Picture of the Week
Archives Section

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 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017

2018 Pictures of the Week
01/01 Robert Krol December 28th was the grand opening of Brew@602 in Soldotna. The former Alaska Railroad double-decker gallery car was converted into a coffee/waffle house. The rail car is attached to a replica of a depot which will house an art gallery and gift shop. Finally, the passenger car Addie Camp, formerly owned by the Black Hills Central Railroad will serve Alaskan beers and premium wines as well as food such as tapas. Owner Mary Krull has dubbed the entire development “Whistle Hill.” (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
01/08 Casey Durand Midwest Railcar Corporation insulated boxcar (MWCX) visiting the Anchorage yard from the land of graffiti. These scribblings have existed since ancient times with examples dating back to the Roman Empire. The graffiti on this boxcar is the writer's tag which is his or her personalized signature.
01/15 Frank Keller SD70MAC 4009 heads up 130N near Beach Lake Road on a beautiful sunlit evening. Part of the freight consisted of military equipment bound for Fort Wainwright. 5/13/17
01/22 Dave Blazejewski

Dave Blazejewski says of his photo, "So I got out trackside today for a quick little chase of a 120S from Anchorage to Bear Valley thanks to a tip from Frank Keller. The timing and lightning were perfect and I decided to try a shot I've had my eye on for 10 years. While I've shot here at this iconic Placer Creek location countless times, I've never waded down into the creek. In the summer the willows are too green and thick and it will be much more obscured. In winter the snow can get really deep here and the river will ice over, so the window for open water and no brush is pretty narrow.

"But the really hard part is finding a train at exactly the right time in good light. Well today it all came together. I followed the train all the way south shooting along the arm and then after watching him diverge at Portage Junction I buzzed down the road towards Whittier. For whatever reason he took quite a bit longer to get there than usual. This was good and bad. It was nice that it afforded me plenty of time to wade down there and find my angle, but less than ideal in the 15 degree temps out in the creek. I found a nice dry rock to lay on to get the low angle I wanted and then waited.

"The problem always with this spot is that you have no warning of the train approaching. You can't see it and you can't hear it due to the mile long tunnel he traverses before crossing the creek and the fact that the rolling water and occasional vehicle traffic mask any hint of sound emanating from the tunnel such that by the time you do hear him approach you have two seconds. Hence, in order not to miss your shot (and trust me I have more than once!) you have to have your camera positioned and ready.

"But, one benefit today with the cold dry air was the gentle cloud wafting out of the tunnel from the heaters that keep the portals from icing over. As soon as the train entered the tunnel it began pushing the exhaust and warm air ahead of it so the cloud got progressively larger giving me a nice four minute warning this time!

"I thought these two shots of the two distinct clouds coming from the tunnel were just kind of cool." (1, 2, 3)

