2001 News Archive
Alaska Railroad schedules open house to discuss 2002 projects - 12/28/01
Alaska Railroad Press Release
The Alaska Railroad (ARR) invites the public to an open house on Wednesday, January 9, from 4-7 p.m., at the Anchorage Depot, 411 West First Avenue. The venue provides an opportunity to review and comment on a proposed Program of Projects (POP) for 2002.

The open house will showcase continuing and proposed capital improvement projects that are in various stages - from conceptual planning to construction. Project managers will be on-hand to explain projects that are located all along the Railroad system from Seward to Fairbanks, with an emphasis on Anchorage-area projects, including:

  • Anchorage Yard Expansion
  • Anchorage Car Shop
  • Ship Creek Master Plan and Pedestrian Amenities
  • South Anchorage Double Track
  • Anchorage International Airport Rail Depot
  • Anchorage-to-Wasilla Track Realignment
  • Southcentral Alaska Commuter Study results

  • Since 1996, the Railroad has received federal funding to repair and improve an aging mainline track, to modernize signal and safety equipment, to build new facilities, and to offer valuable new services. Many projects proposed in 2002 are funded all or in part by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) or the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

    People unable to attend the open house may visit www.AlaskaRailroad.com for project information. Written comments may be e-mailed to public_comment@akrr.com or mailed to Alaska Railroad Capital Projects, P.O. Box 107500, Anchorage, AK  99510-7500.

    For more information, call Public Involvement Officer Stephenie Wheeler at 265-2671 or Public Affairs Officer Pat Flynn, 265-2695.

    The depot is accessible to individuals with disabilities. If special accommodations are needed, please contact the Railroad by calling TTY/TDD 265-2620, voice 265-2494, or via the Alaska Relay Service (ARS) TTY 1-800-770-8973 or voice 1-800-770-8255.

    Railroad says system will ease reservations - 12/27/01
    Alaska Journal of Commerce, By James MacPherson
    The Alaska Railroad Corp. has purchased and installed a new computer software system designed to improve telephone reservation service and allow customers to book seats and purchase train tickets via the Internet.

    The new railroad-specific reservation software, scheduled to be operational this month, was designed by United Kingdom-based FSS Travel & Leisure Systems, said Steve Silverstein, vice president of the railroad's Markets, Sales and Services Division.

    "Rail Res 2000" is used by railroads worldwide and also for ferry reservations to and from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia, Silverstein said.

    Cost for the computer software and hardware upgrades was $820,000. The Federal Transit Administration covered 80 percent of the cost of the new reservation system; the remainder came from railroad revenues, Silverstein said.

    The new system is compatible with the railroad's existing computer equipment but faster processors needed to be installed, according to Silverstein.

    The new software replaces the railroad's old reservation system purchased in1993 from Vertical Marketing Systems. That system, according to Silverstein, was antiquated and was no longer supported or maintained by the computer company.

    "When they stopped supporting the system, it made it very difficult for us,'' Silverstein said.

    The old system also could not handle reservations online, a marketing component that is vital nowadays, Silverstein said.

    Managers and senior reservation agents were trained on the new system in early December, Silverstein said. The railroad will train its seasonal reservation agents in February and March.

    "(Rail Res 2000) is much simpler than the old system and much more intuitive and connected than the old system was,'' Silverstein said.

    "It's simpler for our reservation agents to use and simpler for the customers to use,'' Silverstein said. "It's a good, smooth system."

    Over the past two years, the state-owned railroad has hauled about 500,000 passengers annually and has had revenues of slightly more than $13 million each year.

    Railroad officials hope the new reservation system will increase ridership on the 525-mile rail line by providing instant access to railroad schedules, tour information and package deals, all with the option to purchase online. Internet reservations should improve telephone reservations by allowing agents more time to serve customers, Silverstein said.

    Eventually, Silverstein said, the new system could be expanded to computerized kiosks or ticket vending machines around the state, or on board a train.

    2504 guts take on a new life - 12/19/01
    Submitted by an anonymous source
    On 2504,  Todd Havens of Western Rail, Inc. in Spokane has purchased the prime mover and main generator from Alaska Metals Recycling.  I'm not sure what the shipping arrangements are, but I'm sure this engine (16-567 D) will find it's way into another loco.
    Railroad aims to predict avalanches - 12/18/01
    Alaska Journal of Commerce
    By James MacPherson, Journal Reporter

    The Alaska Railroad Corp. is experimenting with computer modeling and sensing equipment to help predict when and where avalanches may occur along the rail line.

    Artillery platforms also are being established to cause controlled slides in avalanche-prone regions; weather stations are being upgraded and built; and the railroad's snow-clearing fleet of bulldozers is being beefed up.

    It's all part of $2.5 million avalanche forecasting and slide removal program aimed at reducing risks to railroad workers and passengers and at running trains at higher speeds through known avalanche slide areas south of Anchorage.

