Alaska Railroad builds distinctive ‘connaboose’ for gravel trains

Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
Connaboose_1
This exterior shot shows the container and flatcar mated to become the "connaboose."
Alaska Railroad
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Railroad has constructed what it calls a “connaboose” for use on gravel trains between Anchorage and Palmer this spring and summer. The term comes from the car’s construction using an intermodal container and in part from its function as a caboose.

The railroad built the car after a loop track was taken out of service. About a year ago, the railroad had to remove the Palmer loop track from service because it was no longer being used or maintained by the two companies that had jointly built it for looping and loading their aggregate trains. The railroad had also used it to loop Anchorage Sand & Gravel 86-car gravel trains that load at that company's facility along the Palmer Branch.

Without the loop track gravel trains had to back up along the branch with a trainman hanging from the side of a hopper car at the rear of the train and communicating with the locomotives on a portable radio.
Connaboose_2
An interior view.
Alaska Railroad
To address safety concerns, the railroad considered several options, including purchasing a caboose. Instead, a more cost-effective solution was the in-house design of a flatcar equipped with a shelter made from an intermodal container.

Railroad mechanics outfitted the car with LED solar-powered back up lights, seats, hand holds, emergency air valves on each end, and hand holds and sill steps.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

  • Previous Day
  • June 02, 2015
  • Next Day
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of TrainsMag.com are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.
0 COMMENTS
Winter on the Rails

Winter on the Rails

Railroading to the arctic.

SEE INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Learn more about the stories and photos in this months issue

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 54% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today
+