01/29 Chris Paulhamus The Coastal Classic is a little more than an hour into its daily southbound trip to Seward on a beautiful spring morning, seen here passing Bird Point. 5/17/14
02/05 Robert Krol Robert Krol was able to snag photos of a work train (despite -2 degree temperatures) parked at Portage (1, 2, 3). Work is being done at a bridge near Spencer. 2/3/18
02/12 Stewart Sterling Stewart says of his photo, "My father took my brother and I down to the yards this day (July 29, 1979) to take photos. While driving around the ARR yards we came upon this group of Alaska Railroad cabooses. I took photos from each end and the middle but this shows what was going on at the time as far as the downturn of business. Caboose's were being phased out soon and Alaska Railroad had a surplus of them. Soon after this several of these cabooses in this line went south to run on lease for railroads in the lower 48....never to return. After they left more were needed in the late 1980's upturn so the ex-CN cabooses arrived to replace them."
02/19 Frank Keller It is 1050 on January 20th, 2018 and the sun has yet to clear the Chugach and Kenai Mountains but is promising to do so in the very near future. As I hear the southbound freight approaching my location, I have staked out the bridge over the 20 Mile River, I contemplate if in the 4 minutes it will take the train to arrive if the sun will also arrive. At 1054 I receive my answer, not quite, but an interesting scene none the less. In another 30 minutes or so this train will arrive at the Port of Whittier and start the task of loading the barge for Seattle.
02/26 Volker Lange Volker Lange says of his photo, "Nenana River Gorge, Alaska Railroad train Fairbanks to Anchorage on September 8th, 2016 in the "tunnel cut off" close to the George Parks Highway Bridge. The two SD70MACs (#4322 and #4320) slowly increase their speed, the timetable should also be kept! As a European railroad fan, with preference Alaska Railroad & U.S. Railroads, you are just thrilled!"
03/05 Terry Douglas Terry Douglas says of his photo, "Today [3/2/18] a couple of ARR MAC's did some switching to place some freight cars on the mainline outside the Historic Depot (where I was on "Great Train Show" duty for 557 Restoration Co). When I left the depot, the two MAC's were resting at the edge of the yard, near the C Street crossing. So attached is a pic of "Spirit of Palmer" (4007) and "Spirit of Cantwell" (4010), on a brilliant March day in Anchorage."
03/12 Amy Mitchell "The photo was taken the summer of 2016 on a trip from Kenai to Eagle River during my son's football season. I love that area, it was taken on the bridge right past the Portage Depot. Ironically, I have never been on a train! I have pulled over and taken dozens of pictures through the Turnagain Arm area over the years."
03/19 Arlene Rhoades Collection

Recently Arlene Rhoades shared these extremely unique photos on Facebook and I asked if I could use them as an upcoming Picture of the Week. Arlene is the Alaska Railroad's Chief Train Dispatcher and began working in May of 2000. Of her photos she says, "Just watched a show on station wagons.... made me sentimental for my dad's wagons.... he drove nothing but at home and the office. Black Mariah in action at Tunnel, 1983."

"Jack Hepworth started working for the ARR in 1958 (not sure exactly). He retired in 1985 when lots of federal employees retired prior to or right after the handoff to the state. When he retired he was Superintendent of Transportation. The car was retired then as well I believe." (1, 2, 3)

03/26 Robert Krol

For twenty one years I have posted a Picture of the Week. If I was going on vacation, having surgery, etc. I would put up photos in advance for the forthcoming weeks. However, this week I was thrown for a loop. On March 23 at 1:00 AM my daughter called and said she was having serious labor pains and our grandson would be popping out soon. So we grabbed our stuff and made the two hour drive to her home. At 5:35 AM our (fourth) grandson "Lincoln" was born. How exciting! He is so wonderful! I realized today (March 25) I didn't have my software tools (Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Photoshop and FTP Fetch) with me to create a POTW. What you see for this week's entry is some interesting and recently received photos which I uploaded with a crude set of software tools using my wife's laptop. In my memory I have only missed posting a POTW once and I'm not going to let it happen again!

Robert Krol was passing by Potter and noticed a string of flat cars with the word "Rage"following the road number. What does this mean? Frank Keller was kind enough to solve the riddle. "Those flat cars are to be loaded with ties in Whittier. A work train should pick them up this week and take them to Whittier. These flat cars are retired and can only be used in Maintenance of Way (MOW) service. Rage stands for Retirement AGE." (1, 2 3, 4)

04/02 Frank Keller Yesterday [5/15/17] was truly a beautiful day in the Anchorage, AK area. With such a beautiful evening in store for me I took a drive out to the Knik River and captured this shot of the north freight crossing the Knik River. In the background are the Twin Peaks as well as Pioneer Peak, just out of site to the left of the train was a rainbow.
04/09 Dave Blazejewski The classic look of GP40-2 3006 on the point of 120S near Beluga Point. November 15, 2016
04/16 Ted Smith-Peterson Alaska Railroad's Aurora Winter Train creeps across Hurricane Gulch, stopping mid span to allow the trainload of passengers a view from the top of this impressive structure.


Page created 1/1/18 and last updated 4/16/18