Welcome to the Alaska Railroad Picture of the Week archives. A photograph is truly worth a thousand words. The Picture of the Week page began on February 16, 1998 with Jeff Child's photo of the Alaska Railroad's first locomotive, number 1. Since that time, professional photographers, railfans, Alaska Railroad employees, historians and passengers have sent a multitude of prints, slides, scanned images and digital photographs. Unfortunately, I can only post a fraction of what I receive due to lack of time. Sit back, relax and enjoy!
Picture of the Week Archives: 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013
Ever wonder why you don't see many photos of the Alaska Railroad in the winter time? Well, for one, the tourists are gone which means less cameras by the tracks to catch any action. Another reason is the weather. If it's not snowing it's probably gonna be cloudy; sunny days are at a premium up here. Another reason is there's very little daylight to play with. The sun comes up mid-to-late morning and is setting before 4 PM. In other words, it's dark when you go to work, and it's dark when you leave. The biggest factor though is simply the lack of trains. This winter, the Alaska Railroad runs one passenger train a week, and it happens to run under the cover of darkness into and out of Anchorage and Fairbanks. They also generate one to two freight trains per week which run during the weekdays, so unless you have off of work, you're not seeing them. In order to get a shot, you need a multitude of factors to come together perfectly like they did here the day after Christmas as ARR 3008 leads a freight train to Whittier and a waiting barge. Well, almost perfectly...even though it's just after noon, the sun is still below the Kenai Mountains there in the background! 12/26/13
|01/13||Casey Durand||A clean rail yard is a happy rail yard. This can be a rather tall order when Mother Nature decides to dump a bizillion snowflakes in it! However, it is essential to keep the yard clear for transportation crews, operators, mechanics, security, TOFC operation, etc. The Alaska Railroad uses a wide variety of equipment as Casey Durand shows in the photos below. The first is a Kamatsu wheel loader with a modified front bucket (1) for the bigger stuff followed by a Case 721F wheel loader (2) for tighter areas. A Caterpillar 14H grader (3) is good for clearing snow off the rails while a Bobcat T300 Compact Track Loader (4) is good for clearing it between them. And let's not forget the switches!(5) Sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones as a stiff bristled hand broom will do the job. Now that the yard is all nice and tidy let's go for a coffee break!|
|01/20||Jonathan Fischer||Here's an image from June of 1983 of the twin bicentennial units rounding the curve at Eklutna with a summer southbound passenger train. Note the cat in the foreground.|
|01/27||Ron Lafleur||With Alaska having winter temperatures warmer than a lot of the lower 48 states I felt it is only appropriate to showcase a snowless shot. This photo was submitted by Art Chase with permission of Ron Lafleur. Art relays the story that Ron had just made it out to the Riley Creek bridge with less than five minutes to spare when the train came into view. It was definitely an awesome catch! September 2012|
|02/03||Laura Combs||Many thanks to those who sent me photos of GP40 #3015 for my birthday! I have posted three of my favorites. My daughter Laura made this fabulous piece of artwork featuring No. 3015 for my 54th birthday. What a lucky dad I am! The entire piece of artwork was done on canvas and is suitable for framing.|
|02/03||Robert Krol||No. 3015 heading up a freight leaving Whittier for Anchorage. Her number board a little touch up work! 7/15/09|
Number 3015 taking the lead on the ski train to Grandview. Stewart says of his photo, "The Nordic Ski Club sponsored this every year and tickets were very sought after. I went two years as my brother-in-law was on the ski-patrol for them. " 3/15/90
Webmaster's note: I didn't know the ski train ever went to Grandview so I asked retired Alaska Railroad Vice President of Corporate Affairs James Blasingame for historic input.
"Originally it traveled to the Curry Resort back in the 1950's. Eventually it was decided to change to the Grandview area because of the shorter distance and abundance of snow. The Nordic Ski Club actually preferred the Grandview area.