    "The idea is to get a better feel of when and where avalanches will occur and when to trigger small ones to keep a bigger ones from coming down,'' said Patrick Flynn, the railroad's public affairs officer.

    Prototype avalanche detection equipment was installed last summer high on a mountain at the Kern Creek avalanche path along Turnagain Arm. The equipment, known as Alpug, is made in Switzerland and initially developed for Swiss Rail. It is the only such detection equipment in North America and is state of the art, Flynn said.

    The system has three sensing stations that employ Doppler radar and geophones to detect movement.

    In the future, the system will expand to other avalanche paths in the area and also could provide mud-flow and rock-fall detection, according to information from the railroad.

    The system is being tested and should be operational this winter, according to railroad data.

    Over the past year, the railroad has upgraded one of its existing weather stations and built three more at Moose Pass and Whittier and on a ridge top at Mile 43 of the Seward Highway, south of Anchorage. The railroad also upgraded four weather stations at Alyeska Resort.

    Accurate avalanche and weather information reduces the risk of major slides, allowing for better decisions on when to close a portion of the track or to trigger a controlled slide, according to railroad data.

    The railroad built asphalt pads this summer for howitzer mounts at avalanche paths within a 10-mile stretch about 50 miles south of Anchorage. At Mile 43, two radio-controlled explosive launchers have been installed, and fixed howitzer mounts are placed at Mile 49 and Mile 53.

    Howitzer platforms also have been installed at three avalanche paths in the Portage and Girdwood sections of the rail line.

    A special gun truck also has been built to transport ammunition and howitzers along the track or by road.

    The railroad and the state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities will share the cost of a $862,000 storage and office facility in Girdwood. The facility, slated for construction next year, would act as an avalanche central coordination point for forecasting equipment and explosive storage.

    Clearing snow quickly after an avalanche reduces the risk to crews who often work under the threat of a repeat slide, according to railroad information.

    The railroad purchased a new bulldozer last year to add to its existing fleet. All of the bulldozers have been modified with reinforced cabs to help withstand the impact of an avalanche.

    In 1999, railroad employee Kerry Brookman was killed in an avalanche while working to clear the Seward Highway and adjacent rail after a severe winter storm. Brookman was clearing snow that had closed the area to transportation for nearly a week. Another avalanche came down, sweeping him and the bulldozer some 500 feet into Turnagain Arm. Two state DOT employees also were engulfed by the avalanche, but survived.

    Snowmachiners rattle railroad - 12/18/01
    Anchorage Daily News
    Wasilla -- As head of security for the Alaska Railroad, Dan Frerich dreads seeing snowmachine trails near the railroad tracks. Even worse, snowmachine tracks between the rails.

    Over the past 10 years, Frerich has investigated dozens of collisions and near-collisions between snowmobiles and trains from Seward to Fairbanks.

    No one has been killed while riding a snowmachine on the tracks, according to railroad records. But in the past few years, railroad crews have reported at least five close calls, including four in which trains had to make emergency stops to avoid snowmachines, a maneuver that can derail a train. 

    [See story]

    $80 million earmarked for state - 12/10/01
    Anchorage Daily News
    Washington -- Airport improvements from Girdwood to Klawock, $15 million for highway work at Bird Creek and more than $20 million for Alaska Railroad track upgrades are among more than 30 Alaska projects included in the transportation spending bill Congress passed last week.

    [See story]

    Death of 2504 - 12/7/01
    Based on an email from Jerry VanThomme
    Number 2504 went to Alaska Metals last night to be scrapped.  When I got there around noon today they had already torched most of the side and cab.  It is a sad day for Alaska Railroad fans.

    On a better note I did find out that the 1802 and 1806 (#'s ?) have been sold to the Alaska Central Railroad.  I would imagine they'll be sitting in the yard for a while.

    1718 Preservation Project - 12/3/01
    Based on an email from Pat Durand
    I have been at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry today, December 1, 2001 working on #1718/1818 and GE 1604.  It was 0 degrees F today but still got all the snow plowed away from the troop sleeper box cars so we can off load all our spare parts that still need to be moved from Clear Air Force Station by truck.

    On October 8, 2001 during my absence from Alaska the locomotives arrived at the Museum.  Mr. Jerry Ware, and Mr. Richard Morris coordinated the Museum volunteers and worked with the Alaska Railroad section gang.    The main line tracks were separated and bent over on temporary ties to connect with the Museum tracks.   Slowly the 1718, 1604 and two historic box cars were moved onto the Museum track and secured.  All went well and the locomotives are now home.

    A single pitched shed roof 20 foot by 80 foot was erected just before fall freeze.  We still need to lay 160 foot of track under the shed and then we will have covered storage for the locomotives.    All spare parts and tools will be stored in the two box cars, which are a W.W.II troop sleeper and troop kitchen that the Alaska Railroad had converted to box cars in 1947.

