2008 News Archive
(October - December)
Comments sought on Alaska Railroad extension to Delta Junction - 12/27/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Christopher Eshleman

FAIRBANKS - A transportation board has opened the door to comments from anyone interested in the Alaska Railroad’s plan to extend track from North Pole to Delta Junction.

The state railroad corporation already has laid out plans for its proposed 80-mile extension to Delta and for a bridge across the Tanana River to reach military training grounds.

[See story]

Colorado Railcar Manufacturing ceased it's business operations - 12/27/08
From the Colorado Railcar Manufacturing website

Colorado Railcar Manufacturing

ATTENTION: Effective December 23, 2008 Colorado Railcar Manufacturing ceased it's business operations. Colorado Railcar Manufacturing has a major liquidity problem, and it's lenders have a secured position in the assets of the company. The company is in the process of liquidation. The company has no employees effective December 31st, 2008.

Larry E. Salci
President & CEO

Alaska RR DMU 751 Released - 12/27/08
From trainorders.com

The new Alaska double level DMU, ARR 751, named Chugach Explorer, was sitting outside Colorado Railcar awaiting pick-up by the Union Pacific in Fort Lupton, CO. Sadly this will be the last DMU/project for Colorado Railcar since their demise that has been covered pretty well on Trainorders lately.

[See story]

Westside Express deal cost TriMet millions - 12/27/08
The Oregonian
By Les Zaitz

TriMet pumped millions of dollars into a shaky Colorado company in recent months, keeping it alive despite mismanagement so it could finish the agency’s new commuter rail cars.

The agency handed $5.5 million to the nearly bankrupt Colorado Railcar Manufacturing on top of $17 million awarded to the company for four specialized cars. TriMet expected to easily reclaim $3 million of the extra payments, but a court fight jeopardizes that hope.

[See story]

Colorado Railcar has ceased operations - 12/24/08
From trainorders.com

Word has it that Colorado Railcar has ceased operations and has terminated all employees as of yesterday.

Can find nothing. Believe it would be rumor, since there is still at least one car in the works for Alaska RR. Probably a holiday shutdown?

Wikipedia is now claiming that Colorado Railcar was forced to close on 12/22/08 citing a "Memorandum to Colorado Railcar Manufacturing Employees, dated Dec 22, 2008." However, this line is not linked to the document, so I can not do any verification of this claim.

TriMet and Alaska RR seemed to have purchased most of the assets, both have a vested interest in the products so I can only hope that there is promise there that when they can they will relaunch the company better organized and expanded... Lord knows we need a USA-based car manufacturer out there.

[Webmaster's note: I can confirm Colorado Railcar Manufacturing no longer exists.]

State, Flint Hills continue royalty oil price talks - 12/15/08
Alaska Journal of Commerce
By Patricia Liles

Despite a steadily declining price for crude oil in recent weeks, the state of Alaska and Flint Hills Resources continue talks on the refiner's request for reductions in its purchase of North Slope-produced royalty oil processed in the company's North Pole plant.

“It appears they have been doing fairly poorly, although they are doing better as the oil price declines,” said Kevin Banks, director of the state Division of Oil and Gas. “We're still working to get our arms around to what extent any changes in our contract might help them.”

[See story]

Refinery operator says funding out - 12/12/08
Anchorage Daily News
The Associated Press

FAIRBANKS -- The operator of a North Pole refinery says it has decided not to invest additional resources into the plant, but is in talks with the state about ways to keep it open.

Flint Hills Resources says the refinery has lost money over the past year while the company considered whether to sell it, close up shop or invest in major upgrades to make it more profitable.

[See story]

State is fighting to save Flint Hills - 12/12/08
By Corey Allen-Young

As billion dollar bailouts keep getting voted on in Washington D.C., the state of Alaska is working to save one of its vital resources. The Flint Hills North Pole refinery could face a shut down with dismal market conditions and high state royalty oil costs to blame. However, the state says that won't happen.

[See story]

Alaska officials, Flint Hills in talks about future of North Pole refinery - 12/11/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Rena Delbridge 

FAIRBANKS -- Flint Hills Resources Alaska has decided not to sink more money into its North Pole refinery, but is talking to the state about ways to keep the facility open, including the possibility of public ownership.

Faced with serious challenges, the refinery has been losing money for the last year while the company considers whether to sell, close up shop or invest in major upgrades to flip the operational economics.

[See story]

Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce unveils legislative wish list - 12/5/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Rena Delbridge 

FAIRBANKS The development of natural gas resources and construction of transportation infrastructure are among the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce's top priorities for the upcoming legislative session. In particular, the chamber is calling on the state to cooperate with other stakeholders in natural gas development. Upgrades to transportation facilities along a proposed gas line corridor are another priority. Those improvements include work along the Dalton, Richardson and Alaska highways, extension of the Alaska Railroad to tidewater ports, and improvements to airports in Fairbanks and Deadhorse.

The board approved a resolution supporting the Matanuska-Susitna Boroughs efforts to extend the Alaska Railroad line to Port MacKenzie. The borough is seeking a $57 million appropriation in the state budget for studying a rail extension.

