Picture of the Week
Archives Section

Welcome to the Alaska Railroad Picture of the Week archives. A photograph is truly worth a thousand words. The Picture of the Week page began on February 16, 1998 with Jeff Child's photo of the Alaska Railroad's first locomotive, number 1. Since that time, professional photographers, railfans, Alaska Railroad employees, historians and passengers have sent a multitude of prints, slides, scanned images and digital photographs. Unfortunately, I can only post a fraction of what I receive due to lack of time. Sit back, relax and enjoy!

Picture of the Week Archives: 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

2010 Pictures of the Week
01/04 Art Chase As we head into the new year, Art Chase helps us to reflect a bit over the beauty of 2009. (1, 2, 3)
01/11 Matt Leistico

Matt Leistico was out and about Christmas eve (12/24/09) down by the yard and got a photo of four GoldStar cars lined up by the Anchorage depot. So what are they doing there? Well, that is exactly what I wanted to know. So I did a little snooping around and found out the following:

"The Goldstars are just parked there for the winter. Due to their electrical draw the shore power over on the coach tracks can't keep up. Until someone is able to remedy that problem they have to be plugged in somewhere else. There are three 480V shore power stands between the new P1 track and the main hence the reason for those cars being over there. They are just stored for the winter and plugged in to keep warm." So now you know.

01/18 Matt Leistico Frosted tanks - "These frosted over tank cars (1, 2) are on a freight headed to Whittier. One of them had “SEND ME HOME” written in the frost on the side – but couldn't get a good shot of that." Matt Leistico, 12-26-09
01/25 Tony Roof

Fairbanks resident Tony Roof was the first Alaska contact I made back when I started this website in 1997. I bought my HO scale McKinley Explorer train set from him as well as wrangled an introduction to his friend ARRC conductor Duane Frank. We have stayed in contact over the years and recently he was kind enough to provide me with a link to some of his railroad photos. A man can't view too many Alaska Railroad photos, ya know! LOL

The first photo was taken during a snowshoe trip on December 29, 2007. This striking photo reveals two SD70MACs pulling a string of tank cars through some dreamy landscape. I absolutely love the second photo since it reminds me of an O scale missile launcher on a flat car I owned as a child. If I recall correctly, the missile could actually be fired at the push of a button. The photo was taken in the Fairbanks yard on April 1, 2008.

    Below are three photos from ARR historian Don Marenzi's collection. For the next seven days I will accept information from you, my readers, as to the date, location and details of these photos. I will update this page with your information so make sure and check back at the end of the week to see what's been added. Yes, you may refer to this as my Huck Finn's "Paint the Fence" project! LOL
02/01 Don Marenzi collection

USAX (US Army tank cars) in Fairbanks

Only thing I can tell you is, the tank car picture is most likely from the early '70's. We used to unload up to 30 cars a day (we had 10 JP-4 unloading headers) at Eielson if the spots were on time but normally we would only get 20. The smaller cars (7000 series and if I'm not mistaken 8000 series) usually held diesel fuel or mogas that was sold at the on base station. The diesel was also used to heat some of the outer buildings on the base. The 10K cars usually had JP-4 in them. There were some exceptions to this. We even got some of the few ARR tank cars on occasion. Just before I left in June '74 we started getting 20K cars in and they were a pain to spot because the headers were set up for the 10 K cars. I looked the other day at satellite photos of Eielson and the yard is quite a bit different than when I was there. Looks as if there are only 2 tanks in the main yard where there used to be, I believe, 8 tanks. Pics are not all that clear. I'm sure operations are quite a bit different than they used to be. -- Bob Garner

Fairbanks. Early to mid-70's as best I can tell. And behind the USAX tank are some Fairbanks businesses. -- Curt Fortennberry.

02/01 Don Marenzi collection

Whittier in the pipeline heydays of the late 70’s. -- Randy Thompson

That is not Whittier. Those mountains look like Seward. -- Robert Krol

Valdez. Early to mid-70's as best I can tell. I can't tell, just an educated guess by the scenery and the nature of construction behind the cars. Looks like the Valdez terminal construction.-- Curt Fortenberry

Check out the mountain outline from Seward, with your POTW. http://www.wildnatureimages.com/Alaska/Seward/Moonrise-Photos.htm Supposedly that is Mt. Alice in Seward. -- Robert Krol

02/01 Don Marenzi collection

The intermodal crane in the Fairbanks yard

Fairbanks. Early to mid-70's as best I can tell. -- Curt Fortennberry.

