All in a Day's Work

Portraying the various types of work and special challenges that occur along the rails of the Alaska Railroad



Until the early 90's, gas cars (aka motor cars) were the only rail vehicle available to track crews as hy-rails were very rare and only assigned to senior officers. This photo was taken in 1980 at Dome while putting the car on the track using the turntable. Dome can be a very cold location and during cold snaps (up to 50 below) it was not unusual for the lubricants to become so stiff that the car could hardly pull more than second gear. There was nothing quite like having the wind blow up and around the cloth curtain at cold temperatures while making a long and torturous trip back to the section house after getting sweaty while working.

It was in the mid 80's when the cloth curtains finally went away and most gas cars were retro-fitted with insulated doors and heaters!

The larger cars had shocks (A-6's) but, the standard section cars were A-4's and didn't. What really made them hard on the butt though was the fact that you sat on wood!