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Return to Model Railroading in Alaska.
The History and Travels
of the Business Car Alaska.
Part 9, On the Road Again
Would you like to have the Prez and Business Car Alaska visit your Railroad or Club?  For more information, e-mail Marty Quaas, CEO of the Consolidated South Western Railroad.

On April 9, 2007 the Alaska with the Prez on board was loaded on the barge to visit Mike VanHove's Colorado Midland Railroad in Columbia Missouri.  The following is a report of the visit:

Well, the Prez arrived in town, after we had received due warning from the Palmer Authorities.  When he arrived, I was afraid to unpack him, as he was really raising Hell, shaking the packing crate, and breaking booze bottles and such.  I was able to get my lovely wife to take the grand daughters to the library for the afternoon, so I took my heart in my hand and gingerly opened the crate.  He was well packed, I will say that.  He (the Prez) was also carrying a full load, as well.  I locked him in a dark, very secure cupboard, for the night.   By the next morning, he had pretty well sobered up, as I think he had  run out of booze.   I actually had a rather pleasant conversation with him, in which he displayed a degree of shame that really surprised me.  He promised to go straight.   I later discovered that meant “Straight to the nearest purveyor of spiritus fermenti”


The Prez shot off the train, like the Devil, Himself was after him, and disappeared into Wicked Wanda’s, one of the many houses of ill repute, in town.  In the front door, after nearly knocking down our local priest, Father Guido Sarducci, who was on his way into Wanda’s.  To save souls, no doubt.  He can be seen on the second floor landing.  Several hours later, the Prez emerged, and ran right into the Red Eye Saloon.  When they ran out of liquid refreshment, he was out the back door, around behind Wicked Wanda’s, and into the back door of the National Saloon.  Being a patriotic soul, he ordered up a round for the house, and they all had one for “Old Glory”.   Actually, they had several for “Old Glory”, and anything else they could think of to toast.  About two hours into the National Saloon escapade,  the barkeep noticed the stock was running low.   Being a good business man, he took immediate action.  He sent young Durwood Fosdick, the night telegrapher, down to the depot to send to Leadville for more booze.  Well, young Durwood, having had a few, himself, got right into the spirit of the thing and ordered up an entire trainload of  the evil stuff.

A relief train is arriving in Thomasville, just in the nick of time to save the day with more beer!

On the following morning, even the Prez was feeling a little under the weather, and he came into the Station, where I always hold forth, being the Depot Agent, and all.  He was looking for a really huge bottle of Alka Seltzer.  We sat down to a couple of cups of my famous ‘Depot Coffee’, and had another long talk.  Once again, he was filled with remorse for the actions of the previous evening, he felt responsible for most, if not all, of the carnage that had been wrought on Thomasville, and most of all, for the soiling of several of Wanda’s Doves.  In his defense, I will say, this is not the first time these Doves had been soiled.   At any rate, as we talked, he became more dismayed by his formed actions, and swore to go straight.  Claimed he had a Devine Visitation, and was going to do his best to save the good folks of Thomasville and with that, he arose, adjusted his tie, tucked in what was left of his shirt, and went out to preach the gospel.
 
The Prez and his flock.

By the middle of May, the Alaska had arrived in Alpine Utah for a second visit to Ted York’s Cajon Pass Railroad.  At first, the Alaska was parked in the back of Ted’s San Bernardino Roundhouse and the Prez found time to visit the sites along N. Mt. Vernon Ave.  Almost as soon as he left the railroad property, our Prez was mugged, not once but twice, he decided that he should stay in the safety of the of the Alaska in the Roundhouse.  The next morning the Prez reported this incident to Ted.  Ted being a great host immediately had the Alaska spotted over to the San Bernardino Depot on the Business Car track.
The Prez really enjoyed having the Alaska parked by the Depot as he could watch all the travelers boarding and arriving on the trains.
Later that afternoon, the Alaska was coupled to the rear of the Grand Canyon and given a tour of Ted’s Cajon Pass.
What a view the Prez had of Ted’s Railroad.
Then over the Memorial weekend, the Prez as a guest of Ted York was given a tour of the Utah Freemo Modular Group’s railroad which was set-up at Camp Williams.  But unfortunately all adventures must come to an end and the following day the Alaska was coupled to the rear of a UP City Streamliner for Ogden and on to Seattle.

