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NRHS 2013 Convention Alaska Railroad Operations Center and Station Tour 9/18/2013

by Chris Guenzler

This limited-capacity tour begins with an orientation program and discussion of current railroad operations. Participants will then have a rare opportunity to visit the Alaska RR Operations Center, which controls the operation of the entire railroad system. There will also be a tour through the railroad's Anchorage passenger station. Although the waiting room may be familiar to railroad passengers, most of the station and the railroad operations it houses are not.

Elizabeth and I got up at the Guesthouse Inn and Suites and after our morning duties we walked just north across the street to the Sizzlin' Cafe where I had enormous pancakes. It was an excellent meal, the best breakfast of the trip. If you come here, eat there. You will be very happy. Chris Parker is going to let me use his camera today so that we can get you all pictures for the story that I will take. Elizabeth and I walked to the Hilton and I went to the safety briefing for the tour this morning. I then walked out to the bus and boarded the bus to the Alaska Railroad Operations Center. I collected the ticket stubs for our tour this morning then Bart Jennings talked to us and gave us more information. The bus had to take a detour in order to get us to our first of two trip locations this morning. We arrived there and I posed a group picture in front of the building. This was the first time that a tour of this building has ever been given to the public.

The group picture before we started our tour. We went inside the building.

Once we were all inside we went up to the third floor to the yard master's office.

Alaska Railroad head yard master.

Views from the deck outside the head yard master's office.

We were visited by all sorts of Alaska Railroad employee.

John Garner who is like me a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan.

Another fantastic Alaska Railroad employee. From here we went into the Alaska Railroad dispatching center. There are two dispatching areas in this building and the railroad is divided into two at Willow.

A dispatching board and area.

The official clock.

The Chief Dispatcher.

The north railroad dispatching board.

The Chief Dispatcher took time to answer questions.

The Alaska Railroad Emergency Preparedness Room. Our last room to visit was locomotive simulator.

The Alaska Railroad locomotive simulator. That ended our tour of the Alaska Railroad Operations Center. From here we were bussed to the Alaska Railroad Anchorage train station for behind the scenes part of the tour there.

The Ticket Counter where I got my tickets in the past for trips on this great railroad. There was a train in the station ready to go and they let us go out to take some pictures of it.

The Glacier Discovery Train will leave at 9:45 AM this morning.

Our group being talk to. We learned that they have a very small passenger department for the high number of passengers that they serve each year.

Alaska Railroad posters.

Nicole Noford.

Every year the Alaska Railroad makes a new poster. Here are just a few since they started back in the late 1980's.

We talked about the history of trains on the Alaska Railroad.

Reservation agents of the Alaska Railroad.

More posters and paintings are located throughout the building.

Our group in the reservation office of the Alaska Railroad.

Michelle Renfrew. We returned to the station lobby and that was the end of our behind the scenes tour of the Alaska Railroad. Most of the group wanted to stay here and visit the gift shop so we only had three other passengers on the bus back to the Hilton Hotel.

I shot the Alaska Railroad 1. We went back to the hotel and that ended the tour.

I went to the Stewart 's Photo Shop to get a new point and shot camera and film for Elizabeth. I then walked to City Hall to get Elizabeth her City Pins but they did not have any but sent me to the Travel Alaska Office which gave me some things for her. Next I picked up two decks of Alaska Playing Cards for my mother then stopped at a store for chocolate donuts for me each morning. I returned to my hotel and put up yesterday's story then wrote this one. I finished before I had to leave fo my Shop Tour this afternoon.