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  Trip Report: Two Weeks on the Alaska RR - Chapter 1
  Anchorage-Seward, Part I
Monday-Thursday, 19-22 Jun 2006 - Anchorage to Seward, Part I
  From: Two Weeks on the Alaska RR Dates: June 2006 Author: Nathan Holmes


Photo 1
Back in Alaska after nearly four years! Unfortunately, the weather isn't cooperating much, as you can see in this shot. Here's the first train of the trip - ARR 4318 northbound at Portage on Monday night, 19-Jun-2006.
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Photo 2
The other thing is that I'm technically working the first week, so I don't have much time to 'fan. After dinner with coworkers on Tuesday, though, I find the southbound Denali Star having arrived at the Anchorage depot with 4324 and 4321 on the point.
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Photo 3
The make-up of the train has really changed since the last time I was up here. These are RCIX 1002 and 1003, two of the Royal Carribean cars built by Colorado Railcar.
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Photo 4
Some of the other Colorado Railcar products plying Alaskan rails were the new Holland America McKinley Explorer cars, built in 2003 and 2004.
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Photo 5
Meanwhile, as I was checking out the passenger train, these units were wandering around the freight yard, assembling cars for what appeared to be a Whittier barge train. You have to love the L-shaped windshield and the unusual Alaskan lighting package on GP40 3001.
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Photo 6
Wednesday yielded another day of work, accompanied by yet more clouds and rain. Since it was the longest day of the year, though, I went out anyway. Believe it or not, this is 4318 returning with the Seward train south of Potter at a bit after 10pm.
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Photo 7
Bringing up the rear is this one-of-a-kind car - the Alaska Railroad's Aurora (ARR 2000), a glass-topped open end observation car. Now that's riding in style!
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Photo 8
On Thursday, I got a bit of a reprieve from spending all day at FedEx's Anchorage hub. After checking on the morning sort and having breakfast, my coworkers decided they wanted to see a glacier. So, off to Seward and Exit Glacier we went! Along the way, I picked up this coal load southbound at Moose Pass.
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Photo 9
So I'd be a little late getting to the glacier - I'd been there before. But a southbound coal train, that was worth some delay! Here it is just south of Moose Pass, having just passed over the Trail River.
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Photo 10
A bit of a wider shot. The train has SD70MACs 4008, 4005, and 4015 on the front...
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Photo 11
...and 4013 pushing on the rear
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Photo 12
I've always wanted to photograph a freight on the Snow River bridge (milepost 14.3), and on Thursday, 22-Jun-2006, I finally got my chance.
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Photo 13
A wider view of the Snow River bridge, taken from atop the culvert where the railway passes under the Seward Highway.
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Photo 14
These are some of the folks I was travelling with, trying to avoid getting wet... Should have worn waterproof boots, folks! (From front to back - Lynn from Memphis, Mark's wife Kate, and Dave from Oakland.)
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Photo 15
Okay, that sign is practically calling to me to go up and poke the glacier...
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Photo 16
After a couple hours at the base of Exit Glacier, we all packed up and headed out. Stephanie wanted to drop down into Seward and just see the town, and that gave me a good excuse to check out our coal drag again. Here it is at the north end of town, power on the rear end and ready to shove back to be unloaded.
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Photo 17
And down at the Seward depot is the daily Seward train, due to depart any time. After that, it was time to head back, with a stop at the Double Musky in Girdwood for what I think is the best steak I have ever eaten. (Helps to have the locals recommending places and the company footing the bill...)
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Creative Commons License This work is copyright 2006 by Nathan D. Holmes (maverick@drgw.net), but licensed under a Creative Commons License. This allows and encourages others to copy, modify, use, and distribute my work for non-commercial purposes, without the hassle of asking me for explicit permission or fear of copyright violation. I encourage others to consider CC or other Open Content-style licensing of their original works.

All photographs in this trip report were taken with a Canon EOS 20D using either a Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS/USM or a Canon 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS/USM.