02/08 Don Marenzi collection

I love purchasing Alaska Railroad history on eBay and have been sending them a good hunk of my paycheck for the past thirteen years. However, I realize certain items appeal to a couple of ARR historians I know so I usually check to make sure we aren't bidding against each other. This was the case for 21 historical photos on the auction block recently. I contacted Don Marenzi and sure enough he was very interested in acquiring them. Me? I just wanted the scanned images for this website. So Don was kind enough to blow his dough and scan the photos for you to enjoy. Thanks so much Don!

Thirteen of the images are of a passenger car derailment at Berg (mile 424.9) on December 21, 1944. It was caused by frost heaves and 43 people were injured. You'll find the rest of the images here.

02/15 James Herold James Herold's photo is the stuff postcards are made of. Locomotive GP35 #2501 heads up a passenger train at Portage on September 6, 1986.
02/15 William Madden The one thing I wished I'd done on the Alaska Railroad was taken the car shuttle from Portage to Whittier. Unfortunately, they discontinued it one month before my first railfan visit. Just image sitting in your car as it gently rocked side-to-side as you gazed out the windows at the stunning Alaskan scenery! William Madden's photo shows my favorite locomotive GP40-2 #3015 hooking up to the shuttle flatcars in Portage on July 2, 1980.
02/22 Unknown

And I thought the 16 inches of snow I had here in Dayton, Ohio was making a big mess of my driveway! This February 18 avalanche (1, 2, 3) shut down trains on the south end of the railroad. Avalanches have always been a threat and the railroad shoots a cannon at the mountainside to trigger a "controlled" avalanche. Unfortunately, Mother Nature can have the final word.

Note: the photographer is a railroad employee and was wearing all required personal protective equipment. The ARRC does not permit the general public onto their private property without permission.

03/01 Chris Kilroy Chris Kilroy from RailPictures sent us three photos (1, 2, 3) of the February 23 high-wide move from Whittier to Anchorage. High-wide moves like this one are pretty rare on the Alaska Railroad. The waybill for this was marked, "Reactor Vessel Tanks or Pressurizers, Heating or Power System, or Reactor Vessel Tank Heads." The word I got was they were moved cross-country on a special High-Wide train on the UP. They were unloaded at Anderson Dock in the Northstar Terminal and then Carlisle is going to truck them down the peninsula. Their final destination is the Tesoro Refinery in Nikiski.
03/08 Chris Kilroy The first photo is the southbound coal at Snow River on an amazingly clear Seward day. Photos two and three are the same train along Kenai Lake. February 26, 2010 Stunning Alaskan scenery such as this always prompts me to take a gander at the job ads in the Anchorage and Seward daily newspapers.
03/15 Unknown I was flipping through my John Henderson collection today and found this gem. As you may already know, number 701 is a Baldwin 2-8-2 bought new on October 1926. It was retired April 1954 and was sold to F.C. Langreo in January 1958. I haven't a clue where or when this was taken or who the photographer was. However, it is always stirring to see one of these locomotives under full steam. For those of you who love to analyze every inch of photos like these, I have an 1.3MB enlargement here so you can study the boogers of the trainmen. Enjoy!
03/22 Kyle Westbrook Under the category of "Photographs I wish I had taken", add this one by Kyle Westbrook. He says of his 2007 photo, "It's 4322 and 4321 leading the northbound Denali Star across the Riley Creek bridge and approaching the Denali Depot. I took the photo from the depot side of the canyon. There are several trails/service roads leading from the Visitor's Center behind the depot down to the creek. So, I was looking up at the trestle from beside the creek - maybe 50 yards from the trestle itself at the confluence of Hines Creek and Riley Creek. I was at the Visitors' Center around 3:00 PM and knew the northbound train was due soon, so I decided to hike down towards the bridge. I found this spot and waited about 30 minutes for it to arrive. It also appears that there's a trail leading down to this spot heading due south from the depot platform for about 1/2 mile."
03/29 Rich Holzapfel Since I had quite a bit of email from last week's photo at Riley Creek Bridge, I decided to throw up another. This one is Rich Holzapfel's work train in the summer of 2005.
03/29 Unknown And just in case you are bored with Riley Creek trestle photos (although I don't know how that could be possible), here is one of a unique sighting. It is a private business car in Seward. For more information on this railcar visit this link and look under Central Plains. July 18, 2000
04/05 Unknown Many thanks to Sherman Stebbins who sent me this extremely rare photo of a passenger train arriving in Fairbanks.
04/12 James Herold I have been waiting a long time to find this slide on eBay. It is one of my all time favs. James Herold took this photo on 6/27/77 at Eklutna on a very picturesque Alaskan day. F7-A #1522, the lead of an ABA lash-up, is a former DRGW locomotive acquired in 1970 and was traded to EMD for GP40-2's.
04/19 Harold Emerick Railfan Harold Emerick caught this GP38-2 #2006 moving a cut of oil tank cars in the Fairbanks yard at midnight on July 1, 2009.
04/19 Jaz This photo of GP38-2 #2003 was taken around the first of last month (March) at the crossing at Whitney Road in Anchorage. Being the first car at the crossing gate is a great way to get close-up photos of rail equipment!
04/26 Sherman Stebbins Collection "The back of picture says,'Train Depot on Nenana River, Healy, Alaska September 19,1923'. Nice row of old drop end gondolas. To the bottom right there's a neat car that looks like maybe a portable steam driven saw mill. There's a man and a woman in the picture by the outhouses behind the center building. Maybe another POTW? I am staying on the look out for nice ARR history." Click here to supersize that photo.
05/03 Todd Shechter

