ARR 4015 leads coal empties north at Matanuska Junction bound for the mine at Healy.

I had received word that this train was called for 1600L, but it wasn't until almost 2 hours later that it rounded the bend and came into view just as the window of sunlight was about to close.

Matanuska Junction is where the Palmer Branch, seen in the upper left, splits off of the mainline and heads toward its namesake town. The Palmer Branch sees very little, if any, activity during the winter, but is quite busy in the summer as it hosts gravel trains during the busy construction season. In addition, passenger trains will run the Palmer Branch to serve the Alaska State Fair held in late summer.

The mountains in the background are the western edge of the Chugach Mountains. Back in there and out of view is the Knik River which leads to the famous Knik Glacier. I've never been back there on the ground, but have flown over the glacier numerous times.

Glad I was able to catch this train as my coverage north of Anchorage has been somewhat of a rarity. I hope to change that this year. - Chris Paulhamus, 3/3/14

Photo courtesy of Chris Paulhamus