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2013 NRHS Convention Denali Park to Anchorage One-Way Excursion 9/17/2013

Story by Chris Guenzler and all pictures by Chris Parker

My morning started at 4:15 AM when I put the corrections in my two convention stories so far and uploaded them before posting them on my web site and My back was feeling better after my morning shower and at 5:10 AM, I walked out to the Bear Bus Stop and within minutes a bus picked up Elizabeth and I and took us up the hill to the lobby. There I met friends and we talked until it was time to board the crew bus for the train. Another safety meeting occurred before we left for the Denali Park station where we opened up the train and waited for our passengers.

Elizabeth and myself at our door on a cold and windy morning.

The first passengers arrived way before the first light of day.

The end of our train.

The front of our train whose consist was Alaska Railroad SD70MAC 4324 and GP40-2 3013, Goldstar 653, dining car 301 (built by Daewoo Heavy Industries in 1989), dome 521 (ex. Amtrak 9486, exx. Burlington Northern 4626, nee Spokane, Portland and Seattle 559), coach 210 (built by Daewoos Heavy Industries in 1989), dome 523 (ex. Amtrak 9483, exx. Burlington Northern 4623, nee Northern Pacific 556) coach 204 (nee Union Pacific 5424), dome 522 (ex. Amtrak 9482, ex. Burlington Northern 4622, nee Northern Pacific 555), dome 501 (nee Union Pacific 7008).

Our train departed Denali Park and started our trip south to Anchorage.

In the front coach was Bart Jennings, convention chairman and the ever hard-working Greg Molloy, the current NRHS President.

The train crossed Riley Creek, MP 347.4, which is a twenty-two mile stream that flows into the Nenana River.

I went to the dining car for a Country Starter breakfast of biscuits and gravy which I had never had in my entire life.

The Alaska Range.

Kenny Smith, Alaska Railroad manager, and Brenda Rouse, one of the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad Ambassadors, whose railroad would be hosting next year's convention.

Climbing the north side of Moose Pass, which is the highest point on this railroad at 2,363 feet.

The summit of Moose Pass.

Heading to the photo runby location.

The future photo line location. I stayed on the train and closed all the upper vestibule doors on the photo line side.

The photo line being formed.

The photo runby at Moose Pass. We reopened the train once we returned to the boarding location and from here ran to Hurricane Gulch. I organized my car's passengers into a line and rotated each person to get three pictures to the west and three to the east. 58 passengers went through my vestibule during our ten minute stay at Hurricane Gulch. The truth is that they did that in seven minutes with three to spare.

Hurricane Gulch bridge built in 1921, spanning 918 feet and rising 296 feet above the creek.

Coming off the Hurricane Gulch bridge.

The view looking forward down the rails.

A pond along our route.

Our train took a curve with a tree in fall colors.

Beaver ponds.

The Alaska Range above this ridge.

The Susitna River. When we got to Curry we took a trip over the tracks of the Curry Loop at MP 248.1.

The train on the Curry Loop which gave everyones 6,990 feet of extremely rare mileage. We stopped in Curry for 45 minutes and after unloading my car, I just sat at my door and watched the world go by.

Native American fishing net.

Alaska Railroad rotary snowplow 3 built by American Locomotive Company in 1930 as a steam-powered rotary, converted to diesel in 1967 and rebuilt in 1985. Once all our passengers re-boarded, we continued on to Talkeetna, where we had another 50 minute stop. I stayed at my door but my passengers returned with treats for me, the best being a Talkeetna Roadhouse Cinnamon Roll, which is considered to be the best in all of Alaska, and I agreed after I ate it.

Our group here.

The train at Talkeetna. After reboarding our passengers, we departed for a non-stop run to Anchorage. I went to the dining car in the Gold Star for my dinner of a chicken breast which hit the spot then talked with the passengers the rest of the way to Anchorage. Elizabeth and I thanked them for riding with us and all too soon we were pulling into the station.

The train arrived at Anchorage and we were greeted by unique Alaska characters welcoming us to their great city.

Elizabeth and I assisted our passengers in detraining and found a few items that a couple of passengers had left but both came back to retrieve them.

The car hosts were greeted by the unique Alaska characters. From here we closed up our car and helped move boxes into Bart's truck before walking through the station and out to the curb. Chris Parker called the hotel for their shuttle to pick us up.

Across from the station is Alaska Railroad 0-4-0ST 1 built by Davenport in 1907 as narrow gauge Isthmian Canal Commission 802 at Colon, Panama. It was then transferred to United States Engineering Commission 6 in 1917, later becoming Alaska Railroad 6 and in 1930, was converted to standard gauge. In 1947, it was re-numbered Alaska Railroad 1.

The shuttle arrived and took us all to the Guesthouse Inn and Suites where Elizabeth and I checked in and were given room 316. I watched "NCIS" then timed the walk to the Hilton, which was ten minutes, and called Winston Walker to proof my story then wrote this story before calling it a night.

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