"However in early 2002-2003 time period it was switched back to the Curry area. The reason for going back to Curry had to do with changing warmer weather patterns on the south end of the line (Grandview). As you may recall there was a disastrous freight derailment in the early 2000 when we dumped a bunch of building materials in the Grandview area due to a massive snow avalanche and we then decided that we needed to rethink taking a train load of passengers in the Grandview area during the spring time area because of the potential liability in the event that we suffer a similar derailment due to snow avalanches.....
"Our decision was based on potential derailments due to snow avalanches and warming trends during the early spring weather etc... Alaska has been experiencing very heavy snowfall early in the winter months followed by warming temperatures which makes for larger snow slides coming down the mountain side in the Grandview area. A week ago the weather in Alaska rose into the 50's with a disastrous snow slide on the Richardson highway which had cut off the Community of Valdez by the road system. That was a week ago and the town is still isolated because of this avalanche which is massive in size. It's all because of the recent warming trends we have been experiencing all over the State. " - James Blasingame
|02/10||Jonathan Fischer||Jonathan Fischer says of his photo, "Here's ARR #4326 leading the northbound passenger train through the Nenana Canyon on 6/7/13. I hope to photograph from new locations such as this, this year."|
|02/17||William Evans||William "Bill" Evans says of his photos (1, 2), "This was sitting at the siding at Indian Creek siding while the crew was working at Indian Creek. There was really no good advantage view of the new bridge construction. Fish & Game worked with the Alaska Railroad to remove the culverts and install a new bridge crossing Indian Creek." 2/8/14|
|02/24||Frank Keller||"The weather as well as the Alaska Railroad hasn't cooperated much this year, well at least in so far as allowing me to combine the two for a decent photo. But at long last the two come together as we see Alaska Railroads version of heritage units, two original paint GP40-2s hustle a train south destined for the Canadian barge in Whittier and a trip across the Gulf of Alaska back to home rails." 2/11/14|
Sometimes you just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Suddenly your smile turns to a frown as you realize you don't have your camera with you. Drats! On February 16th at 5:30 AM as Robert Krol prepared to head to Anchorage for his Princess Safety Class he picked up the camera bag and then decided he didn't need it. During his drive he rounded a corner and saw a full moon sitting just above the water on Cook Inlet. Soon he passed a siding holding a Maintenance of Way train and realized he could have gotten a shot of the moon rising over its caboose. Drats!
As Robert approached Beluga Point on February 27 he spied a freight train headed up by GP40 #3008. He did indeed have his camera with him, but couldn't take photos as he was driving. However, he did have RaeEllen Kurendoerfer with him and she hung out the window with his camera to grab a few shots (1, 2). The locomotive engineer saw her noble effort and rewarded her with blast from horn. Right place, right time....and this time with a camera!
The Hurricane Turn is a passenger train which operates a round trip schedule between Talkeetna and Hurricane Gulch. This unique train serves not only tourists, but also rail belt residents and outdoor enthusiasts. Passengers can hop off anywhere and later wave a white cloth for pick up. It's common to see residents loading up the baggage car with supplies and housewares to transport to their remote cabins. On my "Turn" trips I've seen groceries, water pipes, stoves, kitchen cabinets, a deep freezer, canoes, unloaded firearms and dogs. If you've taken this trip, what unusual things have you seen loaded on board?
Railroad Mike says of his photo, "This was taken on Saturday March 23, 2013, after the northbound Curry Ski train passed by. Shown is Conductor Harry Ross, (at left) and Lead Ticket Agent Jack MacDonald (in orange).
