2013 News Archive
(April - June)
Railroad must plan to move - 6/26/13
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
By John Phillips

FAIRBANKS - In the mid-1980s, ownership of the Alaska Railroad was transferred from the federal government to the state of Alaska. Around that time, the technical committee for the Fairbanks Metropolitan Area Transportation System, under the leadership of Mim Dixon, director of planning for Alaska Department of Transportation's Northern Region, undertook an assessment and review of the location and operation of railroad facilities in Fairbanks. The resulting report concluded that the railroad facilities, yard and operations should be relocated from its current location in the heart of Fairbanks to an area south and/or east of town.

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Wedding announcement - Irving/Mund - 6/26/13
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Mathew Mund and Bonnie Irving were united in marriage at 11 a.m. June 22, 2013, in Fairbanks. Both were born and raised in Fairbanks and met during the 2004 Alaska Railroad Tour Guide Training Program.

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Palmer brewery to offer 'Arkose 557 Revival Ale' - 6/22/13

PALMER - Folks looking forward to the day when Alaska Railroad Engine No. 557 may once again chug down the tracks can get a "chugging" advance as part of a unique fundraiser sponsored by Arkose Brewery.

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Barge arrives in Whittier carrying burnt containers full of groceries - 6/21/13
Turnagain Times
By Ken Smith

An Alaska Marine Lines barge arrived in Whittier on or around April 8 with about 30 burnt and melted containers. Work crews attempted to salvage some of the containers and the content inside them using a large Hitachi excavator to break them up in order to remove them, stated an anonymous observer in Whittier.

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DOT Updating Rail Plan, Soldotna Extension Discussed - 6/21/13

Today, members of the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce heard from one of the Special Assistants to the DOT Commissioner, Murray Walsh, about the State Rail Plan currently being developed…

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Alaska Railroad extension project gets under way - 6/1/13
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
The Associated Press

WASILLA, Alaska - A 32-mile stretch of wooded area and wetlands is being cleared to make way for a rail line extension project in Southcentral Alaska that environmental groups tried unsuccessfully to block.

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Children invited to share art that promotes rail safety - 5/28/13
Anchorage Daily News
Alaska Railroad Press Release

The Alaska Railroad (ARRC) and Operation Lifesaver Alaska (OL-AK) chapter are jointly sponsoring a children's art contest aimed at building awareness of important rail safety tips.

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Workers Rebuild WWII-Era Steam Locomotive - 5/15/13
By Photojournalist John Thain

ANCHORAGE - Jeff DeBroeck pulled the air filter out of the engine of the large spreader sitting atop of the rail. "It provides hydraulic power to the spreader." Jeff explained. "Without it, it don't work."

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Tour companies plan to halt 2014 Alaska rail service - 5/5/13
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

FAIRBANKS - A pair of major tour companies plan to abandon their Denali-to-Fairbanks railroad package next summer, instead choosing to bus those visitors north on the Parks Highway.

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Port Mac rail extension work continues this summer - 4/29/13
By Andrew Wellner

HOUSTON - With another $25 million in hand from the state's capital budget, the Mat-Su Borough intends to resume work this summer on its rail link to Port MacKenzie.

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HAP to operate under a separate train - 4/22/13
From an anonymous source
HAP Alaska, Holland America Princess Tour, will no longer run as part of the Denali Star passenger train for the 2014 season. HAP will operate their equipment as a separate train, leaving Anchorage at 9:30 A.M. and unloading at Denali Park about 5:30 P.M. The train will continue empty to be turned on the Wye at Clear/Anderson and then parked and serviced overnight in Healy.
City looks to future of Ship Creek - 4/22/13
Anchorage Daily News

For the past 30 years, people have envisioned big things for Ship Creek, Anchorage's quirky industrial waterfront: an aquarium, a dam, a convention center. In each case, the plans never left the drawing board.

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Alaska Legislature passes capital budget, adjourns - 4/16/13
Anchorage Daily News
By BECKY BOHRER - Associated Press

JUNEAU, ALASKA - The Alaska Legislature late Sunday passed a state capital budget that includes $21 million for school security and other costs. Shortly afterward, both houses adjourned just after 11:30 p.m.