    McKeen Car Preservation - 11/30/01
    Based on an email from Pat Hickey
    Richard MacNally is doing the work as time and money permits.  Richard has restored large components including a train car or two.  He recently subbed a paint job on an ARR coach in Hobb's Bldg. (the old power plant).  My son James owns the train, but he's currently working in Silicon Valley.  The McKeen is on an ARR leasehold lot at 826 Whitney Rd.  I'll keep you posted on this project which is, at this point, more a preservation than a restoration. Check out the roof in the image.  When we get the car closed up we'll use it for a shop and storage until the next stage.  Also, we've got heat in the front half. 
    Princess buys out Royal Caribbean - 11/21/01
    Based on an email from Robert Krol
    Princess Cruises bought out Royal Caribbean Cruise today.  I guess all their railcars and busses and employees are now ours.  Princess had the contract to move the people and luggage this past summer, now we own the company.  A few of the big wigs at Royal Caribbean were Princess employees, I guess they will be Princess employees again. 

    [Webmaster note: This merger would create the largest cruise ship company in the world.  Both companies combined would have 41 ships and 75,000 berths.  Federal regulators and shareholders must approve in order for the merger to be completed. The deal is expected to be approved in 2002. ]

    Railcars to receive upgrades  - 11/20/01
    From an anonymous source
    The railroad wants the cars to have a "warmer" feel so the green upholstery will be replaced by blue fabric and a beige vinyl.  The fabric will cover the cushions full width, rather than being an insert as in the original design with the vinyl confined to the sides and headrest portion of the seat back and the (almost totally hidden) sides of the bottom cushion.  Most important, the foam padding in the seats will be replaced with all new material compliant with the latest safety requirements (smoke emission and flammability).  The bottom cushions will be restored to their original thickness so that the window sills will no longer seem too high.

    Exterior paint will remain about the same.  The exact location of the color breaks will move fractions of an inch to align them with those on the former NP dome coaches.  These Budd built cars had natural breaks in the side contour that required this minor variation.

    The plan is to re-upholster and paint three cars each year so that every car will get new paint and upholstery every 12 years or so.  Numbers 205, 206 and 207 have been running around in original paint and upholstery for twelve seasons now.

    Status of 1802 and 1806 - 11/16/01
    Based on an email from Jack Klingbeil
    Numbers 1806 and 1802 have been saved from the scrap dealers torch. They were sold to the Alaska Central Railroad who will be rebuilding them. They are again stored on railroad property.
    Ski Train is on - 11/15/01
    Robert Krol
    I didn't see it on ADN.com on Sunday, but the ADN says the Alaska Railroad Ski Train is back on.  There's 650 tickets for sale, the article said the new Alaska Railroad management wanted the train.
    Caboose 1075 seen in Anchorage - 11/14/01
    Stewart Sterling
    I saw Caboose 1075 in Anchorage last week.  It is at the corner of King Street and 104th Street in an auto repo auction lot. Looks the same as in your photo only it is actually on a section of track just long enough for itself. [Webmaster note: Caboose 1075 used to sit in Seward and was privately owned.]
    Railroad repairs tank car suspensions to cut risk of fuel spills - 11/01/01
    Kenai Peninsula Online
    Most of the railroad fuel tank cars in Alaska were overhauled during the summer to reduce the risk of derailments and spills, Alaska Railroad officials said.

    Nearly three quarters of the fuel tank cars underwent major repairs on wheel and suspension systems.

    Alaska Railroad Corp. officials say the overhaul work will greatly reduce the risk of derailment since the fuel tank cars will ride more smoothly along the rail line.

    [See story]

    G scale ARR update - 10/22/01
    Based on an email from Harold Emerick
    I was at the TCA Train Show in York on Saturday. I got a look at the SD70MAC for the MTH box set. It is an impressive engine , but if you haven't put one on reserve you may not get one. I was told by the MTH rep that it  may not be out until Christmas, due to MTH wanting to get the Freedom Train  out. The GP-38 in G scale will be out next month and the tankcar will be out in the Spring. The reefer car is out. I had to put them on order to get them at the show prices  I saw that K-Line is out with a GP38, 4 logcars,and a boxcar. They looked  pretty nice. But they are in great demand. I might try and order them. There is a picture posted in their website of the GP38.
    Number 3015 on the move - 10/17/01
    By Steve Noland, ever vigilant Northwest coast correspondent
    This morning after a short class at work, I made my way through Royal Brougham, Safeco Field and the masses of humans moving about for the one o'clock game, and the SODO to find the Union Pacific at Whatcom Yard, switching and making up a train for Harbor Island.  And the Alaska Railroad GP40-H 3015 was in the consist.

    They had the five idler cabooses on the track just short of Hanford St on a side track.   They picked up the cabooses, blocking Royal Brougham for a good 10-12 minutes and pulled the whole train to Argo, clearing up about six crossings.