|03/17||Frank Keller||Frank Keller says of his photo, "The weather man said 2-5 inches of snow last night clearing into sunshine for Saturday. Well I would guess we got a good 12 inches, so when I found out the coal train was called late I decided to see what things looked like down south. Sun was just clearing the Chugach Mountains at Beluga so I continued south, saw a few good size drifts at Brookman so waited for the train there. I wasn't disappointed. It looks Engineer Tony Aron, Conductor Leon Butler and Brakeman Jason White had a beautiful snow filled trip to Seward. Seen here bucking snow at Brookman on what turned out to be a pretty nice Saturday." 3/15/14|
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. 3/3/14
|03/31||Mike Gerenday||Warp Speed Gordon was taken on Friday, September 13, 2013. That day my lady and I were on the Hurricane Turn. Conductor Warren Redfearn was on the overhead and mentioned it was Friday the 13th and it wouldn't affect the train. Well it did. Number 3009 broke down and we made it as far as the Winter Talkeetna Depot. Three hours later Warren ordered the train to limp back to the Summer Depot, let off passengers and limp to the house track. He told us they were sending an engine from Healy which is why I have pictures of a double headed Hurricane Turn. At seven o'clock the Hurricane Turn ran as far as Twin Bridges in the Indian River Canyon. It was too late to go all the way, but it was still a great run. Warp speed Gordon was taken in the Indian River Canyon with Gordon Larson as engineer. I think it was mile post 272. Ever since then, I have called that run the Friday the 13th Train. Even on the Hurricane Turn you can't tempt fate.|
|04/07||Stewart Sterling||Back in 2001 the ARRC decided to combine freight and passenger trains on a limited basis. This move allowed for greater efficiencies, consistent marketing and improved scheduling. Stewart Sterling caught this mixed train (1, 2, 3) outside the back of Engine 557 Restoration Company house in Wasilla on March 29, 2014.|
|04/14||Jonathan Fischer||Applicants for President of the Railroad should be aware that along with a business car the railroad also has a boat and trailer at the disposal of the Chief Executive. Here's ARR 97823 with said boat and trailer at Hurricane on the evening of June 6, 2013.|
|04/21||Frank Keller||"Another beautiful day in the Anchorage area and me with a day off. So after waking up around noon, doing some chores, I headed out around 5 to see what I could find. Located a few moose but nothing really photographable so changed course and headed north. I figured with the change to daylight savings time I might be able to grab a shot of the southbound Aurora. Which I did seen here beneath the shadow of Pioneer Peak at about MP 144.8 — at North of Eklutna, AK." 3/9/14|
|04/28||Mike Gerenday||Saturday April 19 the Discovery Channel film crew (Railroad Alaska season 2) was at the winter Talkeetna Depot filming a couple of ''Bushrat'' locals that were heading up the tracks north of Curry and such other places. It was kind of funny watching the film crews coordinate this scene of a ''Bushrat'' meeting a new person going on the train like they never met before, but I knew like those two did that they were neighbors. The train came in a little late but wasted no time loading passengers and headed off into the beautiful Saturday sunshine. (1, 2, 3)|
|05/05||Rich Holzapfel||Work train rescuing the signal techs near MP 133 crossing, September 2005! (1, 2, 3, 4)|
|05/12||Matt Leistico||ARR open house #1: Guess which locomotive lead the free train rides? Yes, my favorite locomotive #3015.|
|05/12||Jim Somerville||ARR open house #2: Do you suppose if free trains rides were offered, would anyone show up? The ride line stretched all the way around the depot!|
|05/12||Terry Douglas||ARR open house #3: There was lots of stuff for the children including a mobile magician, a moose and a friendly eagle.|
|05/12||Stewart Sterling||ARR open house #4: "Extra 557 Returning" oil painting was revealed sharply at 5:57 p.m. inside the depot. Artist, J. Craig Thorpe made a brief presentation followed by recognition of major in-kind contributors.|
Terry Douglas says of his photos, "I thought I'd send a picture of the Ship Creek bridge in Anchorage. It doesn't get much coverage, I notice. Granted, it is not spectacular, and is set in a muddy industrial setting. However it does often host a range of ARR Locos and Freight/Passenger cars.
