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NRHS 2013 Convention Alaska RR charter train one-way from Fairbanks to Denali Park 9/16/2013

by Chris Guenzler

Up early and ready to go we had to pay for breakfast this morning. After a good meal it was out to the crew bus, safety briefing then the bus ride to the train. I worked the same car as yesterday this time with Elizabeth assisting me. We opened up our car and started loading up our passengers. I sent Elizabeth to the gift shop then the head end for her pictures of the train.

Once she returned I walked to the front end of our train.

The Fairbanks Station.

Our train at the Fairbanks Station.

A neat moment at the Fairbanks Station. Once she returned I walked to the front end of our train.

The front of the train at Fairbanks.

Alaska Railroad SD70MAC 4324.

Alaska Railroad GP-40-2 3013

Our train at sunrise at Fairbanks.

One more view of our train at Fairbanks. Our consist was Alaska Railroad SD70MAC 4324 and GP-40-2 3013, Goldstar 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. I walked back to my door and Bart had me leave my door open until the last passengers had boarded before I buttoned up my car. We left Fairbanks at 7:58 AM and headed east to the balloon track. My camera started giving me problems.

We headed east to get to the lead for the balloon track giving me a bit of new rail mileage on today's trip as this track was not here on my last trip to Fairbanks.

Taking the first curve of the balloon track.

Views on the east side

Now we started our running along the south side of the Alaska Railroad yard.

Looking back to the Alaska Railroad train station we just had left.

There was a freight train in the yard.

Alaska Railroad SD70MAC 4007.

Alaska Railroad GP-40-2 3008.

A pair of yard pictures before we headed out of Fairbanks.

Fall colors were everywhere.

A lake only makes the scene better.

I worked on my stories as we headed to Nenana, our first stop of the day.

The train crossed the Mears Memorial Bridge.

Crossing the Tanana River on the Mears Memorial Bridge.

Looking down into Nenana.

The Nenana siding.

The train took a curve through the Fall colors at Nenana.

Fall colors at Nenana.

Two old Alaska Railroad passenger cars at Nenana.

The church and a beautiful tree in Nenana.

The Nenana Station. I then got that dreaded camera message "Error Press Shutter Release Button Again." I tried everything I could think of to get it to work but no luck. We pulled into Nenana and unloaded our train. We walked to the grade crossing to let the train clear before walking to the banks of the Nenana River for a Photo Runby.

All pictures from this point to the end of this story were taken by Chris Parker with many thanks from me for saving my story.

Bart Jennings and the lower photo line.

The train came out onto the Mears Memorial Bridge.

The train on the Mears Memorial Bridge with the lower photo line at Nenana.

The upper photo line at Nenana.

The train returned into Nenana. We would be here for over an hour. I walked to the store and got myself a 20 ounce bottle of Coca-Cola at a really good price.

Elizabeth was running to city hall to get a municipal pin but they were closed for lunch. She will have to come back or mail them to get it. I then went through Nenana Train Station Museum before I went back to the train and stood by my door. I called Randy Jackson and told him about the convention, camera problems and I felt much better about everything. Our passengers returned and soon we left Nenana.

The train took one of the curves as we crossed the low hills before reaching the Alaska Range.

Later we reached the Alaska Range.

There was a coal tain loading at the Usibelli Tipple as we went by on our trip south.

The electrical plant outside of Healy. From here we went into Nenana River Canyon.

The train went through the Nenana River Canyon which was beautiful as we traveled though it. We went under the Moody highway bridge and made a big turn to where we came to a large open area on the left and stopped for a photo runby. I unloaded my car then buttoned up the car before we backed up for the photo runby which we did four times.

Photo Runby 1.

Photo Runby 2.

Photo Runby 3. We reboarded our passengers before we continued though the rest of the Nenana River Canyon.

Great peaks can be seen from the train as we traveled deeper into the Alaska Range.

The train took more curves before we reached our overnight stop at Denali Park. We arrived there and after we unloaded our passengers, we unloaded our luggage before closing up our car. We took a school type bus with overhead luggage racks to the McKinley Chalet Resort. Chris stayed for a Photo Runby on the platform which is shown below.

The back up move.

The Photo Runby.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth and I were taken to the McKinley Chalet Resort. We waited in line until we reached the front counter and then were given our room keys and a map. We were in Cabin V. We walked the long walk downhill as far as you could possibly go then took the path to Cabin V. We had to walk past all the upstairs rooms before taking a staircase down and we found our two bedroom suite. After getting on-line and leaving Brian an e-mail to fix my Filezilla, we hiked back up the hill to the Subway restaurant and sat outside with some of our NRHS friends. We hiked back to our room and after a second attempt, Brian fixed the problem and we tested it to make sure. I then uploaded Days 1 and 2 of this convention so Winston could proof them for me before we called it a night.

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