Curry Quarry Operations

Alaska Railroad Curry Quarry Operations October, 2010

Line side Industries include the infrastructure development for construction and maintenance of the railroad. Having a ready source of ballast rock and rip rap of consistent quality is paramount.

The Alaska Railroad is fortunate to have a source about mid way on the railroad at Curry mile post 248.

A site visit for prospective bidders was held October 7, 2010 under the supervision of Alaska Railroad Personnel. All appropriate safety gear was worn by the approximately 30 participants in the tour.

I was designated to represent one of the contractors on this fact finding mission.

The Curry quarry site is not open to the public and you would clearly be in trespass if not accompanied by Alaska Railroad personnel.


The Alaska Railroad has developed a haul road from the rock quarry high on a ridge above the Susitna River down to a landing for loading rail cars.
Rock is fractured and crushed to specification at the top and then trucked to the scale site at the bottom of the hill.
Material has been moved from storage piles there to ballast cars or side dumps, in the case of rip rap, by a large rubber tired loader.

Three locomotives are out of site around the corner where the pit spur connects with the main at the South end of the Curry siding. Another short spur there serves a loading ramp where heavy equipment can be off loaded.


The last remaining RDC #701 is being used as the office/caboose/diner and toilet facility for the ARR crewmen working the pit. This string of equipment, depressed center flat, flat with fuel tank, storage containers, flat with generator set and the all important gas grill, brings up the rear of the thirty odd side dumps being used to place rip rap along the Susitna River.



This view from the quarry at the top of the ridge, looks down hill to the Susitna River which runs bright and clear in the fall of the year. As cold weather sets in the water level drops by 8 to 10 feet at the Curry landing far below.

The haul road is wide and solid for use by off road haul trucks. Even on this cool fall day railroad security was aided by the ever present, mosquitos, no-seeums, and little black flies. One of the challenges to contractors working the site is access.

The only way in and out is on the railroad working around train schedules to get clearance for the 40 minute ride to or from Talkeetna. In season river boats can make the trip from Talkeetna.

Helicopter is an option but the former air strip is now part of the landing loading area with truck and loader traffic making it unsafe for fixed wing aircraft. The famous Curry Ridge rises here on the other side of the Susitna River.



For the model railroader, a similar industry will fit into any blind corner. Install a siding on the curve (Curry main and siding are both curved) and then extend a spur into the corner for your loading landing.

A second short spur can serve the loading ramp. Now you can populate it with diffco dump cars, hi-rail trucks, a large loader and an old RDC for a caboose to finish the scene.

The Haul road can wander into the trees only to appear in forced perspective painted on the back drop at the quarry high on the ridge.



Page created 10/19/10 and last updated 10/19/10