2008 News Archive
(July - September)
Blues cruise - 9/18/08
Anchorage Daily News
By Dawnell Smith

Something about riding the rails conjures up the blues. The rhythm, perhaps, or the way the sway of the train brings out that pleasant kind of melancholy.

People get to talking and thinking on trains -- dancing and drinking too, especially on the Blues Train, an annual autumn overnight trip with the Alaska Railroad. This weekend's journey will put about 250 people onboard with the Rebel Blues band as the train sways through one of the most gorgeous stretches of the Alaska rail system.

[See story]

EMDX 7102 loaded onto Seattle barge - 9/18/08
Submitted by John Taubeneck, our ever vigilant northwest coast correspondent

[This message was received 9/15/08] There was a locomotive on the barge track this morning. It was lettered ElectroMotive #7102 with "repower 710 ECO" on the hood.

[Webmaster's note: The barge Whittier Provider carrying #7102 is due into Whittier on 9/24. The #7102 is a the low emissions rebuild that the ARR testing.]

Railroad, street projects face funding dilemma - 9/18/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Christopher Eshleman

FAIRBANKS — A deputy transportation commissioner for the state has told local officials they can’t spend $2 million in road money to help the Alaska Railroad Corp. reroute future train traffic through Fairbanks.

Local officials this summer voted to give the money — part of a larger pot set aside for big, upcoming projects to rebuild Illinois Street and University Avenue — to the railroad.

[See story]

EMDX 7102 - 9/7/08
Submitted from trainorders.com

From www.trainorders.com

Question: EMDX 7102, one of EMD's 710ECO rebuild demonstrators, just finished up on CP in Calgary. It was in transit to Seattle earlier this week, purportedly for forwarding to the Alaska Railroad. Does anyone know if it has made it south of the US-Canada border yet? And if so, can you tell me where it is?

Answer: EMD is sending it to the Alaska Railroad for free testing. It will be there in 30-90 days. They will be using it in yard service in Anchorage and also to and from Whittier.

Steam Engine #557 sold - 9/4/08
Submitted by an anonymous source

Former Alaska Railroad Steam Engine #557 that was owned by Monte Holm for years before his death has been sold. Ozark Mountain Railcar, the broker who was selling the locomotive for Monte's family has confirmed that it has been sold, however, they will not provide the name of the individual that purchased it.

Washout forces railroad to cancel runs - 9/4/08
Anchorage Daily News

The Alaska Railroad had to cancel its runs to Seward and Grandview today after a 20-foot section of railbed washed out a few miles south of Portage.

The cancellation affected about 140 people and two round-trip itineratries from Anchorage to Seward and from Anchorage to the Grandview railroad stop between Portage and Seward, said railroad spokesman Tim Thompson.

The "Coastal Classic" Anchorage to Seward run at 6:45 a.m. was canceled.

The "Glacier Discovery" Anchorage-to-Grandview run was shortened, Thompson said.

The train left from Anchorage this morning but will will stop in Whittier rather than going all the way to Grandview.

Thompson said the railbed should be repaired by 5:30 tonight.

Car scrapping news - 9/1/08
By John Combs

Here is a list of the cars the Alaska Railroad is scrapping:

Boxcars 10801, 10806, 10807, 10809, 10815, 10819, 10821, 10828, 10830, 10834, 901552

Caboose 1071, 1072, 1074

Flatcar 0047, 95806, 900691, 900686( idler)

Outfit car 1000E, 1306E

Air dump 15761

Hopper 16504

Tank 224997 (ITLR)

Also, the following items are scheduled to be sent to Curry for permanent display:

Caboose 1086, tank car 900688, boxcar 10240, caboose 901039, and rotary 3

Alaska Live Steamers get a new lease on life - 8/28/08
Anchorage Daily News

WASILLA -- The Wasilla Municipal Airport is preparing for expansion and that means the Alaska Live Steamers have to go.

That's steamers, as in trains, not clams. Just south of the Alaska Museum of Transportation and Industry, a miniature train track runs its mile-and-a-half course on land the city has since 1993 provided for free. The aluminum tracks are narrow, separated by just 7.5 inches, and the cars are just wide enough for an adult's rear.

[See story]

Alaska by rail: It's a great way to take in the scenery - 8/19/08
Los Angeles Times
By Chris Erskine

The Alaska Railroad slices up the middle of the state like a bolt of blue-and-yellow lightning, into the belly of a place that is camera-ready and bountiful beyond belief.

The rail line begins in the little seaport of Seward, chug-a-lugs up to Anchorage, past Denali National Park and Preserve and finally to Fairbanks, an almost 500-mile jaunt of day trips throughout Alaska's short, short summer.

[See story]

Tanker crash closes Anchorage-Fairbanks highway - 8/19/08
Tri-City Herald

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A hazardous-materials team on its way to a drill happened upon an overturned methane tanker Monday whose crash cut off the main road and rail links between Alaska's two largest cities.

A team from Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson Army Post was driving in a caravan to Fort Greely for the drill and came upon the scene on the Parks Highway, near Denali National Park between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

[See story]

Railroad researches impact of herbicides - 8/17/08
The Seward Phoenix Log

Ever wonder about the herbicide count lurking in Alaska soil?

Now you can find out when the Alaska Railroad Corp. and University of Alaska Fairbanks conduct a herbicide research project. The duo will gather data regarding the migration and retention of specific herbicides in Alaska soil on four test plots between Portage and Seward. Approximately 4.28 acres will be utilized; an additional site will be located on UAF property.

