Over the past few weeks we’ve gotten a chance to check out the best that the Alaska Railroad has to offer – from its most attractive scenery to some of its rarer routes, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Part of the awesomeness of the NRHS convention was that we got to see some “behind the scenes” stuff that most rail passengers never get to see. The Alaska Railroad was undoubtedly a generous host, opening not just their rail system to us, but their operations center and even their locomotive shops.

I won’t include a whole lot of commentary with this post, and I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. If you ever wanted to get a “behind the scenes” view of the Alaska Railroad, we’ll take a quick tour of their operations center, check out the view from a few of their locomotives, visit the car facilities and of course, the locomotive shops. And yes, I ran all around with my trusty fish-eye lens… because I could!

From this perch one can monitor the activities of the Alaska Railroad…


Shall we take some equipment out for a spin?

Inside DMU #751 – “Chugach Explorer”


The Alaska Railroad’s finest railcar, the Denali, is luxury on the rails. Built in 1929 and refurbished by the Alaska Railroad, the car features only the fanciest materials – bronze, crystal, mahogany, and marble. The railcar contains a sitting area, a “boardroom”, a kitchen, as well as a bedroom and bathroom (which is probably nicer than the one in your own home).


Railcars used by various cruise companies are also stored and maintained here.

Some of the various equipment stored outside…

The car facilities and locomotive shops… that’s what you really wanted to see, isn’t it?

5 Responses

  1. Excellent coverage.

    Unfortunately, too many pictures were taken using fish-eye lens.

    • Emily says:

      Dear, that is what I do. By all means you are welcome to find alternate coverage of the shops, in fact there is some on the same site in which you host your own photos. Perhaps these would be more to your liking?

  2. Tyler says:

    Neat shots, Emily! I’ve really enjoyed your whole Alaska series and am slightly a lot very jealous of the entire experience. Trains. Alaska. Scenery. Trains. What’s not to love?

    On the subject of the whole fisheye debate, I’m torn. On the one hand, they are unarguably fantastic at photographing train-sized interiors (and you won’t find anything else that can capture that much of the cab) but on the other hand they don’t work for every photo. Your shots standing right between the rails and shooting up at a locomotive, especially #33, are so powerful because you used that lens. For other shots I just want things to be straight and stop hurting my brain. Actually, I don’t wish for those photos to be unfisheyed, I just wish there were some normal shots in there for variety.

    I’m currently shooting with a 17mm rectilinear lens and its effects are similar but different. You still get absolutely amazing lines radiating from the perspective point, they’re just straight instead of bowed. It’s no match for a fisheye in a locomotive cab but it’s pretty close and it’s far better for my purposes since I’m shooting the engineer at work.

    But hey, it’s your style, and you’re totally rocking it. Keep it up!

    Tyler (who has nothing against fisheye lenses…see page 37 of the December 2013 TRAINS for proof)

  3. William Hays says:

    Methinks locomotive engineers are reaching the point of ‘sensory overload’. More gizmos and gadgets in the cab. PTC is going to make it worse. The gummint is going to mandate an IT geek in the cab soon. Well, he/she might know how to DP a train…

  4. Backshophoss says:

    Well done,surprized they let the convention into the dispatch offices.

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