    UP then shoved the train with a flare on the end of the train and ran along Duwamish Avenue and then across the two Duwamish channels and around to the west side of Harbor Island and the new yards and facilities there.  Without blocking any traffic UP 1033 (I think it was called "51" on the radio) they shoved and dropped cars to a couple of tracks, getting all the pipe gons together.  There were three big spools of steel cable on a bulkhead flat.   Many gons of steel pipe.  Even a couple of gons with about 3-5 feet of lead balls in them.  One had about 6 inch, the other, 3 inch or so, eyeballing from above, on a public stairway track side.

    When I was able to get to a good point to take pictures at the little public park across the road from the yard the UP1033 had moved away with part of the consist, and what it left parked was the ARR 3015 setting in the sun.  Fisher Mills was in the sun and I framed the 3015 with the towers in the background.  I left the UP 3015 there and headed for home.

    [For a look at his latest photos, check out the October 22 Picture of the Week]

    Ex-ARR locos are alive and well on the P&L - 10/16/01
    By John Combs
    Six former Alaska Railroad locomotives were rebuilt, repainted and made operational on the Paducah and Louisville Railway.  They will operate mainly on coal trains between Madisonville, Ky. and Kosmodale, Ky. They will also use them on the night express train between Paducah and Louisville.   The units were renumbered as follows: 2501 to 2104, 2502 to 2106, 3016 to 2101, 3017 to 2103, 3019 to 2105 and 3020 to 2107.  I will try to get down to Kentucky before the year is over and get photos of these units in their new paint scheme.
    ARR Number 3015 arrives in Seattle - 10/13/01
    By Steve Noland, ever vigilant Northwest coast correspondent
    Saturday, 0650 PDT, I spotted ARR 3015 in the darkness of the morning.  It was in line with other units parked at the north end of the Interbay Service Facility, i.e., the racks.  Will try and get pictures when it gets light.
    ARRC Community ties newsletter summary - 10/12/01
    By John Combs
    o The railroad posted a 19% gain in freight based revenue (8/00-8/01)
    o Barge-rail service increased 37% (relates directly to North slope activity)
    o Trail-on-flat-car service is up 12% 
    o Petroleum movement is up 8%
    o The Anchorage Rail Yard is being expanded to relieve crowded operations
    o The new siding at Pittman was finished, adding a turnout lane for passing trains
    o Construction began on a 5-mile double track project south of Anchorage
    o 279 of 409 tank cars leased by Williams Petroleum underwent repairs (focusing mainly on the trucks)
    MRS1 1817 arrives - 10/07/01
    Based on an email from Marty Quaas
    MRS1, 1718 along with an USAF 80 T, 1 high cube box and 1 regular box car rebuilt from WW2 troop sleepers arrived at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry near Wasilla today, October 6th.  The ARR Track crews spent several hours installing a temporary cut over track connecting with the track that the museum had laid over the past several months.  The equipment rolled out onto the museum track with the use of several tank cars as a handle without a hitch, however an ARR Wheel Truck was standing by, just in case.  After the handle cars were removed, the ARR Track crew replaced the main line for normal operation.
    MATI locomotive arrival - 10/07/01
    Based on an email from Dick Morris
    As of about 3:00 today [Saturday, October 6], the MRS-1 and GE locomotive were delivered to the museum. As always, the ARR did a great job of supporting the museum and the arrival was trouble-free. After a rainy Friday, today was clear and the  temperature comfortable. Other new arrivals are a high cube boxcar  converted from a troop car (actually two, they were cut lengthwise to get  the height) and a box/outfit car converted from a troop car. The Russell  plow didn't make it as it lacked a coupler on the plow end.
    ARR update - 10/03/01
    Based on an email from Robert Krol
    I see the ARR has two openings for a Mechanic Helper and one opening for a Mechanic and one opening for an electrician.

    The new car shop was built for Royal Caribbean cars, they are getting two more railcars for next year, along with twenty more motorcoaches for the highway.

    The ARR had an old power plant of theirs wrecked on top of the hill by the yard, now they tearing the hill out for more yard space.  It is a big hill they are tearing out.

    Recent visit to Alaska - 10/02/01
    Based on an email from Jason Kuehn
    I recently visited the Alaska Railroad in Anchorage and was impressed by the activity going on.  Some highlights:

    Grading is progressing for the laying of a second mainline between Klatt Road and Oceanview road in South Anchorage.  A work train was working removing peat and organic material and backfilling with clean fill.  The work train was powered by two black and yellow GP-40's and consisted of approximately 20-25 side dump cars and Jordan Spreader number 8.  The jewel was the assignment of caboose 1776.  This caboose still sports its bicentennial paint scheme after 25 years.