"I dropped [my wife] Cynthia at work this morning, and took my camera down to the banks of Ship Creek to see what was happening. It is a beautiful day here today (5/2/14), and even the humble Ship Creek bridge looked nice (to me at least). I got my shoes pretty muddy, but I was rewarded with a set of 4 Locos (4003, 4327, 3010 and 2007), and some Oil cars on the bridge. Adds some color to the industrial city scape!"
|05/26||Art Chase||Art Chase says of his photos (1, 2, 3), "John, look who I caught poking her face out in the light this morning. She is at Alaska Industrial Paint in Anchorage." GP40 #3012 is the last GP40 in the old 'bold' Alaska scheme and the first locomotive to be repainted in Alaska in quite a few years. Does anyone know the year of the last "in state" paint job? I know it was prior to 2006 as I went to Horicon to watch the repainting of 3002, 3004 and 3005.|
|06/02||Jaz||SD70MAC numbers 4321& 4012 are the head end of a freight bound for Whittier. Smoke from the Funny River fire obscures the mountains and glacier at Twentymile River on Turnigan Arm. Shot from the Seward Highway. 5/27/14 [Webmaster note: The Funny River wildfire began on May 19, 2014 near Soldotna and has currently burned more than 300 square miles on the Kenai Peninsula.]|
|06/09||Mike Gerenday||Numbers 4318 and 3010 lead up the Coastal Classic, shown here on the Jessie Lee Main in Seward. Mount Marathon is in the background and shadows over the locomotives in a beautiful Alaskan setting. 5/12/14|
|06/16||Chris Paulhamus||The Coastal Classic is working its way north toward Anchorage after spending the day down in Seward. Portage, 5/12/14|
|06/23||David Rohdenburg||From the Last Frontier to the Buckeye State...the three former USRP/ARR GP49's for the new Cincinnati East Terminal Railway (CCET) are now finally all on the property, and are awaiting some work and inspections before entering service. In the meantime, the leased RJ Corman GP38 will continue to serve the CCET's motive power needs until at least one of the GP49's are up and running. In this view are all three GP49's: 2807, 2806, and 2803, with the RJCC 3863 visible at the end of the row, resting in Ancor Siding on a warm Ohio Valley spring day, something these Alaska units probably aren't used to! Newton, Ohio, 5/23/14|
|06/30||Terry Combs||Sometimes you just get lucky. My wife Terry and I had just entered Denali National Park and stumbled upon the Denali Star passenger train as it reached the crossing on the main park road. I took a haphazard photo and it looked pretty lousy. "Let's chase it north!" my amazing wife said. It took us a bit to turn around and then to wait for the buses ahead of us to stop at the empty crossing. I figured there was no way we would catch it. After hedging the speed limit a tad through "Glitter Gulch" we reached a pull off where a few DOT workers stood. "Did you see a train pass through here? A few minutes ago, eh? Thanks!" So we blazed down the road and spotted the train as it passed through the Nenana River Canyon MP 352. There was no way I could park the car and scramble up the hill in time so Terry offered to snap the shot. And what a great shot it was! Additionally, it has special meaning for me as this location was the first "Rosters > On The Rails" photo I ever posted on this website. 6/17/14|
|07/07||Chris Paulhamus||Deep inside the confines of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, right in the heart of bear country, ARR 4326 leads the southbound Denali Star over the rarely photographed Eagle River bridge as a group of kayakers floats by underneath. The Star is 30 minutes from its destination in downtown Anchorage. 6/4/14|
|07/14||Frank Keller||So far this summer the Anchorage area is off to a wet start with plenty of rain and more in the forecast. So, in searching the archives I found this shot of a southbound coal train at Bird Point on what looks to have been a glorious spring morning. Unfortunately for me it looks like I have a few more nights of looking through the archives. 3/12/13|
|07/21||Robert Krol||I am always on the hunt for a unique Picture of the Week. This was a rare one indeed as the Holland Cruise Train was taken from aboard the Holland America Oosterdam cruise ship anchored in Seward. Robert says of his photo, " I can only get this view if a coal ship is in. They use the other side of the dock if there is no coal ship. The Holland Cruise Train travels from Seward to Anchorage, unloads, reloads and gets back to Seward around 5:00 PM. They use the entire MEX (McKinley Express) train as the Cruise Train. In past years Holland only used about four cars, but now it is the whole thing. If it is sunny in two weeks then I will reshoot the photo with my T4i." Of course I also love this photo as it features my favorite locomotive #3015! 6/29/14|
Well my wife and I just got back from a wonderful three week Route 66 trip from Chicago to Los Angeles. We got to experience so much Americana with each stop being unique according to the geographical area. I guess that is one of the great things about our country. Everywhere you go is an adventure.
