Forward by Patrick Durand, ARR Historian
Congratulations, John on posting the MOOSE GOOSER, which was the monthly newsletter of the Alaska Yukon Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc. You are fortunate to have the very first issues starting in May 1967. At that time there was an active rail fan fraternity growing in Alaska and Bill Thommason was the spark plug of the group that lead to the formation of the local HRHS chapter. The first issues typed by Bill featured hand drawn logos and letter head. Ken Ray of Ken Ray's Printing soon took on the task of printing and Bill did the layout and wrote most of the articles at the time. The regular meetings were attended by many movers and shakers including Senator Ted Stevens, and the stalwart supporters like Warren Roberts and John Haas among many others. Members of the Northern Lights Model RR club were active in the Alaska Yukon Chapter as well.
The monthly grind of turning out the photos and articles for the MOOSE GOOSER fell largely to Bill Thommason and he gladly carried on until he retired to Portland. Without its spark plug the chapter started to misfire and eventually dissolved. Some folks have been critical of occasional details presented as fact in MOOSE GOOSER articles and rosters. Having been in Bill's shoes on occasion makes me even more appreciative of the effort he put into trying to get it right. This is after all, a newsletter and does not pretend to be a scholarly work. You can appreciate all the images that are unique to these pages and consider the writing as additional source material that might confirm a postulation or provide you many hours of enjoyable head scratching while you decipher the facts for yourself.
Many of the railroad artifacts at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry, Inc. now located in Wasilla, were originally organized by the members of The Alaska Yukon Chapter of the NRHS. These items including Locomotive #1000 and Tilly's Caboose #1018 along with 5 ex troop sleepers, which were a major part of the Alaska Purchase Centennial Museum display at the Anchorage International Airport in 1967. When that display was disbanded the collection was eventually donated to MATI. All we know about some of these items is what Bill published in the MOOSE GOOSER.
If you were fortunate enough to know some of these old timers in the rail history movement, reading about them in the MOOSE GOOSER will bring back fond memories. For the rest of you I hope you all appreciate the work of love, that created this body of work. It is a legacy, of Bill Thommason and his friends, that we can all enjoy for years to come.
Special thanks goes to Boerries Burkhardt, Randy Thompson and Dieter Stehli for providing these publications!
Page created 4/10/09 and last updated 5/6/09