    Signal masts were installed north and south of the OVL switch south of the passenger depot.  The OVL switch is the southern junction of the passenger main and the line through to/from the freight yard.  This switch will become a dispatcher controlled interlocking.  I believe a similar interlocking will be constructed at the north end of the yard as well.  Eventually the railroad hopes to construct CTC all the way from Wasilla through south Anchorage.  Although funding for this likely would be part of the proposed commuter service between Wasilla and Anchorage.

    Construction of the station at the Anchorage International airport is well underway as is the grading for the elevated rail line into the station.

    Grading for the track realignment to reduce curvature between Anchorage and Eklutna is also well underway.

    Cabooses are alive and well on the Alaska Railroad!  Apparently this is to expedite trains and for safety reasons.  All the gravel trains are caboose equipped to enable them to line hand throw switches behind them without having to walk back to the head of the train afterwards.  Some through freights are also equipped with cabooses for similar reasons.  Former practice had been for trains often to back out of sidings after meets, but this practice is limited or banned since one of the derailments spilling petroleum products was partially blamed on this practice.  These operational changes resulted in last year's acquisition of several former CN cabooses.

    Dedicated intermodal trains are back.  The railroad is operating them four times a week.  I saw two of them each with around 50-55 trailers on them pulled by two GP-40's or 49's.  Most of the rest of the freight trains were powered by pairs of SD70MACs.

    The gravel trains were still running.  Two consists seemed to each cycle up to twice daily, which is a fairly busy pace.

    MP-15's 1551, 1552, and 1553 were keeping busy in the Anchorage yard and port area.  I did not see the 1554 anywhere.

    The Sunday passenger train from Fairbanks was very anemic consisting of a single HEP'ed GP-40, one coach and one baggage car.

    At the north end of the shop was the remains of GP-30 2504.  It was parked behind several other units, but was stripped of most of its roof appliances such as fans, and dynamic brake grids.  The new spreader also was parked near by, but did not seem in service.  Rotary 3 was parked over by Wrightway auto carriers behind some wreck damaged cars and seemed as though it may be out of service or at least in long-term storage.

    A new car service facility was well under construction.  It seemed to be in the area of the private tour cars.  I don't know whether the railroad is building it or one or more of the tour operators.

    Overall there was lots of change and growth on the Alaska Railroad.

    MRS-1 move - 10/02/01
    Based on an email from Marty Quaas
    The Alaska Railroad will move the MRS1 and 80T along with other prize items to the [Anchorage Museum of Transportation and Industry] on October 6.  Anyone who wishes to watch this event will be welcome.  At this time, I do not have any times, but would guess that it will start in the morning.
    Alaska Railroad Operations Continue - 9/11/01
    Alaska Railroad Press Release
    In response to terrorist activity in other regions of the United States, the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) is operating at a state of heightened awareness. Due to military concerns along sections of the track traversing Elmendorf and Fort Richardson the northbound Denali Star passenger train, which operates from Anchorage to Fairbanks, was cancelled.  Approximately 1020 passengers were bussed to their destinations. The southbound Denali Star is currently operating normally. The passenger season from Anchorage south to Whittier and Seward concluded last weekend.  Coordinating with Alaska military installations, ARRC freight operations are expected to return to normal this afternoon. Freight customers are being served without any major interruptions at this time.  Passenger service is expected to return to normal tomorrow.
    Commuter rail study finds hitch - 9/10/01
    Anchorage Daily News
    A new study for the Alaska Railroad estimates it would cost $28.2 million to launch commuter rail service between the Mat-Su area and Anchorage, but only a few hundred people would initially take the train.

    And like many commuter rails nationwide, the service would require subsidies, more than $2 million annually during the first years of operation.

    [See story]

    Thanks to MATI volunteers - 9/5/01
    By Pat Durand, volunteer at MATI
    To ARR Friends of MATI The Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry. Wasilla, Alaska.

    Thanks to those dedicated railroaders who came out and laid track at the Museum the last two Sundays and Saturday.    We have enough track in place now to receive the next installment of equipment.   MRS1 #1718 and GE 80 ton #1604 are being prepared for the slow move from Clear AFS to the Museum at MP 162.5. This will be a slow move as a result of the 1604 being on switcher trucks.  Mr. Pat Shake of the Alaska Railroad is in charge of the move.

    The tentative date for moving these units onto the Museum grounds will be Sept. 23, a Sunday.  The locomotives will be intransit before that date.   Announcement of the final plans is subject to short notice changes.     If you wish to assist in a formal capacity, RSVP here now!   We need experienced hands on the ground.   We need TWO independent photographers to cover this event for possible magazine publication.

    If not formally involved in the move we ask that railfans give the equipment and operators every courtesy and stay clear of the right of way so we have a safe move.

    I am pleased to advise that HiCube Box Car #8019 (formerly two Troop Sleepers) and Engineering Box Car # 1565E  (formerly a Troop Kitchen) will be coming to the Museum at the same time.  If it can be made roadable, The Russell Snow Plow will bring up the rear.

