Conductor Steve Culver commenting on the P.A. about his punching the
train tickets and how the chad on the
better than Florida
chad. At Portage, a few more passengers and the float trip crew
are waiting for the train. Passengers headed to fishing are on
the left and river guides on the right
There are three
Alaska Railroad locomotives
waiting here for the Glacier Discovery train to diverge towards Whittier
so they can head to Anchorage.
the train leaves the mainline track and continues 12 miles through two
to the tidewater Prince William town of Whittier.
Below left, other
equipment occupies the siding along the mainline with a spreader on one
end. Below right, several cabooses and other maintenance of way
equipment occupy one of the yard tracks on the Whittier Branch
The valley through
which the Whittier Branch traverses has waterfalls and glaciers.
The second of two
tunnels is the dual use 2.5 mile
long Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel. I have driven through it and
a passenger in the bed of a pick-up truck. I have been throught
the tunnel many more times by train.
First views on the
easterly side of the Anton Anderson Tunnel are of the traffic waiting
area and a tank farm.
At the cruise ship
dock sits the Carnival
Spirit ship, waiting for its passengers, some of whom are on the
Discovery train.Other passengers have
just disembarked from the ship and join the train for the rest of the
travel to Anchorage.This is the second year of the return of
large passenger cruise ships.Whittier
has come of age since the year 2000.That year marked opening of the Anton Anderson Memorial tunnel,
only tunnel completed in the 1940’s which now alternates between
traffic.In place of dirt parking lots
is fresh pavement and concrete curbing.The “triangle” area of town has an improved look.Basically a cul-de-sac, it has several
restaurants and gift shops.In addition
to the new cruise ship dock on the west side of town, there is a new
marina and other large new
structures housing busineses.Many long
established business are still going strong.
In the right
photograph above, a vessel called the Klondike Express takes some
Glacier Discovery train passengers on a 26 glacier cruise. Barely
visible above the blue walkway cover is the Emerald Sea, which visits
Blackstone Bay. Later in this photo essay, I did take a glacier
cruise on the Emerald Sea.