotive as the most ........ I have ever seen. Fortunately after the 1050 and 1051 arrived to become the original AuRoRa, someone got the message. Subsequent class 1070 RF1 Alco conversions were quite ruggedly hansom, in an Ernest Borgnine sort of way.
image 42. RF1 B unit 1053 and an RF1 A basking next the the engine house in Anchorage.
image 43. Oops. About five more guys and they can forget the big hook. No idea where.
image 44. To get that vantage point the photographer was probably up on a bridge. Notice the fellow riding between the two dump cars. My guess this is a gravel train near Nenana and the loco is probably 0-6-0 #318.
image 45. Snowy day along Turnagain Arm in early 50s. The snow slide has been cleared from the tracks by the old cable blade cat, stored on location for that purpose. The Seward Highway is just to the right of the view.
image 46. Slides are still a problem at this location on the Arm. Someone out there can give us the mile post from memory.
image 47. Presuming this was taken from the cupola of the caboose this train would be North Bound to Anchorage along Turnagain Arm near Kern Creek. The grade work here is probably preparation for moving the railroad track over toward the bank to relocate the highway to the inlet side. There is a snow shed, not a tunnel, in the distance.
image 48. Nearing the snow shed, it is obvious that the slide zone was much wider that winter. The unfinished grade work on the left would be the Seward highway under construction. The old ice in the arm indicates late March to mid April time frame.
image 49. Charlie Ingersol, conductor on the left, others unknown.
image 50. Charlie Ingersol is second from right, for a complete explanation of this photo go to page 928 of the Alaska Railroad by Bernadine Prince.
image 51. Unknown, depot agent or dispatcher at work with telephone, telegraph and early radio gear.

52. 52 through 62 are all the same wreck worthy of investigation. Here we are looking railroad South to the siding and Section house at Willow Alaska. The pile of Allied Full Cushion Trucks are testimony to the seriousness of this derailment. The train of ex troop car refrigerator and box cars places this after 1948. Take note of the object laying on the track where the siding diverges from the main line.

Also take note of the refrigerator car 11744 and the odd color 8 ft plug door.


53. Is he puzzled? How did this steel girder truss section come to rest in the frog of the north switch at Willow? Clearly the cause of half the train derailing and running amuck among the swamps. While I have not found any reports or reference to this derailment in my sources we must postulate there was a broken load of trusses forward in the train and this one took flight and wedged into the one place it could really do damage.

image 54. Looking North over the devastation we see the other side of refrigerator car 11744 with a standard 4 ft wide reefer door. No one has explained exactly why they equipped so many of them this way. One theory, it allowed loading by fork lift at dockside, while the customer could use the car for cold storage and dispense out of the smaller 4 ft door.
The upside down flat car (note the stake pockets) nested next to an indescribable pile which may or may not have been its load.
image 55. Not a pretty picture, but a testament to momentum.
image 56. Not a pretty picture, but a testament to momentum.
image 57. Not a pretty picture, but a testament to momentum.
image 58. Not a pretty picture, but a testament to momentum.
image 59. Not a pretty picture, but a testament to momentum.
image 60. Not a pretty picture, but a testament to momentum.

Special thanks goes to the Walter Strong family for providing these images!
Thanks also to Pat Durand for the extended commentaries.

Page created 3/24/11 and last updated 3/27/11
© 2011 Walter Strong collection unless otherwise noted

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