Have you ever been part of an Alaska Railroad two passenger train meet? Your train slows to a crawl ("mosey speed") and passengers get out of their seats to gaze while the other train passes. Some of the tourists watch with idle curiosity, others are doing the moose wave (and are amused to see those on the other train doing the same) while a few stand in the vestibules to snap a most unique photo. Wow! I miss riding those rails so much. I going to book a trip for this summer right now. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Turnagain Arm at Rainbow, August 2008

05/10 Eric Schildmeier Alaska Rail Link Power is ready to leave Johnstown with a freight headed to the Canadian Border. Still a lot of snow in the hills but things are greening up nicely here in the valley. The ARL is Shane Durand' free lance connection to the lower 48 and the creative photography is the work of Eric Schildmeier. The scene is taken in Johnstown Yard looking out over Bayview Sound at the Northern Lights Model RR Club in Anchorage.
05/17 Andrew Packee

In 1999 the Alaska Railroad purchased the nine car Florida Fun Train at auction for $3.6 million. A conference car, undelivered before the company went bankrupt, was rebuilt and shipped to Alaska. Dubbed the Alaska #2000, it is being used as a conference car available to rent for business meetings and other gatherings.

Andrew says of his photos (1, 2), "Last two years I have been riding the ARR down to Anchorage then to Seward and then back to Fairbanks. Last year when I rode the Coastal Classic to Seward, the Alaska Railroad had added the business car Aurora to the train. I was able to take a couple of good pictures of my favorite car. The photo of Aurora during the trip was taken from the viewing platform of the Gold Star car and the other one was taken at the Seward Station after arrival." May 19, 2009

05/24 John Allenson I tried to purchase one of John Allenson's Alaska Railroad slides via eBay, but was outbid by some other ARR zealot. However, John was kind enough to contact me and offer to send scans for you to enjoy on this website. Yowza! Here is his first two installments. These are of the southbound Coastal Classic on May 20, 2003. The first photo was taken at Lawing while the second was captured at Crown Point. I really love the warm colors of his slides. John adds, "Yeah, I still use film, probably will till either they stop making it, or they pry it from my cold, d...... well, you get the idea..." A man after my own heart!
05/31 Andrew Packee Andrew Packee says of his photos, "The pictures are of Tanana Valley Railroad Engine #1, I know she is not really Alaska Railroad. But as you know, the TVRR was bought to use its right away to get the ARR into Fairbanks and engine #1 also helped in the building of the ARR. I am a volunteer for the Friends Of The Tanana Valley Railroad. On May 1, 2010 we brought #1 out to test out our repairs we did on the engine during the winter and train new engineers and firemen.

"In the first picture it might look like we had a strong tail wind blowing the steam forward. The truth is that the engine is going in reverse. During that week the Pioneer Park crew was repairing the Salmon Bake trestle and it was not ready for trains, so we decided on doing forward and reverse movements. The second picture is of the engine and the crew heading back to our Railroad museum. The third picture is of the left side of the locomotive and as you can tell, the left side of the cab is missing. Well we kept the side off so we could have an easy access to the repairs we did to the firemen side. If you take a close look you can see both the steam and the water injector by the side of cab."
06/07 John Combs collection Did you find last week's PotW interesting? Well, you should have seen that little lady before she got an extreme makeover. This photo was taken just before she was moved from the end of track near the Fairbanks Depot for cosmetic restoration for the 1967 Alaska Purchase Centennial at Alaska Land in Fairbanks. Porter #1972, TVRR #1.
06/14 Robert Krol

A whole lotta work is happening in Whittier.The city is getting rid of a lot of "junk" that is laying around rusting and/or rotting away.

