Photos courtesy of Mark Earnest
No that's NOT fog rising over Cook Inlet! The Alaska Railroad is using a railgrinder to remove irregularities from rail tracks and restore their profile thus extending the life of the rails before they need to be replaced.
Tom Hatfield's additional commentary, "This grinder belongs to Loram; they just recently signed a contract with the ARR where Loram will leave the machine up in Alaska. The ARR does not operate the machine, they only provide a pilot to get track and time, and Loram provides the crew. It’s a smaller version of their Production Mainline Grinder. I'm not sure if it has the capability to grind road crossings and switches. All of our trains except one can do road crossings along with doing the mainline. When it comes to switches and even crossings, you need a smaller machine with smaller stones to get into the confines of all of the switch points and frogs."
"This grinder composes of the power unit for propulsion and electricity, a tool car, water car, and I’m not sure if its one or two grind cars. Loram crews differ from us in that they sleep in hotels, we stay with the train. Funny thing about us, HTT and Loram we are both the largest rail grinding companies in the US and are both located in Minnesota."