Facebook Page
Glacier Discovery Grandview Page 2

Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery Grandview Train

June 22, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Richard Elgenson

Conductor Steve Culver commenting on the P.A. about his punching the train tickets and how the chad on the floor is better than Florida hanging 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.  At Portage, the train leaves the mainline track and continues 12 miles through two tunnels 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 been 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 Glacier Discovery train.  Other passengers have just disembarked from the ship and join the train for the rest of the day and 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, a rail only tunnel completed in the 1940’s which now alternates between vehicular and rail 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.

Grandview Page 3