Anchorage Ocean Dock
The original tracks constructed in the Ship Creek area were placed on pile and fill out to the Alaska Engineering Commission Dock extended onto the mud flats next to the creek. Over the years more fill was added, and when the railroad was completed the adjacent property was leased to a variety of businesses. The Emard Cannery operated in a number of structures here next to the creek and pulled fish tenders up into the creek next to the dock. The cannery is long gone. During the build up to World War II a power shortage in Anchorage called for emergency measures. A tanker ship had broken up in the North Pacific, but the stern stayed afloat and was towed to Anchorage. It was berthed on the mud flats just beyond the cannery and placed in service as a Diesel Electric power plant for Anchorage. When no longer needed the stern was refloated, hauled off to a ship yard where a new hull and bow turned her into a wine tanker. During all this time an industrial spur served the area and terminated on what was always known as Ocean Dock.
Ocean going barges still arrive at Ocean Dock with bulk cargos, containers, modular housing, mobile homes, heavy equipment and building materials. Much of this freight is moved out on trucks to destinations in South Central Alaska. The original spur still serves the area where businesses operate under lease arrangements with The Alaska Railroad. Freight bound for Fairbanks and the interior can be loaded on flats right there on the dock. Northland Services provides long shore and equipment services on the dock. Heavy equipment is commonly back hauled from this site and can arrive on rail or by road.
Spenard Building Supply has retail stores in Anchorage, Wasilla and Fairbanks that are served by rail. Building materials arrive here at the Ocean Dock facility by barge or on rail via Whittier. These shipments are broken down here in the yard for redistribution by truck or rail.
On arrival at Ocean Dock you are greeted by the Spenard Building Supply and Northland Services signs and you need to look to find the small office facilities maintained by the tenants on these lease parcels. The signage also discourages casual rubberneckers in this port industrial area.
Modelers Note: These are easy facilities to simulate on your railroad. A single stub track running out on the end of a peninsula or into a corner with appropriate backdrop. If on a peninsula, you can build sheet pile, piling and rubble retaining walls around the perimeter and then fill the area with containers, trucks trailers, cranes, forklifts and stuff on either side of the spur. If you are building into a corner, photos of stacked containers can create a near backdrop. The stub track points directly to the gray mud flats of cook inlet and across the arm a broadside distant view of Sleeping Lady, Mt Susitna. Duplicate the signs and post them near the single road access parallel to the stub track.
Page created 1/22/04 and last updated 1/22/04