Alaska hosts railway convention

FAIRBANKS (AP)  — People from across the country are expected in Fairbanks next month for the opportunity to ride rare rails as part of the 2013 National Railway Historical Society Convention, which Alaska is hosting in September.

The convention runs Sept. 14–22.

“It’s never been done,” said Dan Osborne former president of Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad and now a member of the NRHS. Osborne is the primary contact in Fairbanks, organizing events. “And it’ll get members on trips they’ve never been on before.”

Convention activities begin in Fairbanks Saturday Sept. 14 at Pioneer Park with a special viewing of the oldest artifact in Fairbanks — the Tanana Valley Engine No. 1. The 1899 steam engine was used in coal mines around Dawson in the early 1900s and will be fired up, spewing and in action.

The following day, the NRHS is chartering a passenger train out to North Pole traversing tracks typically used by freight trains.

“It is the first and possibly last passenger train to North Pole,” Osborne said. “It’s a haven for ‘rare mileage collectors’,” a term in the railroad community referring to people who seek out unique trips.

Later that day the NRHS is operating two 90-minute round-trips out of Fairbanks into the Goldstream Valley. These will be open to the public.

The National Railway Historical Society and railroad buffs will make their way down to Denali, passing through Nenana where 29th U.S. President Warren G. Harding drove the golden spike, signifying the completion of the Alaska Railroad in 1923.

The trip continues down to Anchorage and Seward, riding rare trails and exploring museums and railroad stations along the way.

The trip to Denali and Anchorage will feature “run-bys,” according to Osborne. Run-bys are when the train stops in a beautiful setting and everybody exits the train and takes photographs of the train going by.

Then the train will back up and everyone will get back on board.

“For years Fairbanks was completely reliant on the Tanana Valley Railroad and the Alaska Railroad,” Osborne said. “Even though it doesn’t seem like it, even today, if the railways shut down, it won’t take long before it has a negative effect on Fairbanks.”

More in News

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Anchor Point house fire leaves one dead, one in serious condition

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Snow and debris from an avalanche can be seen near Mile 45 on the Seward Highway on Monday, March 29, 2021. (Photo courtesy Goldie Shealy)
Center promotes avalanche awareness

The Chugach Avalanche Center in Girdwood will begin its daily forecasts Saturday.

Commercial fishing and other boats are moored in the Homer Harbor in this file photo. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Seawatch: Historic sockeye run predicted for Bristol Bay

ADF&G says 2022 run could break this year’s record

The entrance to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in the Tongass National Forest was covered in snow on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, a day after federal authorities announced the next step in restoring the 2001 Roadless Rule on the forest. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Feds put freeze on Roadless Rule rollback

On the Roadless Rule again.

tease
Alaska man pleads not guilty to threatening 2 US senators

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of 50 years in prison.

Commercial fishing vessels are seen here on the Kenai River on July 10, 2020. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)
Fishing industry takes a hit during pandemic

Overall fish harvesting jobs in Alaska dropped by the widest margin since 2000 — 14.1% — in 2020.

FILE - The Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on July 8, 2020. U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, declared "squaw" to be a derogatory term and said she is taking steps to remove the term from federal government use and to replace other derogatory place names. The popular California ski resort changed its name to Palisades Tahoe earlier this year. (AP Photo/Haven Daley, File)
Interior secretary seeks to rid U.S. of derogatory place names

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Friday formally declared… Continue reading

Most Read