Secondly, the railroad is changing dock operations and doing a little track work as well (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

Finally, the city is demolishing the old Union Oil tank farm facilities (1, 2) which definitely marks the end of an era. As Robert Krol says, "All the buildings are gone, the tank car loading rack is gone. The only thing left are the tanks and they are coming down." (6/7/10).

06/21 Matt Leistico Riding off into the beautiful Alaskan sunset - pictures from the 5/29/10 Coastal Classic – Seward train returning to Anchorage, at the C-Street crossing. (1, 2, 3)
06/28 Blake Moore The Alaska Railroad has been known to haul some unusual loads in its time. Here Blake Moore captures these large dump trucks in the yard in Fairbanks on May 29th. Do you ever wonder how they keep stuff like this from falling off? If so then check out the ARRC's load manual (5.5 MB). Check out other unusual loads here.
07/05 Bill McBride Bill McBride says of his trip, "I used your great web site to get some info on the Alaska RR before I took the tour/cruise. When you are on the Celebrity land tour portion they don't give you much time to railfan. Lucky for me that we arrived in Anchorage a day early so we would not be rushed. Walked around and got a couple of shots." Bill took this shot of the Anchorage airport rail spur which originally opened May 17, 2003. Photo taken June 2010.
07/12 Allen Price Charlie Rainwater worked for the Alaska Railroad from 1948 to 1984. He recently took a very memorable railroad trip from Seward, Whittier to Dunbar and viewed his old stomping grounds. In his words, "It was a grand trip no rain, nothing but sunshine. I have been retired from the railroad for twenty-six years...many changes..all to the good."
07/19 Robert Krol Here is an extremely rare sighting - the Aurora and Denali railcars on the same train. Robert explains, "I was driving a big truck down the road coming to a stop at the Crown Point Crossing, when the daily Seward came by. For some reason the Aurora Business car was on the rear with the Denali Business car next to it. I saw about four heads in the Aurora." Photo taken June 2010. Anyone have an idea why both were present?
07/26 Mike Ferguson Mike Ferguson, former ARRC employee and current BNSF conductor, says of his photo, "Been in Fairbanks since the 19th of June visiting family till the 4th of July. Have not been out to see the ARR as much as I would like to but I took this today [6/29/10]. South bound Denali Star at what used to be Happy on a overcast morning, all that remains at Happy is an old shack, everything else has been removed including the Station sign."
08/02 John Combs I recently made my annual Alaska Railroad pilgrimage and during the trip was able to grab a flight with Jim Somerville. We were lucky enough to catch this 7,600 foot southbound freight inching its way to Whittier. I captured this shot seconds before the head end entered the first tunnel. 7/13/10
08/09 Robert Krol

My summer has been absolutely crazy! I chained four trips together almost back-to-back. I would return from one and then hastily pack for the next using items from the previous trip. Now that I am home for good I find myself surrounded by partially unpacked bags from the entire summer. I must say that although I am thoroughly exhausted, blistered, battered and sunburned, I had a lot of fun and made a few new friends as well. So I apologize for clumping together Pictures of the Week, but I wanted to satisfy your craving for fresh photos.

Speaking of chaining and clumps, here is a rare sighting of six Halliburton pneumatic railcars all strung together. These are designed to carry dry products such as cement, pozolin (an additive) and fly ash in bulk, basic dry products for mixing drilling mud to control hydraulic conditions while drilling oil wells. The basic car was built by Pullman-Standard with the tanks, tank supports, piping, running boards and ladders being fabricated and installed by Halliburton at the Duncan, Oklahoma shops. This photo was taken in Whittier in May 2010.

08/16 Casey Durand

The Alaska Railroad just has too many great trips to try to squeeze into a single vacation.On my July trip I really wanted to ride the Glacier Discovery and hike the new trails they have created in conjunction with the National Forest Service. Unfortunately, I just plain ran out of time. However, Casey Durand did just that at the end of July. Of the trails, he says, "I did the hike to the glacier and back.  It is a very well developed trail, wide and smooth with minimal elevation gain.  Anybody could make the walk and return in time.  Enjoy and relax!" Okay, I'll put this at the top of my "to do" list for next year.