    The steel shed roof 84' long and 20' wide has been completed at end of track and will provide cover for these locomotives once the volunteer crews complete laying the track under the shed.    If you can help out there will be another work party at MATI on Saturday Sept. 8th.

    Thanks again for all your support.

    ARR GP40H number 3014 arrives in Seattle - 9/3/01
    By Steve Noland, Seattle Correspondent
    ARR 3014 arrived in the wee hours.  I was on the porch when it went by as the last unit in this inbound intermodal.  The new paint caught every reflection of light in the night. 

    0113, wb m2, engines S CHCSEA3 30, engines BNSF4912 H2, BNSF3028 renum, SF876 wb , BSNF1081 H1, ARR3014 
    ARR   3014  L  INTERBAY  WA TA  09/03/2001 01:11 BNSF  SEATTLE   WA SEATTLE   WA DD  09/03/2001 16:30 
                       in Train: S CHCSEA3 30 seq 005  Next Event Code: TD 
                       Next Event 333: EVERETT   Next Event State: WA Next Event Date/Time: 09/02/2001 23:51:32 

    I'll try and get pictures this morning.  It should be at Stacy or Whatcom Yard at sunrise. 

    More ARR flatcars arrive in Seattle - 9/3/01
    By Steve Noland, Seattle Correspondent
    Was standing on the porch in the cool of the evening when the following train passed by slowly.  I caught the first two cars after the engines and they were these ARR cars like the one I photographed earlier last week.  I wonder how many of these ARR container carriers we will see out here? 

    2107, wb m2, engines BNSF4459 H2, SF650 wb, BNSF4337 H2, SF694 wb 

    Chicago-South Seattle 

    ARR  19210  L  INTERBAY  WA PS  09/02/2001 21:01 BNSF  SEATTLE   WA SEATTLE   WA AP  09/04/2001 01:01  Z CHCSSE1 31 seq 005 

    ARR  19215  L  INTERBAY  WA PS  09/02/2001 21:01 BNSF  SEATTLE   WA SEATTLE   WA AP  09/04/2001 01:01  Z CHCSSE1 31 seq 006

    ARR GP40H number 3014 in Montana - 9/1/01
    By Steve Noland, Seattle Correspondent
    It's in Montana!  I'm a waitin.

    RR   3014  L  REDEAGLE  MT PS  09/01/2001 15:18 BNSF  SEATTLE   WA
    SEATTLE   WA DD  09/03/2001 16:30
    in Train: S CHCSEA3 30 seq 004  Next Event Code: TA
    Next Event 333: SEATTLE   Next Event State: WA Next Event Date/Time:
    09/02/2001 15:19:27

    Museum work days continue - 8/21/01
    By Pat Durand
    On two Sundays, August 19th and 26th, several members of the Military Society of Model Railroad Engineers worked to set-up several hundred feet of track at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry. This was under the direction of Pat Durand, in preparation for the arrival of the MRS1 and 80T locomotives from Clear. The locomotives are expected to be arriving in about a month. The participating members were Pete Meja, Jerry VanThome, Casey Durand, Ken Elmore, Becky Stauch, Richard and Gail Clinch, Marty and Agnes Quaas, and traveler Bob Nilles, a MATI member visiting from North Dakota, who just happened by. The workers were treated to Lake Bennett Stew, Apple Pie and Ice Cream. While it was hard work, everyone found something within their ability to do and fun was had by all. 

    Another work party has been scheduled on short notice for Saturday September 1.  There will be no Sunday work session.    Pat Shake of the Alaska Railroad, advises that #1718 and #1604 will probably move into the Museum on Sunday Sept 23.   Final date will be set as soon as an open window on the track can be confirmed.  This is a special slow movement from Clear and takes a lot of planning.   Good news is that the locomotives will be accompanied by more rail artifacts, HiCube Box car #1890 and another engineering box car built from a troop kitchen car.   These will provide closed storage for rail stuff. 

    Come on out if you can and watch for anouncments on the move. 

    Museum work day is a success - 8/21/01
    By Pat Durand
    With this hapless band of hobo’s pressed into service at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry on Aug. 19, 2001 progress in track laying was made.  All 7 volunteers for the days work are members of the Military Society of Model Engineers,  a dedicated group of Model Railroaders.   [Attendees were] Marty Quass, Ken Elmore,  Casey Durand, Peter Meija and Jerry VanThomme.  Agnes Quass and Pat Durand were off chatting with visitors to the Museum.

    There will be another Track Party on Sunday Aug. 26 with a goal to finish relocating three more track panels and building one from scratch.  Having the proper tools in abundance really does make the work go faster and easier.  The Museum fork lifts, tie tongs and new gauge bars were appreciated by the volunteers on hand.   The Lake Bennett Stew and Apple Pie drew no complaints. 

