Saturday, August 27, 2005

After a night on the couch, I am ready for my alarm to sound at 6:30 am. After our showers, Pat serves up a mountain of pancakes and discusses local Alaskan political affairs. We view his digital collection of old Van Cleeve railroad photos and then are on the road again. Arriving at the Anchorage airport, we head directly to the post office and mail our boxes of souvenirs home. I then drop Randy at the airport door at 9:30 am. After a brief goodbye, he is gone.

I make a routine stop at the Anchorage yard and take a few photos. It is Saturday and things are very quite. I then follow a pair of RDCs to the Anchorage depot [click here for the .wav sound file of RDC 711's engine (860K)]. As I am taking photos, a brakeman walks up to me. As I begin to introduce myself, he tells me he already knows who I am from visits to my website. Now this is getting spooky!

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MP-15 #1554 SD70MAC #4322 SD70MAC #4318
SD70MAC and RDC RDCs  
SD70MAC and an RDC A pair of RDCs at the depot  

I return to the Prince Imperial Hotel and watch part of a youth baseball game (Hawaii vs. California) with Don. I also do some laundry, get another package ready to mail and make phone calls. Don offers to let me use his car for the next few days so we return the rental car to the airport. Once we return, we begin watching another youth baseball game. Eventually, I surrender to my eyelids and take a 50 minute nap. This will become very important later on!

At 6:00 pm I meet Matt Leistico for dinner at Red Robin. During our meal, we swap various Alaska Railroad gossip and information. Matt then takes me on a driving tour of his home turf (office building, first apartment, home, etc.) We make stops at both West Chester Lagoon [click here to view the 844KB video] and Elderberry Park and take photos of passing trains. Upon returning to the Red Robin parking lot, Matt and I spend about an hour talking trains. Soon a pair of "First Nations" (i.e. Eskimo) women approach me for money. When I tell them all I have is a credit card, one of them boldly asks me to go use it at a nearby ATM. When I tell her I am from Ohio and the ATMs here don't work for me, she finally gives up and leaves. Just then my cell phone rings and it is Bob Focht, ARR electrician. He says he is working the night shift tonight and would love to give me a shop tour. I tell Matt goodnight and head for the diesel shop.

West Chester lagoon Brovald bench #1554
West Chester Lagoon Ken Brovald bench Night time at Elderberry Park


By 11:30 pm I go inside the diesel shop and find Bob. We spend a little time in the break room talking with the other employees which helps me catch up on the latest ARR gossip. Bob then takes me on a tour and we spend the bulk of our time in the passenger car shop looking over their various current projects. We talk about the Montana passenger cars the railroad is currently leasing and I am able to climb aboard coach 130 for a peek. The seats look in pretty decent shape plus they have some very nice foot rests. Bob also shows me the new seats they will be placing in the former Florida Fun Train dining cars.

2002 Denali #1554
#2002 resting in the diesel shop Keeping #2000 warm and dry New dining car seats
Coach 120 2002 2002
Montana coach #120 Interior of coach #120 Seats have foot rests


Eventually, Bob has to get back to work so I bid him goodnight and head back to Don's condo. By the time I crawl into bed it is 1:50 am. A 19-hour day!


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