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ARR 551 single level

Alaska Railroad 551 (Single Level Dome)

Anchorage, AK. June, 2000. Photo by John Combs

Type of Car: Single Level Dome Coach
Coach: 76
Length: 85 feet
Height: 12 feet, 11 inches
Weight: ?
Platform Size : None
Kitchen/Galley: No
Restrooms: 2
ADA Features: 1 ADA Restroom
Built: 1997
Ran as: Florida Fun Train (RRCX) 9001, Alaska Railroad (ARR) 551.

Notes: Along with several other cars, Alaska Railroad 551 was built for the ambitious Florida Fun Train, a service that had a very brief life running between Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, FL. The train had a total of four single level domes, along with two dining/restaurant cars, a theatre car and an innovative arcade car that included virtual reality games and video games. Unfortunately, the service quickly failed due to lack of ridership and some legal snarls, and the 551 and the rest of the train reposed until sold to the Alaska Railroad in 1999.

The 551 was constructed using using the center sill from former Canadian National baggage car CN 9237, which was built in Dec., 1955 and later became CN 9620 and VIA 9620 before being retired. The car body is still in use as a storage shed on at CRM's plant.

After being renumbered and repainted at Colorado Railcar, the 551, 552, 553, 554 and business car 2000 (along with the other four FFT cars) were shipped to Alaska and placed in service on the Grandview Glacier Discovery Train between Anchorage and Grandview. I understand that the garish interiors — intended to represent the flamboyance of the Florida lifestyle but out of place in Alaska — will be replaced as they begin to wear.

Update: These cars are set to be refurbished over the winter 2004-2005 with larger seats. No word yet on exact styling, but the cars will retain their four-top table configuration.

Leaving Anchorage, AK? A representative interior photo by John Combs. June, 2000.

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