I've been Facebook friends with Alaskan Nancy Stewart for a while now. Not only is she an accomplished photographer, but she lets all of her Facebook friends experience the adventure of Alaska. Blooming flowers, breaching whales, babbling brooks, ice blue glaciers, swimming pool drinking moose, snow buried forests, sun snoozing bear.....I could go on and on. Her June 20th photo of an Alaska Railroad freight winding its way up Turnagain Arm really caught my eye and I knew I had to share this adventure with all of you. Enjoy!
|08/04||Jonathan Fischer||Shortly after meeting Mark Hemphill we set out on a day long adventure following the weekend northbound passenger train. For obvious reasons this shot is a solid member of my Hall of Fame collection of ARR slides. This is why I've always wanted to get back there. Note the section house was extant at that time. The date is November 1984.|
|08/11||Jaz||This week's photo comes to you via Photoshop on steroids! ;-) It was taken by the coach shop in Seward. New coach wheels stand ready on the track next to an old box car.|
Once the trio of DPUs passed over the Upper Trail Lake bridge in Moose Pass, I gathered up my stuff and headed back for the car, hoping that traffic would still be light as I made my way for Primrose and the Snow River. I assumed the rest of the chase would be leap-frog railfanning as I'd be scrambling to get in front and into position before the train arrived, which also meant that there would be no more video as time was no longer a luxury. I wasn't too worried about Primrose as far as time went, I knew I could out-pace the train there, but it was more about the sun angle. I had looked at sun angle software the evening prior, but I was assuming a 0545L departure out of Anchorage. I did know any time later in the morning would be beneficial angle-wise.
When I got to the Snow River bridge, the sun was angled slightly behind the train, but it would make for a nice broader-side shot. Now the question became would I have enough uncluttered space to catch the power on my side of the river. The shrubs and evergreens are growing taller and encroaching on the scene, but at least for this day, they weren't quite tall enough to ruin the shot.
Description: Export coal loads cross the partially-frozen Snow River on their southbound journey to Seward. Once across the river, this train will hit grades over 2%; one of the reasons these coal trains are bulked up with 6 SD70MACs running 3x3. 3/8/14
"Here's s sparkly ARR 3012 (1, 2) all ready to news'ify on your website! The nose herald and number boards are the same type and style as the 3007 and 3008. The cab numbers appear to be a slightly different font and perhaps larger/thicker than other GP40 examples. Things to note:
- Silver horns! Not sure if they all start out silver and fade over time or what.
|08/25||Casey Durand||Noon on Friday the NB Alaska State Fair special leaves Anchorage lead by freshly painted #3012. The unit was the last GP-40 in the BOLD blue and gold paint. This is the first piece of railway equipment to receive a full recoating, from sandblast to decals, done in state in over 20 years. Completed with enough time to serve some dirty jobs along the system in general service, a decision was made to retain the unit to the shops. This decision resulted in the cleanest locomotive to serve on the special commuter train. Saving gas and parking fees the $12 ticket price is quite the deal. A schedule of the fair train and fair activities can be found online here.|
|09/01||John Combs||I have taken tens of thousands of Alaska Railroad train photos, but we got a first today...Alaska Railroad locomotives in Ohio! The Cincinnati East Terminal Railway purchased ex-ARR GP49 numbers 2803, 2806 and 2807 in April 2014 and my wife and I drove down there today (8/31/14) to take a peek. CCET's Railroad Director gave us an escorted tour and answered all our questions. Number 2807 is in service, but 2803 and 2806 are down and will soon be headed out for repair work.|
|09/08||Mike Gerenday||Mike Gerenday's photo captures the Alaska Railroad's delivery of equipment to one of the environmental study sites for the proposed Susitna-Watana hydroelectric project. If approved, this $5.2 billion project would construct a 735-foot high dam with a reservoir 42 miles long and a mile wide. There are currently a total of 58 individual studies involving over 300 scientists, geologists, archeologists and biologists. These studies will attempt to determine the effect the dam would have on wildlife including Chinook salmon. For more of Mike's photos click here. 5/27/14|
