2012 News Archive
(January - March)
Alaska Railroad faces big cut in budget courtesy US Senate - 3/20/12
Anchorage Daily News

WASHINGTON -- The Alaska Railroad faces a huge budget cut from the U.S. Senate that could mean large-scale layoffs, less passenger service and a default on the state-owned corporation's bonds.

[See story]

Railroad to host Salcha open house - 3/20/12
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
by Staff Reports

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Railroad will host a public open house Wednesday in Salcha to provide an update on construction plans for a bridge than will span the Tanana River in the area.

[See story]

Anchorage Daily News Snow collapses roofs of two Anchorage commercial buildings - 3/10/12
Anchorage Daily News

The roof of an Alaska Railroad storage building at 801 W. First Ave. collapsed under a heavy snow load Wednesday night or early Thursday, and another commercial building in South Anchorage sustained a partial roof collapse Thursday evening.

[See story]

Federal legislation threatens financial stability of Alaska Railroad - 3/10/12
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By Dermot Cole

A plan under review in the U.S. Senate could take a $30 million chunk out of the Alaska Railroad's finances by rewriting a Ted Stevens-era funding formula that provided a boost to Alaska.

[See story]

Alaska Railroad lands federal funding - 3/4/12
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Railroad has been awarded about $820,000 in federal funding to realign a portion of its track along a tributary of the Nenana River, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Friday.

[See story]

Environmental groups challenge Port MacKenzie rail plan - 3/4/12

The nonprofit environmental groups Cook Inletkeeper, the Sierra Club and Alaska Survival are challenging the Surface Transportation Board’s approval of the Port MacKenzie Rail Extension.

[See story]

Alaska Railroad still dreams of commuter service from Valley - 1/20/12
Anchorage Daily News

If there's ever going to be regular commuter rail service between the Matanuska Valley and Anchorage, trains are going to have to cover the distance in less time. Key to that is making tight curves straighter, but the expense of doing that is huge, Alaska Railroad officials tell the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman.

[See story]

Railroad eyes commuter options - 1/20/12

WASILLA - What'll it take to bring commuter rail to the Valley?Quite a bit it turns out, but Alaska Railroad Corp. is working on it.

At an open house discussing Mat-Su and state projects at Evangelo's Restaurant Wednesday, while there weren't many displays strictly talking about commuter rail, a few mentioned it in passing.

[See story]

AKRR engine No. 557 comes home - 1/18/12
Alaska Journal of Commerce
by Jonathan Grass

A blast from the past hit the Alaska Railroad Corp. this month with the return of one of its original steam locomotives. There will be no museum or warehouse destination for it either. Engine No. 557 is ready to be renovated and put into service as a tourism vehicle.

This was Alaska’s last operating steam engine. The locomotive was constructed in the mid-1940s for the U.S. Army, and last operated as part of the railroad in 1957. It was destined for the scrap heap in the early 1960s, but wound up as part of a museum in Moses Lake, Wash., instead. The Jansen family, owners of the Lynden company among other Alaska-based transportation businesses, later purchased the engine from the estate of the museum’s owner.

[See story]

Public invited to railroad open house - 1/14/12
Anchorage Daily News

The Alaska Railroad invites the public to an open house to review and comment on a proposed projects for 2012. The event will be 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Anchorage Historic Depot, 411 W. First Ave. The open house will showcase continuing and proposed capital improvement projects. Project managers will explain projects that are located along the railroad system from Seward to Fairbanks, with emphasis on projects in and around Anchorage, Southcentral Alaska and system-wide.

[See story]

'Ghost train' stops traffic on Richardson Highway - 1/14/12
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
by Sam Friedman

A “ghost train” stopped traffic on the Richardson Highway for about 45 minutes between 12 Mile Village and North Pole Wednesday.

[See story]

ARR plow clears tracks - 1/14/12
Anchorage Daily News

An Alaska Railroad plow clears tracks along the Seward Highway next to Turnagain Arm near Bird.

[See gallery photo]

Historic Alaska Railroad Steam Locomotive Arrives in Anchorage - 1/6/12
By Ted Land

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Steam engine 557, a 69-year-old Alaska Railroad locomotive, rolled into Anchorage for the first time in many years Tuesday.

"It's a pretty big moment for Alaska and the railroad," said David Blazejewski, the Alaska Railroad's transportation superintendent.
Blazejewski gathered along the Seward Highway with several other railroad fans to see the locomotive make its way from Whittier to Anchorage on a flatbed railcar, towed by a pair of diesel locomotives.

[See story]

See also:

Old 557 engine returns but not under its own steam - 1/4/12
Anchorage Daily News

The world was at war when a coal-powered steam locomotive, Alaska Railroad No. 557, arrived in Alaska in December 1944. The engine moved troops and military equipment before shifting to civilian service during peacetime and, eventually, being sold to a private museum in the Lower 48.

[See story]

Sheffield to retire as Anchorage's port director - 1/1/12
by The Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Former Alaska Gov. Bill Sheffield is retiring from his post as director of the Port of Anchorage, port officials announced Thursday.

Sheffield, 83, sent a letter to Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan announcing his plans to retire Jan. 15.

[See story].



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