Alaska Railroad Trip

Anchorage to Denali by Railway

Trip Report:  20070809

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The Trip

The second part of our railway adventure called for us to travel from Anchorage to Denali via the Alaska Railroad. Kathleen had arranged for "Gold Star" service on this leg of our trip. The weather was very good, although there were some clouds and fog early in the day outside of Anchorage. But, other than these minor annoyances, it was a great trip.

The photos below are what we saw.

Alaska Railroad runs relatively new locomotives on this route. Age notwithstanding, these guys are dirty. Thery throw out a ton of smoke when under load and that makes viewing from the second level vestibule very uncomfortable.

The coaches were new and well appointed and they had a viewing area on the second level. This allows you to look over trees and brush which was a problem on the Rocky Mountaineer.

I was ready to rock and roll and the camera had empty storage cards that would hold hundreds of photos. Most of the photos would be tossed for a variety of reasons. The shots that made it to these pages are the best of the best.

Looking west from the Anchorage rail yard provided a sweeping view of the mountains in the distance.

Soon after departing the Anchorage area, we spotted this eagle on the wing with Mt. McKinley (aka Denali) in the distance.

Clouds occasionally hid Denali, but we were lucky in that it was visible most of the trip. There were plenty of flight-seeing planes out and about giving rides to tourists.

When we reached Talkeetna, I spotted this old Dodge power wagon that had been repurposed as sinage for this bar.

Talkeetna station was very busy with many folks getting on and off the train.

Further down the line, clearing clouds provided better views of Denali.

There were beautiful meadows next to the rail line.

I was dozing on the train and shouts of "moose" awoke me. I managed to get the camera out, enabled, zoomed and sorta focused before this baby dissapeared from view.

The further north we went, the less clouds we encountered. Here, we got a reasonable clear view of Denali.

Various cruise lines pay the Alaska Railroad to tow their cars. Along the line, there we great wild flowers in bloom.

Mostly clear, but the peak of Denali was still obscured by light clouds.

Shooting from a 50 mph train that is rocking from side to side was tough. The clouds did not help, but I did get several reasonable shots of the Alaska Range.

Some of the peaks on the flanks of Denali were very impressive.

The pond provided nice reflections of the clouds.

There were a number of kinds of cars on the train; some were quite old. Here, you can see the twists in the rail line.

The polished paint on the leading cars provided an interesting reflection of the clouds and range in front of the train.

We finally reached Denali station. Here you can see the large 2 level car we were in. Note the viewing deck on the second level.

The Nenana River, right outside the front door of our cabin.

The train was good. Frankly, it was nowhere near as nice as the Rocky Mountaineer nor was the scenery as dramatic. That said, we still got good views of Denali and the surrounding ranges. Tomorrow, we would rent a light plane and land on one of the many glaciers that line the flanks of Denali.

Flight Seeing and Glacier Landing

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