|09/15||Frank Keller||Interestingly ARR 4321 was the lead locomotive on engineer Jeff Snyder's last run on the Alaska Railroad. It was as if it was counting down to Jeff's retirement. The September 4th Coastal Classic was Jeff's last run as he is pulling the pin after 36 years with the ARR. It was a beautiful night and we were able to capture many great images for Jeff.|
|09/22||Casey Durand||This sequence of photos (1, 2, 3, 4) taken from the parking lot at Municipal Light and Power (ML&P) shows an empty cylindrical hopper returning from Alaska Mill and Feed via the Anchorage Power Utilities (APU) spur. 9/14|
|09/29||Chris Paulhamus||ARR 4322 leads the daily HEX (Healy EXpress) train north out of Anchorage and bound for McKinley/Talkeetna/Somewhere Up North. The train is crossing over Ship Creek right near downtown Anchorage. This shot is taken from a pedestrian overpass over the creek and the tracks, and more specifically, where I'm standing is right outside of a houseless person's home under the bridge. Fortunately that individual wasn't home when I stopped by so I was able to get the shot. I've been wanting a shot from here for 2 years and haven't been able to secure it (not because of the homeless folks but because of the light and shadow challenges at this location). 7/4/14|
|10/06||Kevin C.||The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) special agents are charged with the protection of the general public, employees, customers and corporate assets. There can be quite a bit of variety in their mission such as urging rail fans and photographers to ahere to safety guidelines, providing security to visiting dignitaries or patrolling the woods looking for hunters who illegally use the railroad tracks. Kevin C. captured his "SUV under Security Sign" photo just a short walk down from the Anchorage depot on May 21, 2014. Click here to view a list of desired skills and experience for a special agent.|
Frank says of his unusual photo, "I was looking around for the old octagonal water tank that is supposedly on the Register of Historical Places and is in Willow somewhere according to the ADN. While looking for that I ran across this old US Army boxcar that someone attached to their house as an add-on. If anybody knows where the octagonal water tank is located I would be grateful for the information."
Here is a bonus photo - ARR 3009 sits atop the Hurricane Bridge on a somewhat gloomy day. The top of the rail sits 296' above the ground and is a marvel of engineering.
|10/20||Mike Criss||A striking photo of SD70MAC #4319 at the crossing of the Parks Highway just south of the Talkeetna turnoff. 2008|
|10/27||Mike Gerenday||"Railroad" Mike Gerenday has spent the summer in the Hurricane area working on an Alaska Railroad Maintenance of Way (MoW) crew. He just sent us a bunch of photos of MoW equipment which I'll get onto the website in the next week or so. For now here a shot of a Nordco spike puller which was part of a Tie Gang going south after replacing ties. It can pull two spikes simultaneously from each side of the rail, for a total of four spikes at one time. Since claw fingers grasp spikes under the head while the workhead assembly pulls straight up, spikes stay straight and re-usable. Snoopy's brother would not have liked this piece of equipment.|
|11/03||Jonathan Fischer||Jonathan Fischere says of his photo, "Here's the Healy Express (the HEX) heading south as it rounds the grand curve just south of Healy on June 6, 2014 at 8:30 AM. This location is fairly easy to get to and has limitless opportunities for both north and southbound trains. It's one of my favorite spots." To learn more about the HEX check out ARR conductor James Ogden's commentary.|
Chris Paulhamus says of his photo, "Final shot I have of 3012 in her debut out of the paint shop. If nothing else, this shot shows the subtle contrast between the MAC and Baby MAC schemes. BTW, this very well could be the last ARR photo I'll ever take...kinda depressing to admit. We'll see though!" August 28, 2014
[Webmaster's note: As a betting man my money is on Chris's eventual return.]
|11/17||Mike Gerenday||Conductor Ken E. Smith is showing the warmth of the Alaska Railroad. This is Ken's last working week, retiring with over 35 years non stop, and he is keeping it classic to the end. 10/22/2014.|
In 1961 Lays introduced its best-known potato chip slogan "betcha can't eat just one." And so it goes with Alaska Railroad Conductor James Ogden's recently submitted photos. I couldn't post just one.