Shown here is the Glacier Discovery crossing the Spencer River bridge with the brand new DMU in tow. July 2010

08/16 Andrew Packee

And here is a bonus photo for you. Andrew says, "It was taken on May 18th 2010 on my once a year train trip, the train was moving through the Nenana canyon on the way to Denali Park when the train was forced to slow down a lot even to a crawl waiting for the moose to clear the track."

Or maybe it is based on that book I read in high school called, "Of Moose and Men". ;-)

08/23 Frank Keller An Alaska Railroad cruise train drifts by the pond at Girdwood en route to Seward on a beautiful day in Alaska.
08/30 James Coy

Australian James Coy took a foamer trip in 2007 that would leave most of us green with envy. Says James, "I was in your great country September 2007. We traveled in to L.A for three days to see the loop at Tehachapi and to see the Big Boy but could not get in as it was their week about so now I will come back in a few years. Next on to Vancouver to the Rocky Mountain Express then on the Sekina to Port Rupert and on to the inside passage. We then traveled to Skagway to ride the stream n073 up to the top. After that we were invited to tour their shops and to see No. 69 slowly getting repaired then. Next we went to Anchorage,down to Seward and the next day down to Whittier then on to Fairbanks for a few days. It was a very busy time and I got 3185 photos, 7 rolls of film and 350 photos on my phone mostly of trains in 31 days.

"What a fantastic place to see ALASKA. I got photos of 8 different 4000 SD70MACs; these engines are in as new condition. We saw No. 2007 hybrid locomotive come off the barge from Seattle all new and set in a train to go to Anchorage."

Both of the photos below were taken in Whittier. The first is "making up a freight to leave as soon as we clear." Note the hybrid locomotive in the lower left corner. The second is an SD70MAC which James says, "the idling sound was just great MUSIC to MY EARS."

Correction posted 9/4/10: "I noticed that the locomotive in the background is called a 'hybrid' locomotive. That is not true. National Railway Equipment (the owner of the locomotive) does not make any hybrid locomotives. A hybrid locomotive is a locomotive that has one or two engines to provide power and large batteries to provide more power. The batteries are recharged by a small engine and generator (which is NOT used to provide traction for the locomotive). The locomotive is a 'GenSet' locomotive. A 'GenSet' is a locomotive that has multiple engines with their own alternators, each engine producing 700 horsepower. Each engine can be turned on or off, depending on how much power is needed. The engines also automatically turn off after a specified amount of time, reducing emissions and saving fuel. Only one engine starts up after a certain period of time, to keep the fluids in the engines moving. The GenSet featured is called a 2GS14B, meaning 2 GenSets (2GS), 1400 horsepower (14), and two-axle trucks (B). You can tell what model it is by looking at how many tall exhaust stacks there are and what type of trucks are used. There's the 1GS7B (1 GenSet (1GS), 700 horsepower (7), B trucks (B)), 2GS14B, the more common 3GS21B (3 GenSet (3GS), 2100 horsepower (21), B trucks(B)), and the 3GS21C (3 GenSets (3GS), 2100 horsepower (21), three-axle trucks (C))." - Jordon Freeman

09/06 John Combs The first photo is one I took on my recent ride on the Hurricane Turn. Rotary #3, troop sleeper, tank car and caboose 1086 were all moved to Curry as part of a railroad display. This whole area will undergo a tremendous transition in the future to attract tourists. The Department of Natural Resources will construct a South Denali Visitor Center Complex at nearby Curry Ridge. 7/12/10
09/06 Keith Asche Keith Asche of Wasilla, Alaska says of the second shot, "I recently got back from a trip to Oregon to visit family and went to the Tri-Met Westside Commuter Rail Shop and caught a picture of two ARR RDC’s outside. It didn't look like they had been doing anything. They hadnt even been washed." June 2010
09/13 Frank Keller Yes, I am envious of this week's entry. Rich Holzapfel, retired ARRC MoW guy, once said 90% of good photography was being in the right place at the right time. True, but this Frank Keller character sure seems to take things a step beyond it all. His photo below has startling lighting plus some impressive depth of field. Of his photo, Frank says, "On my 2010 trip to Alaska as on previous trips I have a way of picking great first days and as can be seen in this photo. 8/26/2010 was no different. A coal train departed Anchorage after the coastal and rolls along Turnagain Arm on a glorious August morning."
09/20 John Combs Collection

Okay, we're gonna play Huck Finn this week. I am going to let our historians paint the fence (i.e. provide the description for the photo). Check back during the week and let's see what they come up with.

