RailPictures.Net Photo: ARR 4327 Alaska Railroad EMD SD70MAC at Hurricane, Alaska by Dave Blaze...
 
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Photo Location Map Locomotive Details Location/Date of Photo


Alaska Railroad (more..)
EMD SD70MAC (more..)
Hurricane Gulch Bridge - MP 284.2 (more..)
Hurricane, Alaska, USA (more..)
July 23, 2011
Locomotive No./Train ID Photographer
ARR 4327 (more..)
ARR 231N (more..)
Dave Blaze... (more..)
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Remarks & Notes 
Railfanning - Alaska Style! - The train referred to as the DEX (Denali Express) crawls across the Hurricane Gulch bridge affording the passengers a stunning view of the Chulitna River and the Alaska Range to the west and the namesake creek in the chasm far below. The DEX runs whenever a Princess cruise ship is docked in Whittier (normally every Saturday and every other Wednesday) under contract and runs non stop from the ship to Denali Park and then deadheads empty on to Fairbanks. A southbound counterpart does the exact opposite. This bridge spans 918 ft and rises 296 ft above the floor below. It is the signature location the on the entire ARR mainline and was the most expensive and difficult engineering project on the entirety of the line. The American Bridge Company started construction in early 1921, erected steel in June and finished in August. To construct the bridge, they strung an aerial tram across the gulch and construction proceeded from both sides. The first passenger train crossed Hurricane Gulch Bridge on August 15, 1921 culminating the $1,200,000 project. While easily the most spectacular point on the mainline between Anchorage and Fairbanks it is rarely photographed except from the train itself. This is because it is virtually inaccessible. I've lived in Alaska more than four years and have longed to figure out how to make this happen....Saturday's in summer are the best days to try, because if successful I knew I would have four different passenger trains cross it in the span of about 2 1/2 hrs. To access this shot, however, took a great deal of planning and not the least little bit of nerve. After driving three hours from my home in Anchorage I had to make my best guess as to how to access this vantage point. It took two hours of climbing, crawling and slogging and endless whacks with a machete to bushwhack through to the ridge affording this broadside view. I had a shotgun and bear spray just in case but fortunately they weren't needed...at least not for bears. After finding this vantage I needed to cut down a fair amount of trees and brush to open it up suitably. At one point I was holding on to a branch and leaning over a 200 ft drop to hack a tree clear, however there was one stubborn 4 inch diameter tree I could not reach safely. Then I remembered the shotgun and wondered if just like in the movies when they shoot locks on doors if maybe there wasn't a solution here. Well, it took every round I had, but on the eighth shot the tree top tumbled to bottom of the gorge and the results are here before you. So in the end it was 6 hrs of driving, 4 hrs of hiking, 8 shotgun shells, soaking wet pants and feet, and a cut and swollen hand....was it worth it? Well you decide....
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