The Prez will prove to be a pure nightmare for any railroad that honors railroad courtesies and accepts responsibility to move him across its rails!  Take it from us!

The dumb Prez (of a railroad no less) entered “Federal Express” on the waybill and manifest instead of Railway Express.  How dumb can a railroad executive be anyway?  Must be artic brain seizure!  No wonder we had to add an extra baggage car for alcohol anti-freeze (this will be billed as freight to you since it was unrelated to transporting the car Alaska even though its contents ended up and through the Guest Executive car).  A lot of it was lost over the observation railing in a manner that I shall not describe here.  Our veteran conductor, Bobj Berger, had presence of mind to fasten a safety harness around the Prez’s waist whilst he rode the platform after “thawing out”.  Only twice did we have to haul him back on board with it.  In the morning he swore we stopped at Wild Waves Theme Park in Federal Way, WA and tied him to the roller coaster for repeated rides.

We finally arrived in Shoreline, WA on June 4, 2007 and attempted interchange with several railroads since we were on the west coast now and had ready access to the Alaska State Ferry departing for Anchorage from Bellingham, WA near the Canadian Boarder.  As anyone who has tried to use the Alaska State Ferry already should know, all reservations are accepted if filed Jan 1 of the current year for berths and the next day for cars (the Prez did not know that they were the other kind of cars).

Since the five local railroads wanted to show respect (for their own safety and reputations) to the guest Executive Car (not the Prez of course), they worked out a plan to pass the car and contents among themselves until Walt Huston showed up to claim the guest.  Boy, I hope he had a better time than the rest of us did in appearing friendly.

On June 7 we loaded the Prez and the Alaska on to a 1953 GMC Metro City bus (Shuttle Express refused to accept a railroad car with an inebriated passenger) and headed off to the Enumclaw, Tacoma and Anacortes Railroad where Ethan “Stu” Rogers is head of an N Scale layout.  Now Stu’s cat is very protective of the railroad and acts as the chief “Bull” when it comes to Hobos.  He misclassified the Alaska as a derelict Hobo attempt to get a free ride (pretty close, eh?).  Tour Photographer C. J. Riley negotiated a flat car arrangement for a brief journey.  It took some effort to load the Alaska.  Just as the riggers were about to give up, the Prez appeared on the rear deck and began to spout off a lot of hot air about incompetent section so and sos.  The exhalation of all that hot air levitated the Alaska just enough to slip the flatcar underneath.  After chains were applied, the train was off on its tour.  After the Prez passed in front of the ever protective cat, the cat began to smile and when last seen was tottering off to his litter box, slightly under the influence.
Back on the bus safely in CJ Riley’s pocket, things settled down for the brief transfer to Burr Stewart’s BN Railroad.  Transfer to rail was easy since, for once, the Alaska wheel gauge matched the BN.  Burr’s railroad was more than could be toured completely within the schedule but the Prez was pretty happy riding the platform as President Stewart described the main features and industries.  Why, he even thought the BN might be as big as the Alaska Railroad!  Or, at least, Alaska itself.
The next interchange saw something unusual happen.  The Alaska's gauge fit perfectly on Paul Scole’s Pelican Bay Railroad but the couplers were about a foot too high (or low depending if you were on Paul’s Business Car or the Alaska).  Paul’s railroad serves an area of backwoods logging and mining relatively untouched by modern society.  In fact, it was a time warp in which the Alaska (and the Prez) were the most modern things present with the modern 1/3 smaller than the Antiques!  I guess it is all a matter of perspective that did not matter much to the Prez whose perspective was already quite distorted.  He did enjoy slugging back a few at the saloon until he insulted a logger who slugged him so hard he flew out the saloon swingers and landed sitting balanced on the brass rail of the Alaska as the train pulled away to safety (for the Prez).
After the GMC Bus returned all to the starting depot, The Alaska was placed in the Chevrolet 1500 roundhouse for cleaning (and oh boy, it really needed a hosing out) and restocking.  The baggage car was cut out and all the empty boxes and bottles were trashed. Tomorrow they would be guests of the Swamp Creek & Western Railroad where Rule G was strictly enforced.