Curt Fortenberry: "It's the northbound Aurora at McKinley park station. 1512 is painted black/yellow so I'm thinking mid to late 60's. 1512 lasted in the original blue/yellow to the mid 60's, then black before the DOT blue/yellow. ARR received the ex-UP cars in 1971 so since these are the original ex Army cars that helps date it as well. It's not Healy since the Hotel is missing."

Pat Durand: "Late fall after the first snow arrived on the hills and then melted off on the sunny South slopes. The view is looking Railroad South at Mt. McKinley Park Station. This is prior to 1967 as loco 1512 came out of the shops on January 1, 1976 in the bicentennial paint job, red white and blue with stars."

09/27 Jim Somerville Pilot and friend Jim Somerville is done flying for the season, but first sends us this beautiful aerial photo of the Anchorage yard. 9/21/10
10/04 Jeff McCrea

Jeff McCrea recently sent me photos of his Alaska Railroad locomotives on his friend's layout. To view more of his photos click here.

Oh his photos, Jeff says, "I took these on my buddy Dave's home layout. I met Dave through another friend/fellow club member. Dave is not a member of our club as his schedule will not really permit it, however he is an avid model railroader and in my opinion an artist in every sense of the word.

"In addition to his full time job, which is very cool as a sound engineer for the group Mannheim Steamroller, Dave does custom kit building, rolling stock detailing, and decoder installations. I took all of the pics on his layout. Although it's in one small area, he packed quite a bit into his bent dog bone design. Pictures alone cannot show how detailed and simply gorgeous as I said he's an artist in every sense of the word. In fact on a separate project he and I are building a couple of modules for our club to promote membership at local train shows. His theme is the UP in the late 50's/early 60's in the southwest hence the desert motif. Not exactly ARR country but what the heck. ;)

"You might recognize the engines from earlier pics I sent you. They are the same Kato SD-40/45's Jeff King did for me as a fantasy about 5 years ago. Dave just took them a little further with a little weathering, he's spoiled me. I don't think I can ever run on a "clean" engine again. lol I'm hoping to learn some of his techniques as time goes along. Not sure if I'll ever be as good as him but it's still a skill I'd like to learn.

"I attached a few more pics, most of these I took for Dave for his website to display his work. The MP-15's Dave also dirtied up for me. I picked these up from Randy at Roundhouse Hobbies."

10/11 John Combs

"Okay John, you've been back from your Alaska Railroad trip for three months now and we haven't seen your trip journal posted. Are you really that slow?"

Why yes, at times you can measure my performance in terms of geological time frames! LOL I am working on it, but am only up to day number three. So here is a little teaser. This is from a sightseeing flight I took with Jim Somerville. It is a mile long freight as it enters the first tunnel heading toward Whittier. Enjoy! 7/11/10

10/18 Don Marenzi Collection

1975 passenger train (1, 2, 3, 4)

I can add that the train is southbound and is a about 1/4 mile south of Honolulu siding. The bridge pictured crosses Honolulu creek and the newly budding leaves means it is early passenger season 1975, probably late May. - Mike Weatherell

The location is Honolulu Creek at ARR M.P. 288.7!  This is kinda the "Horse-shoe curve" of Alaska.  When there are no leaves on the trees the bridge is visable from the Parks Hwy.  - Casey Durand

10/25 Andrew Packee

On 10/23/10 The Friends Of The Tanana Valley Railroad (which I am a member) did our 5th annual Spooky Train. It was about 30 degrees in Fairbanks, and we had a lot of people show up to ride our special train. We had zombies that attacked the train, pirates that fought as the train passed, and inflatable balloons along the track of Pioneer Park. The first picture is of TVRR #1 climbing up the hill in the park, one of the reasons I like the winter run is the smoke hangs in the air longer. The second picture is side shot of TVRR#1 as she climbs the same hill. About an hour or two after the run started, we decided to stop running the steam engine due to a problem with one of the injectors. So we asked the park to pull the train with their locomotive (Crooked Creek & Whiskey Island R.R. #67). The third picture is of the Zombies going after our train which is being pulled behind # 67. The last picture is of our Spooky Train passing pirates as the fought each other.