James says of his photos, "I spent most of the summer 2014 working the extra board, in Anchorage, but in August, I got force assigned to the Fairbanks. I was up there for a week before getting forced back to Anchorage. Whenever we get forced out of town like that, we get 24 hours to get to our new assignment. I am not normally one to spend time trackside to get a photo of a train, but Riley Creek was one spot I did want to photograph. On my return to Anchorage, I decided to capitalize on the 24 hour allowance, and planned to stop at Denali Park. It was a Saturday, so the passenger trains would be plentiful. I left Fairbanks early, anticipating delays from construction, which were surprisingly light. I ended up with plenty of time to hike down to Riley Creek once I arrived at the park. All photos were taken on 23 August, 2014."
Photo 1 - The northbound Denali Star crosses Riley Creek bridge.
|12/01||Terry Douglas||Terry Douglas took this very striking photo near Canyon while on the Hurricane Turn on November 6, 2014. For more of his photos check out his Winter Hurricane Turn trip report.|
|12/08||Jonathan Fischer||Here are a couple of kind of sad ARR shots of equipment heading south for the last time.
The 2401 and 2402 are seen on Harbor Island, near where they are unloaded from the barge. I’ve heard them referred to as the Titanic Twins, but I always thought they were pretty neat. This picture was taken in late 1986 (note the weather).
ARR 1507 is seen in the UP yard. Normally I always stay out of the UP yard, but I made an exception just this once. These pictures were taken about a year after I’d moved back to Seattle from Anchorage in late 1987.
ARR P-4 was also part of the southbound shipment of equipment in late 1987.
|12/15||Stephen S. Krawczyk||
I was contacted in July by Margaret Wray who was seeking information and/or photos regarding her grandfather, JP Johnson. This really pricked up my ears as Col. Johnson served as the Alaska Railroad's General Manager from January 1, 1946 until October 27, 1953 and headed up its $70,000,000 rehabilitation project. Margaret and I swapped numerous emails and I was delighted to discover her father Stephen S. Krawczyk had worked for the railroad as well. Additionally, her father had taken numerous color slides of the railroad and Alaska life. I must admit my jaw hit the floor when I viewed the CD of slides Margaret sent. I hope to get the entire collection of slides online sometime before year's end.
The Krawczyk's went to Fairbanks at the end of 1947 where Margaret's father worked on maintaining locomotives. The typical housing in Fairbanks back then was Quonset huts. Those that worked for the railroad lived on Government Hill, across from the engine house. Stephen's photo shows "The Aurora" bringing a passenger train into town.
I had someone contact me recently looking for the wiring diagrams to use in refurbishing several ex-Alaska Railroad's GP49s. I've been scouring the globe in hopes of snagging them, but to date have been unsuccessful. I was talking to ARR locomotive engineer Bob Yost last night and he reminded me the GP49s were built in two different classes (2801-2804 in 1983 and 2805-2809 in 1985) and therefore will have slightly different wiring diagrams. He also passed on some locomotive lore regarding GP49 #2809. Apparently the locomotive hit the loading chute at Usibelli Coal Mine which put a sizeable hole in the top front of the cab. It was temporarily repaired with visqueen and duct tape thus earning it the nickname "band aid locomotive."
So sticking with my theme for the week here is a photo of four brand spanking new GP49s at Interbay Yard in Seattle, Washington on September 1, 1983. You can almost see the eager anticipation on the faces of these four fine ladies as they prepare for their journey to Alaska.
Jonathan Fischer says of his photos, "Here's a shot you won't see every day. Mark Hemphill called me late in the evening to inform me that the northbound freight was really late. As a result we drove all night to get to the spot at Garner just after dawn. I've also included a shot of string of Tank Train tankers that were part of the train. This was June 1985."
[Webmaster's note: The Tank Train photo gave me goose bumps!]
Page created 1/6/14 and last updated 12/29/14
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