Photos courtesy of Casey Durand
On April 11, 2012 this special MOW movement headed north from the Anchorage Yard. Three GP-40s lead this train in preparations for the break-up of the Susitna River. For several miles the ARRC road bed constitutes one bank of the "Big Sue". It is typical that as the ice goes out in the spring that there are ice-jams that can block the entire channel leading to flooding. It is all to common to have several washouts and/or flooding of the track. For several years the railroad has staged equipment in the area in anticipation of these such events. Recently the railroad has been doing major quarry work at Curry and as a result stockpiled various types of material. The large loader pictured can perform several functions ranging from removal of slides and sluffed banks and hillsides, to loading side-dump cars with rip-rap. If you don't know what rip-rap is just picture a pile of rocks, each the size of a Geo Metro or VW Bug. The excavator pictured is a hugely versatile tool. It can be used to dig drainage ditches, quarry material and place Rip-rap. It is very common that an excavator will build a work pad or the start of a dike where it will sit and begin to place large stones one-by-one, as it builds a stable structure into a flowing river current. The dozer is taken along as kinda the big hammer in the toolbox. When things need to move, the dozer can get it done. Imagine a string of Difco side-dump cars, 20 or more, dumping around the clock, in the same place, every three hours! When panic begins the dozer can push material into the river current, hopefully to either stabilize the bank, or add to a dike or other diversion structure. The dozer can even carry materials from a stock pile or dump site to where it needs to be placed, usually while building an access road behind it.