11/01 R.J. McKay Just a few more scans from my days on the Alaska Railroad. Sort of funky colors, but I fell for one of those promotions that supposedly used "bulk movie film" as 35mm still camera film, complete with processing. Having been newly married, blessed with our first child and furloughed from the Santa Fe when I landed the job in Alaska, I was looking for bargains and the movie film was cheap. It wasn't, by any means, up to Kodachrome standards, though. You live and you learn. Hope the scenery still proves enjoyable -- as seen from my office, the ONLY place to see the railroad from! The run was long and grueling from Fairbanks to anchorage with the one-way mileage being around 356. I remember I tried to run all the way myself this trip, but finally I gave out and turned it back over to the Engineer. I don't know if it was fate or luck, but shortly thereafter we hit a car on the tracks and killed a lady. It was still hard on me, but I was sort of glad I had turned the running back over to the Engineer. (1, 2, 3, 4)
11/08 John Benson

The description for this photo reads, "ARR F7A 1500 and 1502 north of Denali Park. 8-1-84, John Benson." I wish I had a higher resolution copy of this one as it appears only one F7 is in the photo. Isn't that second unit an E9 (2401 or 2402)? I can't quite make out that third unit, but the four is definitely one of the power cars. Can anybody else lend a few words of wisdom? Regardless, it is an awesome photo and I'm going to have to put the shoot location on my "to do" list.

"The third unit looks like one of the 1800s. The last two cars are Tour Alaska Domes." Robert Krol

"The first locomotive is an F7 (1500, 1502, 1506, or 1508), followed by an E9 I would guess it is the 2401 since the train is the HEP'd set of equipment although the GP7 trailing would prevent the locomotives from supply HEP (so it could be the 2402), and the power car P30 is right behind the locomotive consist. The third locomotive is a GP7 probably heading to the shop in Anchorage for wheel or other mechanical work (It could be any of the GP7's except 1801 and 1810 as they were painted black and yellow). The fourth "locomotive" is E8B converted to power car P30 which supplied HEP to the passenger set rebuilt by GE at Hornell, NY about 1982. There is an extra dome trailing the HEP train, probably to accommodate some overflow passengers. It looks to be one of the ex-DRGW domes as it does not have a blue window stripe that the ex-Amtrak domes had, and it looks to have skirting above the trucks. I suspect it was equipped with an it's own self contained air conditioning, as it was not HEP equipped. The Tour Alaska ex-MILW super domes were also self contained. Seeing a GP7 on a passenger train other than the Whittier turn was quite rare, so this is a pretty unique picture." Jason Kuehn

"I don't have anything else to add, I think Jason hit everything I would have said. Only thing I noted was the non-HEP dome, one of the ex DRGW ones, between the trainset and the Tour Alaska cars. I don't believe they were ever HEP, I only recall them being used in steam car consists. I agree that the set in the photo is the HEP set, as that is P-30 up front. To my knowledge, no ARR car had self contained power. You commented on the location, you do know that's along the highway just north of Denali park, yes? Between the park and the highway bridge across the river (Moody tunnel)." Curt Fortenberry

11/15 Don Marenzi Collection

"The EMD GP7 is a four-axle diesel-electric locomotive built by General Motors Electro-Motive Division and General Motors Diesel between October, 1949 and May, 1954. Power was provided by an EMD 567B 16-cylinder engine which generated 1,500 horsepower. 2729 of these units were built." - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

GP7L #1826 was built for the US Army as #1826 in 1951. The Alaska Railroad acquired it in 1960. It was renumbered to 1803 as part of an upgrade to a GP7u. It was retired in 1976. Today it survives on the Missouri Central. Click here for a larger version of the photo.

Would anybody care to venture a date or location on this photo?

"This looks to me like the south end of Fairbanks yard with a train departing south, but that is just a wild guess. The date would be probably sometime between 1970 and 1975 based on the the locomotives. 1516 was former GN (and is one of the trailing F units based on the train number in the number board of the 1826) and acquired by the ARR in 1969, however here it has been repainted so is probably post 1970. And the 1826 was rebuilt at Paducah, KY to the 1803 in 1976. The 1516 was retired and traded to EMD in 1978 for the last order of GP40-2's (3012 - 3015). The 1826 was reincarnated as the 1803 and was retired in 1998." Jason Kuehn

11/22 Phil Faudi

Here are three of my recent eBay acquisitions:

Ah, that Phil Faudi sure knew how to take pictures! Near perfect lighting sure perks up this dusty Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad F7A. Number 1526 was built in 1952, sold to the ARR in 1970 who traded it in to EMD in 1978. I never saw a photo of this unit in Alaska Railroad paint. Does anyone out there have one? Wanna me to super size your order? If so, click here.

