Old 05-18-2010, 12:56 AM   #1
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Default Alaska fanning

I was fortunate enough to spend what essentially amounted to a long weekend (that's a stretch when you live in DC) in Alaska. Long story short, at this point in life, that's what I could pull.

Let me just say, with the little I could catch, the Alaska RR is just flat out incredible. It is a long trip to get up there, but we purchased tickets for around $500 roundtrip...about what it costs to go to Montana or any other popular railfanning destination.

Just a quick summation for anyone that's ever considered going up--

It's mid-May, and shooting light is already from about 6am-10pm. I can only imagine what June 21st is like!

If riding passenger trains is your thing, they have anything you want, and well-timed with other activities at the destinations (whale watch in Seward, glacier cruise in Whittier, etc)

If freight trains are your thing (that'd be me!) things are picking up nicely for the Alaska RR. It appears that this summer, for the first time in a long time (or ever?) the export coal traffic will continue. Couple that with the constant cycling gravel trains between Anchorage and Pittman, the evening freight train to Fairbanks (and subsequent early morning arrival of the counterpart), and freight to and from the barge at Whittier (Wednesday is the typical arrival day, but it didn't make it until Friday this week) and you have quite the busy regional railroad. EMD fans will rejoice over a clean roster of GP38s, GP40s, and SD70MACs.

Employees were very friendly, though you do need to mind your manners-- the railroad does have its own police department and they are very diligent in protecting the property. Trespassing is completely unnecessary-- public access abounds around the yard and mainlines.

Just thougth I'd share a few observations. I've long admired this railroad, but you just don't hear that much about it, so figured I'd share what I found. Photos to come soon.
Mike Derrick

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