Saturday, March 26, 2022

SD70MAC vs Moose!

Moose in a stand-off with Alaska Railroad (ARRC) General Motors model SD70MAC locomotive.

The Alaska Railroad owns 28 SD70MAC locomotives, which make up more than half of ARR's 51-unit locomotive fleet. “SD” refers to Special Duty and “MAC” translates to “M” for Modified cab and “AC” for Alternating Current traction motors.

Each 4000-hp unit features a name on its nose:

• 4001 — Spirit of Alaska
• 4002 — Spirit of Seward
• 4003 — Spirit of Moose Pass
• 4004 — Spirit of Whittier
• 4005 — Spirit of Girdwood
• 4006 — Spirit of Anchorage
• 4007 — Spirit of Palmer
• 4008 — Spirit of Wasilla
• 4009 — Spirit of Talkeetna
• 4010 — Spirit of Cantwell
• 4011 — Spirit of Denali
• 4012 — Spirit of Healy
• 4013 — Spirit of Nenana
• 4014 — Spirit of Fairbanks
• 4015 — Spirit of North Pole
• 4016 — Spirit of Delta Junction

ARR 4010 "Spirit of Cantwell" named in honor of Lieutenant J. C. Cantwell, military explorer and commander of the revenue steamer Corwin on the Yukon River, 1898-1900.

Cantwell Alaska, population ~200 souls, is located in the Denali Borough (a.k.a. "county").

Photographer Jon Hall captured 4010 in Anchorage on August 25, 2008. Great "roster"shot! 

You gain "extra points" if you can spot the Big Dipper and  the North Star, painted on the car body. The Big Dipper and North Star are defining features  is featured on the Alaska state flag.

The "average" weight of an adult male moose is ~1,000 lbs (455 kg, 71 st), whilst the GM six axle SD70MAC weighs about 415,000 lbs (188,241 kg, 19,643 st.)

You may know that the moose is the largest member of the deer family. (Note to those who rail about deer eating their rhody's — don't antagonize the deer! — they have enforcers!)


I am not an expert in accident analysis, but common sense dictates that if you hit an animal of this size, you could end up with  a ~1,000 pound caucus ramping up your hood impacting your windshield!

What do you think?  Click "comments" below to express your opinion.


Finally, a jaw dropping Close encounters of the "Moose" Kind!" 



Thursday, March 24, 2022


Character of an individual. Forbearance: patient self-control; restraint, tolerance.

I was down at the beach waiting for a cruise ship to pass Pt. Wilson, beginning its journey to S.E. Alaska.

I noticed a Great Blue Heron, waiting for a delicious tidbit to pass by on the flood tide.

After fusing around with my camera, my attention was directed back to the Heron. I realized he was in a territorial  stare-down with a dreaded Woody Beach creature.

And that conjured up Travis' famous dialog with his mirrored image in Taxi Driver ...

We all know the Heron is the epitome of forbearance. I've seen then stand stoically for hours waiting for a tasty snack. 

Great egrets, snowy egrets, great blue herons, and other migratory birds are protected under federal law. It's illegal to shoot, trap, or harm them in any way. 

However, there are steps you can take to protect the fish in your pond: Wading birds fish in shallow water.

The cruise ship came and went. I packed up my gear. As I climbed into my motor vehicle, I smiled. The show down between the Great Blue Heron and the devilish Woody Beach creature continued ...

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Goodbye 2021! Don't let the door hit you ...

[Reminder. Click images for full frame]

Somehow we survived another year despite the terrible pandemic encircling the world.

Once more we extend our gratitude for the front-line medical personnel, who are showing signs of trauma, taking its toll in fatigue, burn-out, and some, unfortunately, dropping out of the field of medicine.

I determined to shake this miasma of stress and uncertainty, largely fed by the intense, incessant pessimism of the media.

One of the best self-help steps I took toward shaking the miasma,  was "cutting the cable." I switched to Roku streaming services.  Not only did I realize a ~$100/month saving, but for the first time in my television viewing history, I CONTROL what I want to watch and when. 

Readership since October, 2007

Invigorated by today's Blogger report of readership statistics, I will begin to gnaw on the backlog of unpublished materials developed last  year.

Several significant news stories were released under the abhorrent banner "Breaking News!" in 2021. Some stations prolong the drama by following "Breaking News" with "Developing Story." 

We will be sharing in-depth coverage of a few of those stories, including:

• The events leading up to the discovery of brand-new refrigerators on a desolate stretch of Northern Vancouver Island shoreline.

 • Deconstruction in-situ of the constructive loss of the PCC Golden Ray. 

• Limited reopening of WSDOT/ODT/Amtrak "Cascades" service. Sorta. Canadian Border remains closed. 

• Limited reopening of cruise ships to SE Alaska.

•  Who is Royal Caribbean's "Flying Dutchman," and why she is destined to have no destination in the foreseeable future.

Canadian National Railways 5000 (pronounced 50-hundred) was erected by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1913. CNR's mechanical department adopted the Canadian Northern's method of locomotive classification, which is in the format of X-1-a.

X" denotes the wheel arrangement (and in some cases the driver size), while "1" denotes common specifications between groups of locomotives, such as cylinder sizes. "a" usually used to distinguish different batches of similar locomotives. CNR 5000 was Pacific 4-6-2 (Whyte notation); Type: Class J-1-a. 35% represents the locomotives rated "efficiency."

Of course you need the Official Roster, to interpret the class code. Diesel locomotives also carry the class code, such as GFA-15b, et sic perro.

She was constructed with a "California Cab" featuring an open cab with canvas side curtains. 

5000 worked the Skeena Subdivision as the "local" servicing Terrace and Kitimat.



I suggest this is probably the last photo taken of her in Prince Rupert, becoming part of 922, Time Freight out of Rupert, heading for a temporary deadline in Jasper, in May, 1958.

Soon there came a day when steam powered eastbound 196, met diesel powered westbound 195, at Morricetown (Bulkley Subdivision) at 15.10k, ushering in the diesel era to CNR's West End. 

The serotonin-boosting chant of the EMD 16V 567C engines had been on the freighters for some time, as reflected in this photo of the round house leads. CNR 7242 is the yard limit switcher. On her death bed, CNR 5152 (4-6-2) will lead varnish 196 up the Skeena River at super time,  and CNR 4208 (GP-9) married to a bravo unit,probably an F-7, will follow 196 with 4th class freight 922 into the overawing Skeena River Valley.

Despite being a novice "rail buff," I instinctively knew how close I was to "the prize!"

My Dad, sensing my thoughts, reminded me I would be the prime suspect should I follow through with removing the number plate — simply because I was the only kid in town running at large in the yard with camera in hand.

So. 5000 left town later that night stitched into Time Freight 922, with her number plate and a mesmerizing brass bell ...