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NRHS 2013 Convention Palmer Branch and Anchorage Terminal Tour Excursion 9/20/2013 Part 2

by Chris Guenzler

After some good photographs in Palmer, the train was now headed to the Anchorage Airport spur.

Alaska has beautiful scenery that abounds.

Crossing those streams once again on our way back towards Anchorage.

The train slowing down for Birchwood where we slowed to five miles an hour for an opportunity to shoot the last Alaska Railroad RDC that was used in work train service.

Alaska Railroad RDC2 701 at Birchwood.

We returned to Anchorage and went by the passenger depot and headed to the airport line.

Mt. McKinley or Denali, depending on who you believe, was quite visible, as were other mountains of the Alaska range across the Kinik Inlet.

We came to the junction of the airport line and a signal gave us an available indication.

The train started onto the airport line.

Curving onto the airport line.

Gold Star passengers enjoying the airport line.

We reached the airport line control point and the train came to a stop.

The conductor climbed down to throw the switch which is normally aligned for the other route from the mainline. This leg of the wye was all new trackage to me.

Taking the first curve on the airport line.

Crossing a main road into the airport.

The train started up the grade to the airport.

The Anchorage control tower came into view.

The train has reached the airport parking lot and is high above it.

Mt. McKinley was visible above the parking lot.

The train is about to curve into the airport station. We detrained our passengers for the photo opportunity at the airport station. I went down and sat in front of the photo line.

The train backed into position for the static photo stop.

The static photo.

The backup move.

The photo runby at the airport. We reboarded the train and headed for our next stop at Potter.

The track we came in on.

We returned to the main line and now headed to Potter.

At Conrock we ran by the gravel that passed us at Matanuska on the way to Palmer.

Our train took curves on the way to Potter.

Mt. McKinley across the upper reaches of Turnagain Inlet.

Driftwood scattered along the shore of Turnagain Inlet. The train arrived in Potter after aligning the siding and we unloaded the passengers. We were told there was a freight train from Whittier coming our way about ten miles away. Everyone with cameras went to the extreme east end of the parking lot and set up for the freight train.

ARR speeder G1102.

Our train at Potter.

The train and Mt. McKinley off in the distance.

My freight train photo location.

Our passengers coming to the location.

The freight train came through Potter.

Rotary snowplow X-900212 is on display at Potter.

A troop sleeper kitchen car is also on display.

The Potter sign and one of the Gold Star cars.

The section house at Potter.

The view from upper level of one of the Gold Star cars.

The troop sleeper and rotary display which was closed during our visit.

The tidal bore, a tidal phenomenon in which the leading edge of the incoming tide forms a wave (or waves) of water that travels up a river or narrow bay against the direction of the river or bay's current. After some bear excitement caused by a bear following Bear Bait (Steve Barry), we reboarded the train and left for Anchorage. We said our goodbyes to our fantastic passengers and it has been another fabulous trip with all these passengers. We arrived at Anchorage at 4:25 PM, unloaded the train then closed up our car before walking back to the hotel to get ready for tonight's NRHS Banquet.

NRHS Banquet

We arrived at the Hilton during the start of the reception period. I got a ginger ale and socialized with my friends including Bart Jennings, Chris Parker, Robin Bowers and of course Sarah Jennings plus others. The doors opened with everyone going to their proper tables. Salads were waiting but our table had to ask for dinner rolls.

Greg Molloy welcomed us to the event and an invocation was said and soon the main dishes came. My prime rib did not come with any au jus or horseradish, not that I would have eaten that. The cheesecake dessert was the best part of the meal.

After dinner, Greg Molloy started off the evening's proceedings. That was followed by a talk about the two Rail Camps, one in Wilmington, Delaware and the other in Tacoma, Washington in 2014 and an overview of what the campers would be doing.

Bart told about this year's convention, what it took to do it and thanked everyone who helped, including the Let's Talk Trains show. After that, he spoke briefly about next year's convention in Arkansas. This was followed by Alaska Railroad people and a speech and presentation by Pat Shake, Vice President of Transportation and Mechanical who gave us a Powerpoint presentation. After that Greg Molloy said goodnight to us and the banquet was over. We walked back to the hotel and called it a night since we were both tired.