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NRHS 2013 Convention Palmer Branch and Anchorage Terminal Tour Excursion 9/20/2013

by Chris Guenzler

The morning started with my usual preparations but a different walk because we had to go to the Hilton to sign up for a banquet table. We then went to the depot for the now-usual safety briefing. We then walked out to the train and opened the vestibule to start the loading of the passengers on this 37 degree morning in Anchorage.

The moon over the west end of the train.

Train at the station ready to load the passengers.

The west end of the train.

The east end of the train. Our train today had engines 3011 and 3013, baggage 102, Gold Star 652, Gold Star 653, coach 205, dome 523 ex. Northern Pacific 556, coach 209 and F40 31.

Elizabeth and an ARR emblem on the k rail.

At 8:00 AM we departed south to get to the lead to the Freight Line through the yard.

The tracks we would soon be riding over.


Kinik Inlet as we backed up.

The train reached the switch and we waited for it to be thrown for our journey through the freight yard.

More views of the Kinik Inlet.

We started on the freight yard mainline.

The train crossed Ship Creek.

Ship Creek with the Hilton Hotel on the hill.

The line to the harbor trackage.

The train started by the shop complex.

Switching of passenger cars were taking place.

The shop complex I toured on Wednesday.

The cars of the Wilderness Explorer.

Holland America.

The north end of the shop complex.

An old caboose.

The north end of the shop complex.

Freight units waiting for service.

Still rolling through the yards.

A mid train unit in the yard.

Nearing the north end of the yard.

We have reached the north end of the yard.

Ready to exit the yard at the north end.

We have reached the mainline but our rare mileage did not stop as we took the Elmendorf siding before we reached the mainline. Passenger trains never use this siding either.

Later we crossed the Kinik River.

The train and the mountains.


The Matanuska River Flood Channel at MP 147.1.

The Matanuska River Flood Channel at MP 147.4.

The Matanuska River Flood Channel at MP 147.5.

A view looking north.

The Matanuska River MP 148.3.

Another view looking north.

View looking east.

View looking south.

The junction with the old line that we would come down later on the return trip.

At Matanuska this track will take us onto the Palmer Branch which we pulled on and waited for a sand train to clear.

After the rock train went by us and left up on the branch, it was our turn to go up the Palmer Branch.

Pieces of a bridge along the Palmer Branch.

Milepost A3.

The gravel tipple on the Palmer Branch.

The mountains behind Palmer.

The state fairground sign which signaled our arrival into Palmer.

Mountains standing guard behind Palmer. We unloaded for a static photo stop in Palmer.

The first photo pose. The train was moved to get the fairground sign in front of the train.

Bart Jennings spots the locomotive for the pictures.

The second photo pose. We reboarded the train with our next stop being the Anchorage Airport.

Click here for Part 2 of this story!