[See story]

Railroad redevelopment at Ship Creek is eco-friendly - 8/17/08
Anchorage Daily News

Tall, glassy and contemporary buildings are going up in many places around Anchorage, but as the city continues to grow, we should strive to take the eco-friendly approach by renovating what's already here.

That's what the Alaska Railroad is doing at Ship Creek with its historic freight shed. We are taking the old red World War II-era building on First Avenue and recycling it to meet 21st century standards. When the project is done in July 2009, it will bring 36,000 square feet of " market chic" to town, akin to Vancouver's Granville Island or Seattle's Pike Place Market.

[See story]

Cheat eats: Shack burger - 8/14/08
Anchorage Daily News

Shack Burger

Cost: $7.95

Location: Smoke Shack (411 Port Ave., Seward)

Hours: 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily

Options: Dine-in, takeout

Phone: 1-907-224-RIBS (7427)

Just because your life is a train wreck doesn't mean you can't eat a good burger! In fact, the "train wreck," a collection of World War II-era railroad cars at the corner of Fourth and Port avenues in Seward, is home to Smoke Shack, a dining car that will transport you to a better place with its signature Shack Burger.

[See story]

Alaska Railroad names new chief operating officer - 8/13/08
The Seward Phoenix Log

Ernie Piper was named as the Alaska Railroad’s vice president of operations, chief operating officer on July 30, 2008.

Piper began his career with the Alaska Railroad in 1998 as the director of public affairs.

[See story]

Alaska Railroad plans large renovation - 8/12/08
by Lori Tipton

ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- Construction and site preparation will soon begin at the Alaska Railroad's old freight shed in Ship Creek.

The railroad plans to mix old with new by renovating 36,000 square feet of space and also making it environmentally friendly.

[See story]

Alaska Railroad opts for green renovation of historic shed - 8/5/08
Alaska Journal of Commerce
By Margaret Bauman

Construction and site preparation will begin in August at Anchorage's Ship Creek on a renovation project that Alaska Railroad Corp. plans to develop some 36,000 square feet of environmentally friendly commercial office space.

The project is focused on a historical timber-frame freight shed built in 1941, when Alaska was ramping up with construction of the Alaska Highway and World War Two infrastructure. It has been vacant since the early 1980s.

[See story]

Palin declares flooding a disaster - 8/5/08
The Associated Press

.....Officials said flooding stretched across the Tanana River basin to hit cities and villages as far away as the North Slope Borough.

The Alaska Railroad said it was operating freight on its lines, and full passenger service was expected back Tuesday afternoon.

[See story]

Rain, flooding eases in interior Alaska; railroad begins work repairing track - 8/5/08
The Associated Press

Interior Alaska emergency officials say flooding has slowed along most rivers.
High water last week followed the Tanana River from east to west but residents affected in Fairbanks and Salcha saw water levels recede Sunday.

The Alaska Railroad began repairing track that washed out over the weekend near Nenana.

A spokesman says the railroad has tentative plans to resume passenger service north of Denali National Park and Preserve on Tuesday afternoon.

[See story]

Officials assess Interior flood damage - 8/5/08
Anchorage Daily News
The Associated Press

.....Train travel remains at a halt because of flooding on tracks in Nenana. The waters have washed out some of the rail bed, according to railroad officials.

Borough officials have downgraded the number of homes affected by flooding from 500 to 300.

[See story]

Interior rivers recede, flooding woes persist - 8/5/08
by Heather Balderson

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Flood waters in Nenana are beginning to recede enough for Alaska Railroad crews to begin repairs on a section of washed out track. But a small portion of the track remains under water.

The railroad says it plans to resume operations between Nenana and Fairbanks within the next 48 hours so crews can inspect the track and make sure it's safe for travel. 

[See story]

Railroad service halts because of flooding - 8/1/08
Anchorage Daily News

NENANA -- Flooding around Nenana shut down rail service between Anchorage and Fairbanks Thursday and today, according to the Alaska Railroad.

[See story]

Tanana, Salcha rivers flood Interior Alaska - 8/1/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Amanda Bohman and Christopher Eshleman

.....Emergency response authorities had scheduled a public meeting Wednesday evening at Salcha Elementary School to talk about the flooding. And the Alaska Railroad Corp. announced it was stopping some passenger trains and using buses north of Denali Park as a precaution.

[See story]

Historic Seward rail car to get new life as a diner - 7/26/08
The Seward Pheonix LOG

SEWARD -- Out on Lowell Point Road, in a freshly bulldozed area affording prime views of the bay, rests the Alaska rail car that sat on the corner of Third Avenue and Jefferson Street for more than 40 years.

Anchorage businessmen Jack and Mark Powers bought the car last fall after the Chamber of Commerce put it up for sale.

[See story]

Historic Alaska railcar makes tracks to Lowell Point Road - 7/4/08
The Seward Pheonix LOG

Out on Lowell Point Road, in a freshly bulldozed area affording prime views of the bay, rests the Alaska railcar that sat on the corner of Third Avenue and Jefferson Street for more than 40 years.

Anchorage businessmen Jack and Mark Powers purchased the car last fall after the Chamber of Commerce put it up for sale.

[See story]

Head out: Train shows our big -- and small -- wild life - 7/3/08
Anchorage Daily News
With Melissa DeVaughn

We were on the train, chugging along at a speed I could probably beat on my road bike. Immediately after the train ride, we would embark on a 5-hour wildlife-watching cruise in Resurrection Bay. The next day, we would be fishing on the Kenai River.

[See story]



Page created 7/3/08 and last updated 10/6/08