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Alaska Rail Road

Alaska Rail Road
By Prakash Tendulkar


Alaska Number One.JPG (62338 bytes)

Ex-Isthmus Canal Commission No. 802 brought to Alaska as Alaska Engineering Commission No. 6 in 1917. Built by Davenport as a narrow gauge 0-4-0 ST in October 1907, it was converted to standard gauge in 1930. Renumbered to No. 1 in 1947, it has been placed on display at Alaska Rail Road's office in Anchorage.

Alaska Rail Road covers just 470 miles and could be considered as a short line. However, it offers a vital link with the rest of the continent. It touches tidewater at three ports, Seward, Whittier and Anchorage. Rail barges ferry wagons carrying variety of cargo from Whittier in Alaska to ports in British Columbia and Washington State.

In summer 1923, President Warren G. Harding drove the golden spike which formally opened the railroad. 62 years later, on January 5, 1985, the State of Alaska received the title of this railroad for $22.3 million.


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