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

Story by Chris Guenzler and all pictures by Chris Parker

The morning started for me at 4:15 AM with me putting in the corrections in my two NRHS 2013 Convention stories. I then 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 two of us 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 before we left to the Denali Park train station. 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 at Denali Park.

The front of our train at Denali Park. Our consist was Alaska Railroad SD70MAC 4324 and GP-40-2 3013, Gold Star 653, Dining 301, Dome 521 ex SP&S 559, Coach 210, Dome 523 ex Northern Pacific 556, Coach 204 ex Union Pacific 5424, Dome 522 ex Northern Pacific 555, Dome 501 ex UP 7008. Our train left Denali Park and started our trip south to Anchorage.

In the front coach was Bart Jennings and the ever hard working Greg Molloy.

The train crossed Riley Creek.

I went to the Dining Car for a breakfast of Country Starter of Biscuits and Gravy. I had never had this in my entire life.

The Alaska Range.

Kenny Smith Alaska Railroad manager and Benda Rouse one of the Arkansas & Missouri Railroad Ambassadors.

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 Runby line location. I stayed on the train and closed all the upper vestibule doors on the Photo Line side of the train.

The Photo Line being made.

The Photo Runby at Moose Pass. We reopened the train once we returned to the boarding location. From here we ran to Hurricane Gulch. I had organized my car passengers into a line. We rotated each person to get three shots on the west and then three shots to the east. 58 passengers went through my vestibule during our 10 minute stay at Hurricane Gulch. The truth is that they did that in seven minutes with three to spare.

Hurricane Gulch.

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.

The train on the Curry Loop. We stopped in Curry for 45 minutes and after unloading my car I got to just sit at my door and watched the world go by.

Native American fishing net at Curry.

The Alaska Railroad Rotary Snowplow 3 at Curry. Once we got all our passengers aboard the train ran 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 thought so after I ate mine.

Our group at Talkeetna.

The train at Talkeetna. After reboarding our passengers, the train left Talkeetna 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. I talked with the passengers the rest of the way to Anchorage. We thanked them for riding with us. All too soon we were pulling into the station in Anchorage.

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

Elizabeth and myself unloaded our passengers and found a few left items that passengers had left but both came back to get their stuff.

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

Across from the station is Alaska Railroad steam engine 0-4-0ST 1 built in 1907 on display. The shuttle came 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 to proof my story. I wrote this story before calling it a night.

Click here for Part 2 of this story