    Man's love of railroad remembered - 8/20/01
    Anchorage Daily News
    A bench made of a few wooden planks might seem like a simple thing. But the Train Watching Bench dedicated July 31 represents the lifetime of both a country, America; and a man, Ken C. Brovald.

    The planks in Brovald's life were railroad ties -- his life revolved around the world of trains. That's why his wife and friends dedicated the Train Watching Bench in the memory of Brovald, who died Jan. 23 last year.

    [See story]

    No train rides to the Alaska State Fair - 8/17/01
    Anchorage 11 News
    Railroad officials say the passenger service demands this year are so high that they do not have the equipment for the shuttle to Palmer. So instead, Borealis Shuttle is transporting people to and from the fair. 

    The borealis shuttle will run four times-a-day during the fair. The busses pick up and drop off passengers at the Egan Center and Northway Mall. 

    It starts at 9-am daily with the last trip leaving the fair at 8:30 pm. The shuttle costs 25-dollars and includes fair admission. 

    P-30 power car to receive rebuild - 8/16/01
    By John Combs
    On the Alaska Railroad Corporation website under the solicitations section, you'll find a request for proposal for a "Power Car P-30 Modification of Truck & Painting of Car".  The paint design will use the new ARR paint scheme.
    Museum work days prepare for locomotive acquisition - 8/14/01
    By Pat Durand
    Sundays, Aug. 19 and 26 will be work party days at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry for railroaders.   Final preparations are underway to receive MRS1 #1718 and the GE80 tonner from Clear Air Force Station.   Pat Shake of the Alaska Railroad advises these locomotives will be moved right after the passenger season cut back in mid September.

    MATI now has new track tools and a rail crane tong.  Two fork lifts and a Hydro Crane are available to make a lot of the moves easier.   We will be moving two track panels,  and placing about 15 new ties the first weekend.

    For folks who are not into track work,  the cabs of 1000 and 1500 both need a good cleaning with the shop vacuum cleaner..

    On the second weekend we can place ties, plates and rail for two track panels going into the new train shed.    That's right we have an 84 X 20 foot steel shed roof to park the locomotives under.  The foundations are in and there is some money to have this erected this fall.

    For those who can participate please RSVP To Pat Durand at 907 696 2373 and tell us which dates you plan to assist.    For all who RSVP there will be a Lake Bennett lunch served.   The White Pass and Yukon standard noon fare,  Beef Stew, sourdough bread, apple pie with ice cream and juice and coffee.

    We need your help on this project and look forward to seeing you there.

    Bench dedicated to Ken Brovald - 8/14/01
    From Model Railroading in Alaska Newsletter by Marty Quaas
    On Tuesday evening, July 31st, over 40 friends of Ken C. Brovald gathered at Elderberry Park in Anchorage, AK for the dedication of a "Train Watching Bench" installed earlier this summer. The bench sits just above the Alaska Railroad Tracks with a great view of the tracks and trains that go by, Cook Inlet and Mount Susitna. Funds for this bench were donated by Ken's friends and family.  Dan Henderson, Bagpiper played Amazing Grace and a Scottish Train Station Song. Some excerpts from Ken's writings were read. The best part of all was that an Alaska Railroad gravel train came by just as the dedication was about to start and a passenger train came after the dedication. Ken's family hopes train lovers from all over the world will find the bench a restful place to sit and wait for a train to go by.
    Rail traffic to Anchorage airport may block road traffic - 8/14/01
    Kenai Peninsula Online
    A $28 million rail depot going up at Anchorage's international airport is touted as an efficient way to move tourists directly from Seward to the airport, but trains heading for the depot may delay locals rushing to their flights.

    The Alaska Railroad passenger train will cross the main thoroughfare to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Not only will trains occasionally hold up traffic, but buses will be required to stop and check for oncoming trains.

    It is another revelation in a project that some people claim had little consideration from the public and state lawmakers when it was conceived a few years ago.

    [See story

    Alaska Railroad purchases used flatcars - 8/14/01
    Intercepted email from Yahoo! Groups
    Alaska picked up some 89'4" flats recently, appear to be ex-TTX, and also appear to be COFC only.

    They are being sent to BNSF's intermodal ramp at Cicero (Chicago) for loading to the west coast According to BNSF's trace, here are the numbers thus far:

    ARR 19201  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO ,  IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19202  E LIMA , OH ME 08/03 11:26 CSXT# CHICAGO , IL
    ARR 19203  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO , IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19204  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO , IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19205  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO , IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19206  E CINCINNATI, OH TA 08/03 15:10 CSXT# CHICAGO , IL
    ARR 19207  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO ,  IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19208  Not Found
    ARR 19209  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO , IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19210  Not Found
    ARR 19211  Not Found
    ARR 19212  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO , IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19213  E CINCINNATI, OH TA 08/03 15:10 CSXT# CHICAGO , IL
    ARR 19214  E LIMA , OH TA 08/01 18:05 CSXT# CHICAGO , IL
    ARR 19215  Not Found
    ARR 19216  E GALESBURG, IL TA 08/01 16:43 BNSF  CICERO , IL CICERO , IL ED 08/05 13:28
    ARR 19217  E CICERO , IL TA 08/03 10:50 BNSF  CHICAGO , IL CHICAGO , IL AP 08/04 11:31
    ARR 19218  E CINCINNATI, OH TA 08/03 15:10 CSXT# CHICAGO , IL
    ARR 19219  Not Found

