by Tony Roof

Click on photos for an enlarged view

On March 13th, I was honored with the chance to get a pass into the  Fairbanks, Yard.  The Fairbanks yard is the farthest Northern Yard on the Alaska Railroad.  Accompanying me was my good friend Andrew Debaun, president of the Tanana Valley Railroad Association.  Loaded with a couple cameras and big smiles on our faces, we checked in at the yard office and were off to venture into this rail yard.

BW photoThe first thing we got to lay our eyes on was Engine 2005, with itís 75th  Anniversary paint scheme. The only engine with that paint scheme, it was sitting there begging to be shown off in our pictures.  The next thing we got to see was a northbound train being lead by numbers 3012, 3005, 2007, 3020, 3014, just coming back from Anchorage, Alaska which is about 350 miles south of us. This freighter broke up as it passed the different  switches in the south ladder of the yard. As we watched in awe, we heard the sounds of another engine heading our way from the northern part of the yard.  Cameraís drawn and ready for the perfect shot, the engine stops right out of our view. The sounds of the big diesel engines ruffing up, let us know that it was backing up, probably to pick up more cars. After a couple of moments and a couple more teases, the beautiful engine, number 2005 appeared with a white tanker car right behind it.  From the sight of the different cars, hoppers, tankers,  flats, and then the trailer train at the end, we were able to figure out that this was the nightly southbound freighter heading back to Anchorage.

After #2005 calmed down, we headed farther into the yard and ended up down by the bridge on the south end of the ladder yard.  Waiting there so quietly were engine numbers 3019, 3001, 3011 and 3017 hooked up to a long train of tanker cars hauling the refined fuels back to Anchorage to sell locally or ship out of state.

#2005 photoWe headed back up to the Engine house. Next to the car shop, sitting there for our viewing pleasure were engine numbers 3012, 3020 and 2003 on one track ready and waiting for their assignment to take the freighter that engine number 2005 had built.  On the track right beside these three engines were numbers 2008 and 2003.  We found on the backside of the Engine house were numbers 3005 and 2007.


© 1999 Tony Roof