[See story]

Alaska Guard completes simulated nuclear attack - 12/4/08
by Channel 2 News Staff

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Clad in full protective gear, the Alaska National Guard's 103rd Civil Support Team responded to a simulated attack on a party at the Alaska Railroad depot Tuesday night.

The training helps ensure the guard is ready to defend against nuclear, chemical, and biological attacks.

[See story]

Future of North Pole Refinery in question - 12/3/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Rena Delbridge

FAIRBANKS — Market conditions are driving the temporary shutdown of a Flint Hills Resources chemical plant in Texas, while the future of the company’s North Pole oil refinery remains in question.

Flint Hills Resources has started closing down its Port Arthur, Texas, chemical plant because of a general economic slump and poor market conditions for the plant’s products, said Katie Stavinoha, spokeswoman for Flint Hills’ parent company, Koch Industries.

[See story]

Alaska Railroad releases annual print - 12/1/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Staff Report 

FAIRBANKS - The Alaska Railroad Corporation will unveil its 2009 annual poster and print in December. Wasilla artist Taffina Katkus will be available to sign the works from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Fairbanks depot at 1745 Johansen Expressway.

[See story]

All aboard the Santa Train - 12/1/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Glenn Burnsilver 

FAIRBANKS - When Santa arrives at Pioneer Park Saturday it wont be on a reindeer-pulled sleigh, as would be expected. Instead, in conjunction with the Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad, Santa will arrive via train.

But before preparing for girls and boys (and some adults too) to share their Christmas wishes, Santa hops back aboard.

[See story]

The return of #3004 - 11/6/08
Submitted by John Taubeneck, our ever vigilant northwest coast correspondent
The ARR #3004 looks to have gone onto a barge yesterday. There were eight new truck mounted hydraulic cranes on Harbor Island yesterday, one per flat car. Three were gone today. It looks like there at least another barge load of rail cars to go north.

Flint Hills closes Texas plant; North Pole refinery under review - 11/6/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Staff report   

FAIRBANKS — Flint Hills Resources, which operates the North Pole refinery that supplies much of Alaska’s jet and home heating fuel, is closing an Odessa, Texas, chemical plant.

A significant amount of investment needed to position the plant for success prompted the decision, the plant manager stated in a press release.

[See story]

Broken door closes tunnel to Whittier - 10/29/08
Anchorage Daily News   

The Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel to Whittier has been closed indefinitely due to a malfunctioning door within the tunnel, according to Rick Feller, Alaska Department of Transportation spokesman.

[See story]

Rail expansion chugs along - 10/23/08
By Andrew Wellner

PALMER — The Mat-Su Borough has accepted $17.5 million in state money to work on a portion of a proposed rail extension to Port MacKenzie.

[See story]

Budd RDCs retired - 10/18/08
By John Combs  
The Budd RDCs went to Fairbanks for their annual inspections and maintenance. It was determined their electrical problems were just too costly to be repaired economically so they are all going to be retired immediately. All four have made their last revenue trips and now will be put out for bid.
ARR 655 and 656 on the way - 10/18/08
By Jerry Percell

From this afternoon [10/17/08] at Denver Union Station - photo #1, photo #2 and a little something for your Christmas wish list - how about an ARR pickup? That Tundra is a long way from the frozen north!

[Webmaster's note: I had my wife add it onto this year's Christmas list]

Group looks to state for help with railroad rerouting project - 10/16/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Christopher Eshleman

FAIRBANKS — A group of transportation officials in Fairbanks indicated Wednesday they would ask the state for help with a plan to lay new train tracks through town.

It’s a project that can use all the help it can get: A massive proposal to one day reroute trains around the southern tip of Fairbanks.
The Alaska Railroad Corp. operates the only train track in the Fairbanks area. The track bisects much of Fairbanks and, to the dismay of some, carries train cars past residential neighborhoods.

[See story]

Latest Rumors - 10/12/08
By John Combs  

Although there isn't any snow on the ground, you are going to see Rotary #3 out on the rails soon. Word has it this historic item will be heading from the Anchorage Yard to Curry Wednesday morning for permanent display.

All four MP15s may be retired soon. GP40 numbers 3002, 3004, 3005 on lease in the lower 48 will be recalled and will cascade into yard service.

The ARR has a request for proposal for a locomotive Collision Avoidance System (CAS) installation on forty-five locomotives and two cab control units.All work will be performed in the ARRC's Electrical and Diesel Shops.

Build railroad - 10/12/08
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Mark Oppe, North Pole   

To the editor:

The energy rebate was a good attempt to help Alaskans get through this winter. Alaskans realize, however, that long-term solutions are needed. The gas line, a gasification plant, and expanded oil exploration and drilling will all eventually provide energy relief.

[See story]

Music lovers get on board the Blues Train to Seward - 10/2/08
The Seward Phoenix Log

"All aboard!" a distant voice shouts over murmurs rising from people awaiting the train's departure. "It's the best deal in Alaska," one voice proclaims, "you're going to have a blast."

Rebel Blues entertained nearly 200 people as the annual Blues Train pulled away from Anchorage on Sept. 20 and wound its way through Alaska wilderness heading south to Seward.

[See story]



Page created 10/3/08 and last updated 12/31/08