11/22 Unknown The predecessor of Denali Park Depot was the McKinley Park Station. I am sure most of you won't find this photo very appealing, but it has some incredibly strong memories for me. In 1986 my wife and I took our first Alaska Railroad trip. We traveled from Anchorage to McKinley Park Station. Here are the words from my trip journal, "We arrived at Denali National Park at 4:00 p.m. Number 3015, a GM EMD GP40, was the locomotive that brought us in. They unloaded our baggage and then everyone disappeared. It was kinda like an episode from the Twilight Zone. There was no sign showing where Denali National Park campground was located. So we went over to the train depot to get some assistance. No one was working in the train depot and we found all the doors to be locked. Not a very friendly welcome! We spent over two hours getting oriented and searching around for a person to ask or a sign to read. After walking down one of the trails for quite a ways, we found the park office. It was like a scene from Land of the Lost!" -- The photographer for this photo is unknown, but the date on the slide says October 1971.
11/22 Aaron Vath I don't see many photos of those four Amtrak F40PH's the railroad leased from 2001-2003. Even more rare is to see one of them out on the rails and especially with an SD70MAC. Here #245 is try to hide its face while on the Denali Star as it passes through Eklutna on May 25, 2002.
11/29 Dave Blazejewski

An original Alaska Railroad Geep built new for the railroad in 1975 still wears it's as delivered scheme. This is presently one of only three units on the ARR still wearing this livery. Notice the shiny new plow and steps. This is at least the third configuration for this unit. It was built new with a standard pilot and a drop step. Somewhere in it's life it received a large semi-circular plow, notched steps, and an anti-climber. Now, here it is reverting to a small plow and standard front steps. While the plows are bought from outside, all the rest of the modifications are done entirely in house by the ARR's diverse and talented mechanical staff. Note: the photographer is a railroad employee and was wearing all required PPE while taking this photograph. 5/28/10

You should have mentioned that 3006 was originally 3000 when delivered. You can still see the original "0" if you're up close. -- Curt Fortenberry. [Webmaster's note: Thanks Curt!]

12/06 Dale Greth Only in Alaska: Here is quite a unique sighting. A remote cabin dweller living somewhere between Talkeetna and Hurricane had this elaborate hunting rig shipped to him. May 2007
12/13 Chris Nuthall Southbound #1 from Fairbanks to Anchorage waits to cross northbound #2 at Oliver siding, just south of Denali Park, behind 1502 1506 and 1517. A loss of radio contact between the two trains required #1 to wait at Oliver for about 30 minutes rather than proceeding to the next siding. This and an accommodating conductor allowed a few shots to be taken in this very remote location. 8/13/85
12/20 Dave Blazejewski

Not your every day shipment! A pair of T-72 Soviet tanks long stored in Alaska are secured and ready for shipment south to Seattle. Their destination beyond Seattle was unknown (that's as far as they were waybilled). These tanks were used in training exercises by the US Army at Ft. Wainwright. Note: the photographer is a railroad employee with permission to be in the yard and was wearing all required PPE while taking this photograph. 2/10/10. Click here to view more of dave's photos on RailPictures.net

And if you would like to know more about the T-72:

  • The T-72 is quite heavily armored. Protection ranges from 11 inches on the turret face to 8.8 inches of spaced, laminate armor on the hull nose, which is inclined so as to provide the equivalent of 21.5 inches of armor.
  • A bulldozer blade is mounted on the T-72's nose and can be deployed to dig firing positions or clear debris. An infrared searchlight is mounted on the right side of the main gun,
  • A 7.62mm PKT machine gun is mounted in the turret coaxially with the main gun and can be fired automatically. A 12.7mm DShKM machine gun is mounted ahead of the hatch on the commander's cupola, but it can be fired only with the hatch open and the commander standing halfway out.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense estimates that more than 17,000 T-72 tanks were built at four tank production facilities in the Soviet Union. Several variations of the T-72 are known, but the changes are minor. The only exception is the T-72 M1981/3, which is called the T-80 in the West.
  • The T-72 has been distributed to 15 nations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It was manufactured in Czechoslovakia, India, Poland, and Yugoslavia. The T-72 was the numerical mainstay of Soviet MBT forces in Eastern Europe before the fall of the Soviet Union.
12/27 Andrew Robb As you might recall, RDC numbers 702 and 711 sold to TriMet (Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon) in Portland, Oregon. The cars were intended for use as backup for the Colorado Railcar-built DMU's of TriMet's 14-mile WES commuter rail line which operates over tracks of the Portland & Western RR between Wilsonville and Beaverton. Well, Tri-Met WES finally tested those RDC's. Ex-Alaska 711 and 702 now Tri-Met 1711 and 1702 are seen departing the Beaverton Transit Center headed back to Wilsonville. 12/18/10


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