Caboose View

In Skagway Alaska, we caught a sightseeing train from the sea up into White Pass. I took this just after we reversed directions to head back down.

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Caboose View
The view out the back of the White Pass Railroad in Skagway, Alaska

The whole trip I hung out between the cars where I could get pictures of the landscape. On the way up we were in the first car behind the engine. Then the train pulled into a siding and the locomotive connected to the other end and, as you can see, we were at the back.

more from Alaska in the gallery

It was pretty high up, and the weather dropped about forty-degrees. Skagway used to be a mining town, and in the Klondike days before the train, miners would traverse the pass on foot or mule. That would be a hard slog indeed, so I was glad to be on a train with its trusty breaks all the way back down.

Alaska Train

Here is a shot of the train we took from Seward to Anchorage a couple of years back. It was at the end of a cruise, and the only way back to the airport was a four-hour train ride through the mountains. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun.

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Alaska Train

I ended up roaming the train, back and forth through the cars like a kid in a candy shop. I would stop between the cars to take pictures of the scenery rushing by. This is how travel was meant to be.

more from Alaska

If you stayed in your seat, they would come around and take your order for food and drinks. Unlike an airplane, you have a lot of space to stretch out and enjoy the meal. But I was on my feet most of the time, quite often at the front near the engine snapping photos like this.

Choo Choo Station

Here’s a shot from inside the restored train station in downtown Chattanooga. The station isn’t operational; it’s now a historical spot for music and arts. There are a few old trains at the station converted to shops, restaurants, and a hotel.

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Choo Choo Station
Inside the restored train station of the famous Chattanooga Choo Choo

The Frothy Monkey that I posted about the other day is just to the right. We just finished lunch, and I was waiting for the valet to return the car when I took this photo. The little choo-choo motif on the right seals the deal for me.

a lot more pretty pictures

The whole time I was here, I couldn’t stop humming the old Andrews Sisters song (https://youtu.be/FdrYYUuT07Q). I wonder if you can still catch a train to Tennessee from Track 29 at Penn station. I doubt it, but it would be cool if you could.

Train to Anchorage

I took this on a train to Anchorage Alaska as I stood on the platform of a rail car just behind the engine. It is fair to say I got a good dose of diesel fumes that day, especially in the tunnels. But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, it was an awesome experience. 

The more I ride trains the more pictures I have of coming through tunnels. It invariable evokes the metaphors of pulling through and the light at the end. These are things we all experience and it’s natural to find corollaries in the world to represent our inner thoughts.

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Train to Anchorage
Train to Anchorage Alaska

As such I wax philosophical about images because sometimes I find it more interesting that what my camera settings were or what I was doing at the time. I’m interesting in interpretation and how we relate to images.

I prefer to find a hopeful meaning in an image. For me it’s important to be open to the possibility of good things. I think good things are not by chance, rather a state of mind; that’s what optimism is.

images with tracks

I am fortunate to have traveled the rails on a high mountain pass and experience re-emerging into the light from a tunnel. It is at once visceral and metaphorical. What more could I want?

White Pass Summit

If you visit Alaska perhaps one the places you will see is Skagway. The biggest employer in that town is the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. It winds from the sea port up the mountains into British Columbia. If you like trains then add this to your list because not only is the scenery spectacular there’s a lot of history preserved in these trains and the rail museum in town.

White Pass Summit
White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad in Alaska

We took an excursion up to the top of the pass which takes about an hour-and-a-half one-way. On the way up we were in the first car behind the engine but on the way back the engine reattached to the other end and we were at the rear. That afforded me the chance to stand out the back and capture this other train as we entered the main track from a siding.

favorites from the gallery

This is a popular attraction and for good reason. When we booked the trip there were no more standard tickets so we booked the first class parlor car. Boy, that was nice, we had soft cushioned seats, an attendant and all the food and drink we wanted. However I couldn’t manage to sit still, I preferred to stand on the outside platform taking picture most of the way. When we finally got back to lower elevations I came back in the coach to find everyone asleep in their comfortable chairs. That was pretty funny, but I’m still glad I stood outside and enjoyed the scenery from the cheap seats, even if I did pay for a comfy chair inside.

Tropicana Train

Tropicana Train
Tropicana train in the morning                                   purchase fine art print

This is the morning Tropicana Train crossing the river on the way to the plant. Bradenton is across the river and trains cross this river day and night to drop off fruit and load up orange juice to take all over North America. Whenever I travel and visit a grocery store, I like to look at the OJ container to see the “Made in Bradenton” label on the box. Don’t ask me why, kind of a silly thing I guess.