Promptly at 8:00 AM. just ahead of the arrival of #8 the Westbound Empire Builder on time today, Terminal Railroad #1 picked up several cousins of the Alaska, a four axle Pullman and a sister Observation and shuttled them into Port Columbia on the SC&W.  No sooner had the switch at MP 18.1 been lined for the main than the Builder slid to a stop, off loaded passengers and baggage and tooted off for an on-time arrival in Seattle at 9:15 AM.
Suddenly, there was a rumbling noise and the ground shook as plumes of steam and smoke shot into the sky.  “God help us!  God save us!  Mount McKinley has blown her top,” he shouted.  “Mount McKinley?” conductor Bobj Berger exclaimed!  “That was an aftershock of Mount St Helens in Western Washington.  Mc Kinley comes after the Alaska Express (or is it Railway or Federal Express) that lands us home in Palmer?”  Berger expressed in amazement that “after all these travels, the Prez knew so little about America!”

No one on this trip could wait for Walt Hanson to pick up the Alaska and its Prez at the next Board Meeting.  I can’t wait to see what his story of these weeks away reads like!

Reported by Roger H. Ferris, EdD. Teetotaling President of the Hannibal, Ontario & Western Railroad and only an observer of this fiasco.
The Prez arrived at the Aberdeen, Tacoma & Spanaway Forrest Railroad on June 30, 2007 at 1400.
The Alaska is being pulled by the Terminal Railways F45.333D
It was immediately recognized that The Prez's wheels were broad gauge and that for him to tour the railroad he would have to be set upon a depressed center flat car.  The Prez being The Prez insisted on having a "Big Hook" in the consist so that he and his car could be lifted from the depressed center flat and set upon the tie ends at each location where his photograph would be taken.  Seems The Prez didn't want it to look like he was too dependent on others for transportation.  Following his tour of the AT&SF, the Prez took the oppertunity to do some vacationing alongside Spanaway Lake.  Except for his quirks, it has been a pleasure to have The Prez visit our Normal gauge railroad.  Thank you for the opportunity.  Walt Huston, President, Aberdeen, Tacoma & Spanaway Forrest Railroad
The Prez onboard the Alaska is arriving in Thomasville, Colorado, a charming town of churches, schools and pleasant family dwellings.
After the rest of the town had fallen into a drunken stupor, the Prez discovered the Colorado Midland Turntable, located just down from the saloon.  He talked the CM engineer into backing the Alaska, onto the turntable, where he then preceded to see how fast and how many times he could spin around, without the Alaska being thrown off the Turntable
All good things must come to an end, and it’s about time this one does.  The Prez had given the train crew so much trouble on the trip in, they rearranged the cars, so as to put the Prez right where he could do them the least amount of harm.  And now, as the sun slowly sinks in the west, we must bid farewell to the quaint village of Thomasville, but the good folks of Thomasville will not soon forget the visit from the infamous “Prez”
Lastly, CJ unpacked the Alaska with the Prez now sleeping it off with an ice pack on his jaw at Richard and Doris Garberson’s O Scale Railroad.  Now the Prez had bragged about all the big bridges on the Anchorage / Fairbanks route through Denali Park.  His host car attendant wakened him as their train passed over the reception foyer valley.  Although protected by the extra wide ) flatcar floor, the Prez could not even see the floor of the valley.  He was so shaken that he grabbed the bottle (the last one in stock) and went back to sleep thinking it was just a dream!
A brief tour took the Alaska and the Prez (fortunately still sleeping) through Mt Brynion, Coldwater, Gilman, Rimrock and descended  into Orchards on the East side of the Cascade Mountains.  Prez was awake and even a bit sober as he observed vast fruit orchards and farms as the mountains opened up into irrigated farm land and desert. “Ah,” he proclaimed, “If only all those lower 48 people could see the beauty and prosperity of the Matnuska Valley they would flock here and become wealthy like all of us who live here have become.”