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Nostalgia & History > The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Train


Date: 04/30/13 15:05
The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Train
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

I was browsing through my July 1956 OFFICIAL GUIDE reprint the other day and noticed that the Alaska Railroad at that time ran an overnight passenger train from Anchorage to Fairbanks called THE MIDNIGHT SUN. It had two types of sleeping cars -- one type had 6 compartments and 3 drawing rooms and the other had 12 sections and one drawing room.

Since the ARR always seemed to have some funky, hand-me-down equipment (remember those weird looking Alco RF-1s?), has anyone ever seen any photos of these cars? Any info on their heritage and disposition?

http://www.alaskarails.org/historical/Strong/WRS0325.jpg



Date: 04/30/13 16:12
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: trainjunkie

Not sure what they used on this train but there were some heavyweights...

http://www.alaskarails.org/fp/passenger/pass-retired/UK-sleeper-90.html

http://www.alaskarails.org/fp/passenger/pass-retired/UK-90.html

http://www.alaskarails.org/fp/passenger/pass-retired/TS-sleeper-91.html

http://www.alaskarails.org/fp/passenger/pass-retired/TS-sleeper-92.html

Plus two 1956 Pullman Built cars, National Emblem and National Domain. Both of these are part of a B&B near Fairbanks called the Aurora Express B&B.

http://www.fairbanksalaskabedandbreakfast.com

I don't know what happened to the heavyweights.



Date: 04/30/13 17:11
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

I'll bet those were the ones that were used. It looks like at least some of them are still on the property.

Thanks for the links . . .



Date: 04/30/13 17:32
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: trainjunkie

Well, I know the two National cars are in the B&B and there aren't any heavyweights around here on the AKRR any more so I'm sure they are long gone from the property.



Date: 04/30/13 19:19
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: emd_mrs1

Branchline Trains produced model kits of the two Alaska Railroad sleeper cars. This may be a good reference point.

Michael



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/13 19:20 by emd_mrs1.



Date: 04/30/13 19:25
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: west

Hi,

The short lived Midnight Sun service used cars 90,91,92. They were purchased
secondhand from Pullman Co.

After that service was discontinued they were used by the ARR
as backup coaches and for occasional Army troop movements on the ARR.

90 and 91 were in Nenana, privately owned last I heard.

92 is on display at the Museum of Alaska Transportation & Industry in Wasilla.

From a prior post:
...Plus two 1956 Pullman Built cars, National Emblem and National Domain. Both of these are part of a B&B near Fairbanks called the Aurora Express B&B...

These two cars were never owned or operated by the Alaska Railroad. They were brought to Alaska to be used as temporary rooms at McKinley Park (now Denali)
after the hotel there burned in 1972. They were owned by the National Park Service. They were painted in the 1970's ARR paint scheme along with other cars
used as temporary lodging to replace the hotel until a new hotel was built.
including the ARR sleepers 90 and 91 (which didn't wear the 1970's wide yellow stripe scheme in ARR service).

The ARR purchased 30 streamlined passenger cars from the Union Pacific in the early 1970's, but there were no sleeping cars in the purchase. Because of that
and the ARR paint those two cars are often confused with actual ARR cars both in print and online.

Don



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/30/13 19:27 by west.



Date: 04/30/13 20:31
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: trainjunkie

Don, thanks for the clarification on the National series cars. I found the information on them here:

http://www.alaskarails.org/historical/former/ARR-alumni-misc.html

and on the B&B's site but aside from the B&B site stating, "Many years ago it (National Emblem) traveled the Aurora route from Seward to Fairbanks, Alaska", I could find no other evidence that these were actually former ARR cars. I'll have to see if I can find those two HW cars in Nenana some day when I have nothing better to do.



Date: 04/30/13 20:56
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: west

Hi,

The 90 & 91 were on the north side of the ARR tracks, a few blocks east of the depot.

Google Maps image shows them still there, where River Front St crosses the ARR.
Look for two silver roofs, staggered from each other, roughly parallel to the ARR tracks.

Don



Date: 05/01/13 08:22
Re: The Alaska Railroad's "Midnight Sun" Passenger Trai
Author: Pullman

Info on the UP's National series sleepers -

http://utahrails.net/pass/pass-lw-sleepers.php#sleeper-national-border

Both the Domain and the Emblem were retired with the rest of the cars in 1971.



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