    ARR  19201  L  TACOMA    WA DD  08/08/2001 18:31 BNSF# TACBLAIR WA                              TMBL
    ARR  19202  E  CINCINNATI OH TA  08/07/2001 03:20 CSXT# CHICAGO IL
    ARR  19203  L  TACOMA    WA DD  08/08/2001 18:31 BNSF# TACEXP WA                              TMBL
    ARR  19204  E  TACSIM    WA RI  08/09/2001 03:24 BNSF  SEATTLE WA SEATTLE   WA DD  08/13/2001 17:29
    ARR  19205  E  TACSIM    WA RI  08/09/2001 03:24 BNSF  SEATTLE WA SEATTLE   WA DD  08/13/2001 17:29
    ARR  19206  E  WILLARD   OH TD  08/09/2001 10:35 CSXT# CHICAGO IL
    ARR  19207  L  SEATTLE   WA TA  08/09/2001 10:12 BNSF  TACEXP WA TACOMA    WA DD  08/10/2001 06:30
    ARR  19208 Not Found
    ARR  19209  L  SEATTLE   WA TA  08/09/2001 10:12 BNSF  TACBLAIR WA TACBLAIR  WA AP  08/10/2001 11:01
    ARR  19210 Not Found
    ARR  19211  E  LIMA      OH TA  08/08/2001 17:55 CSXT# CHICAGO IL
    ARR  19212  E  TACSIM    WA RI  08/09/2001 03:24 BNSF  SEATTLE WA SEATTLE   WA DD  08/13/2001 17:29
    ARR  19213  E  CHICAGO   IL AP  08/09/2001 05:15 CSXT# CHICAGO IL
    ARR  19214  E  LIMA      OH TA  08/07/2001 19:20 CSXT# CHICAGO IL
    ARR  19215  E  LIMA      OH TA  08/08/2001 17:55 CSXT# CHICAGO IL
    ARR  19216  E  EOLA      IL TA  08/08/2001 16:36 BNSF  CICERO IL CICERO    IL ED  08/11/2001 14:21
    ARR  19217  L  TACOMA    WA DD  08/08/2001 18:31 BNSF# TACBLAIR WA                              TMBL
    ARR  19218  E  ASHTABULA OH ME  08/09/2001 13:57 CSXT# CHICAGO IL
    ARR  19219 Not Found

    Leased units - 7/5/01
    By John Combs (via an anonymous source)
    The Alaska Railroad has leased four locomotives, Helms units 3876 and 3878 and Amtrak F40PHs 315 and 320.  The 320 left town in the company of an SD70MAC Tuesday morning in charge of the Fairbanks train.  On Wednesday the 315 did the same.  The Helms GP38s are the same two they had last year and were pretty good units.  The Alaska Railroad leased them at the same time as the Amtrak units.
    Alaska Railroad begins project that will straighten curves - 7/5/01
    Anchorage Daily News
    The Alaska Railroad has begun construction on a $78 million project to straighten about 70 curves between Anchorage and Wasilla. 

    Crossings along the track also will be improved for increased safety, according to officials with the state-owned railroad. 

    Most of the funding for the project comes from the Federal Railroad Administration, with the railroad matching about 20 percent of the overall cost, railroad officials said. 

    [See story]

    Amtrak locomotives - 7/3/01
    Based on an ARRrailfans Yahoo Club post by Curt Fortenberry
    Due to arrive on Wednesday barge, are 2 Amtrak F40's #315 and 320. These are on temporary lease till the railroads own rebuilt units arrive later in July. Since there is no nose door, they will operate back to back with the SD70's in passenger service.
    Alaska Railroad receives two Amtrak locomotives - 7/3/01
    Based on an email from Shane Durand
    I have caught some interesting sightings lately.  I have attached pictures of Amtrak engines 320 and 315 in the Whittier yard after being offloaded from the rail barge the morning of 6/27.  The engines were dead in tow but I was able to get pictures of them at the point of a freight train.  Kind of neat. These engines are supposed to have been remanufactured and sold to the ARR.  I thaught it was interesting they had not been repainted or at least had the Amtrak removed.  Externaly it didn't look like they had anything done to them.  No fresh paint, new parts etc.  I have also attached pictures of RDC 701 the day it was offloaded in Whittier.



    The information on this page was last updated December 31, 2001