This provides a capsule of winter operations on the ARR in the early/mid 70's.
The photos were taken in October, but I don't remember whether is was 1974,
or 1975. The bicentennial paint scheme on some of the equipment may give a clue.
The time frame was late October, and from old schedules I reconstructed the
trains ran as mixed twice a week. I don't remember which day I rode (Tues/Wed
or Sat/Sun), but there was only a handful of passengers for a fairly lengthy
consist. The train was virtually empty, except for a Native American couple
and their children, a couple of homesteaders who got off at a flag stop in the
wilderness, and perhaps 4 or 5 other passengers. The crew from Anchorage to
Healy were very friendly and the conductor offered a cab ride, which of course
I accepted. We went to the cab of the F unit via empty baggage cars, nose doors
and engine rooms. I don't remember the engine crew's name, but I believe the
engineer was named Miller (he wore a lot of turquoise) and like the train crew
very friendly. I rode for an hour, or two, into Denali, then went back to the
coaches. Had lunch in the diner lounge and enjoyed the scenery into Fairbanks,
including a meet with a southbound manifest freight. We backed into a spur track
for that meet at a place I believe was called Honolulu. Unfortunately I came
down with a bad cold that night in Fairbanks and the trip back was pretty miserable.
I took no further photos.
© 2012 William Root