Unit 1718 on September 7, 1983 at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, Alaska. At this time it was dedicated to pulling the Air Force train, although the loco was still owned by the ARR. Photo/scan by Curtis Fortenberry.
The main object of this website was, and still is, to gather all information on the USArmy locomotive EMD MRS-1 #1818, which was, until february 2000, serving as #1718 at the Alaska Railroad.
At that moment, the unit became available for preservation by the Museum of Alaska Transport and Industry (MATI).
With great help from Pat Durand of the MATI, and through this site, nescessary funds ($3000) were raised in only a few months.
SEE HOW THE UNIT LOOKS TODAY
Notice to train watchers! Keep an eye pealed on the south side of the track at MP 162.5 of the Alaska Railroad for an occasional glimpse of two rare birds.
GE 80 ton former USAF 1604 was sighted pulling an Alaska RR High Cube Troop Sleeper Box and an Alaska RR engineering Troop Kitchen Box car on trackage belonging to the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry on June 22 and 23.
Observers noted this is probably the shortest short line museum railroad in the country, about 120 ft long at present. That did not diminish the enthusiasm of Museum volunteers and supporters who were on hand to see the first MATI train under power.
This all happened during the celebration of the Alaska Transportation Expo at the Museum north of Wasilla.
On Saturday volunteers Pat Durand and Bob Niles worked out the safety issues for operating #1604 in conjunction with the show. The tractor show parade route had been established right next to the display track where the locomotive is stored. An inspection of 1604 revealed she was ready to be put back in service after nearly two years in storage. With hopes that the three 12 volt cat batteries were still holding a charge the start button was pushed and then the fun began. The two Cummins 300 HP engines came to ife and over the next 4 hours, brake tests and some tentative moveswere made while "the batteries were charged".
On Sunday, Frank Dewey, ARR engineer and former military railroader, joined the crew. An inspection of MRS1 #1718 revealed only good news. The engine was rolled over in preparation for starting. Battery connections were cleaned and while there was enough power for the fuel pump and lights, there was not enough reserve to crank the engine. A 32 volt battery charger was received with the locomotive but it requires 220 volt 13 AMP service. The intention is to wire up the charger and have another start up attempt in a few weeks.
Under Engineer Dewey's artful hand #1604 was operated on the short line for several hours. Many of the Antique Power Club members visited the cab and looked under the hood at the "heavy iron" participant in their show.
Several of the Museum RR volunteers were gratified to see their efforts at laying track for the Museum were finally being rewarded. The call came out, " Let's lay some more track!"
Thanks to all those volunteers, members and contributors who have made railroading at the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry finally comealive. Thank them best by becoming a member of the Museum and supporting the continuing effort.
Attention: People that posted a private message in the guestbook below... if you see this message, please post a message directly to me, since the mailbox connected to this old guestbook (and thus the possibility to retrieve my -forgotten- password) does no longer exist... my address: stef -at- thisdomain...
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