Photo courtesy of Chris Leenders

No. 4001 the "Spirit of Alaska" (the ARR's SD70MAC class unit) was manufactured at EMD's London, Ontario plant.  It  arrived at London's CP yard on January 3, 2000.  An anonymous source tells of its arrival in Anchorage on February 10, 2000, "Three units came past my house at 11:25 last night, so they were in the yard limit at about 11:30 and stopped in the yard at about 11:45.  When they were spotted to the roundhouse I do not know, but it was before 7 AM.  The first shift hostlers are now washing one of them preparatory to taking it to the depot where it will be clearly visible from the Boardroom of the GOB.  We are having a board meeting today, and I expect it will arrive there at about 9:30, just in time for the board members to see it at their first coffee break."

On April 14, the ARR made their first attempt at distributed power.  Writes, Chris McKeen, EMD field technician, " I headed to the shop to get things set up for the ride south with five locomotives this time. We got everything taken care of and even made it to the 6:00 a.m. safety briefing on time. The plan was simple. The locomotives are privisioned for distributed power and the railroad is interested in buying the system. They wanted to test how running three locomotives on the head end of the train and two on the rear would perform. We headed  south with the 4001 bravely in charge of the 4003 and 4004. 4009 and 4010 were the 'remote' units tacked on the rear of the coal train.  We blazed up Grandview, singling the hill with ease. I was very impressed. We did equally as well going up Divide and were in Seward in no time."

These new locomotives will be the first ones the Alaska Railroad has purchased in fifteen years!

For more information, see my ARR SD70MAC page.

Fun fact: The 4001 received some paint work in 2017 and in the process lost the "Spirit of Alaska" name.