The capital budget, as it left House Finance, totaled $2.2 billion. It was amended on the House floor to add $1.5 million for classroom and school projects and $19.1 million for the Alaska Railroad Corp. for a safety project that co-chair Bill Stoltze called a federal mandate.

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NRHS Offers the Ultimate Alaska Rail Travel Vacation:
Nine Days of Rare Train Rides and Tours - 4/5/13

Public tickets available for September 13-22 convention in Anchorage and Fairbanks, which offers six excursion trains, unique photo opportunities and special tours
PHILADELPHIA, PA / March 29, 2013 – Tickets are selling faster than expected, but it’s not too late to join the 2013 National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) convention in Alaska, featuring rare train rides through spectacular scenery and unique tours of museums.
Over 260 registrants have purchased tickets to the September 13-22 convention and all trains are confirmed to operate. The NRHS convention features six days of special train trips on the Alaska Railroad -- many traveling on routes that don't see regular passenger service -- and all trips will allow passengers to stop and take photos in remote locations normally reserved for publicity photographers and adventurous explorers.
The convention will begin with a “pre-convention” of activities in Fairbanks, followed by a two-day train trip to Anchorage where the main event will begin. Anchorage trains on Sept. 19-21 will feature “Gold Star” service on Alaska full-length dome cars with open-air viewing platforms, lower-level dining space and elevators between floors. Seats on vintage dome cars are sold out, even after adding extra cars. However, coach seats are available for all six excursion trips aboard cars designed for long-distance travel with roomy seating and extra leg room.
“We’re planning several exciting photo stops in scenic locations where regular trains normally fly past,” said Barton Jennings, rail operations chairman for NRHS. “Some of these places have been used by the Alaska Railroad for their own publicity shoots.”
All railroad contracts have been signed and insurance is in place. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the NRHS convention website at: http://www.nrhs.com/news/2013-convention-tickets-sale-now. Visitors can download a summary of trains, tours, activities, lodging, and more. Updates are also posted on the society’s Facebook page.
Tickets are also available for visits to the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry (MATI), plus riverboat and bus tours, an afternoon with an 1899-built steam locomotive, railroad history seminars and the society’s annual banquet.
Chartered trains include:
- A roundtrip excursion from Fairbanks to the community of North Pole, traveling via freight-only trackage. (September 15)
- A two-day train trip from Fairbanks to Anchorage through rugged mountain scenery, with an overnight stop in Denali Park. (September 16-17)
- A one-day roundtrip from Anchorage to the port town of Seward, featuring mountain grades, tunnels, glaciers, and rivers. (September 19)
- A tour of the Alaska Railroad’s Anchorage terminal area via several routes that rarely see passenger service, including a trip into the Mat-Su Valley. (September 20)
- A roundtrip special from Anchorage to the old military port town of Whittier and a side trip to Spencer. The day includes a ride through the Anton Anderson tunnel, the longest combined rail and highway tunnel in North America. (September 21)
Included are numerous stops for photos and to visit historic sites. All registrants will receive a 100-page commemorative book that covers the history of the Alaska Railroad and also serves as a mile-by-mile route guide.
“Whether you are an experienced Alaska traveler or it’s your first visit, this is a rare opportunity to combine tourism and train travel,” said Greg Molloy, president of NRHS. “September is usually peak fall color season, temperatures are cool but pleasant and snow is starting to appear atop the mountains.”
The convention is timed for the September “shoulder season,” when Alaska is less crowded and prices are more economical than during the peak summer period. NRHS has arranged attractive discounts to encourage individual tourism.
Alaska Airlines is the official airline for the convention in Anchorage and Fairbanks. Air travel may be booked at a discounted rate for dates beginning September 7 and ending September 29.
About NRHS

Founded in 1935, the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) is a non-profit organization established to preserve and raise awareness of America’s railroad heritage. NRHS operates historic rail excursions and tours throughout North America and supports more than 160 regional chapters. During the past 10 years, the society has awarded more than $500,000 in railroad preservation grants; it also sponsors RailCamp, a summer orientation program offering high school youth hands-on experience in the railroad industry. For more information, visit www.nrhs.com.

Media Contacts:
Barton Jennings
Chairman, NRHS Rail Operations

Elrond Lawrence
Director, NRHS Public Relations



Page created 5/1/13 and last updated 7/1/13