What do the whistles mean?

Why Narrow Gauge?

What's up with those hats?




The Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad Association care for the oldest
surviving Gold Rush era relic still in operation in the Alaska/Yukon region - Engine #1.

Engine #1 was built in March 1899 by the H. K. Porter Company in Pittsburgh.
She (engines are "female"- Sorry Thomas) is a coal fired 0-4-0 Narrow Gauge steam engine.

The "nomenclature" 0-4-0 means that there are no wheels in front of her driving wheels,
there are 4 (connected) driving wheels and no wheels behind the driving wheels.
For us Narrow Gauge means that 3 feet (914.4 mm) separates our rails.
On standard gauge the distance between rails is 4 feet, 8.5 inches (1435mm)

Engine #1 is a small engine but she can still haul 50 tons up a 2% grade.
That is rather like riding your bike while carrying 10 grown-up elephants.


In a Railroad everyone plays a vital role

From the conductor and brakeman in the passenger cars, the cab crew on the engine,
the fire guards near the tracks, the ground crew stringing water hoses and collecting
dumped ash, right along to the station crew you meet when you first enter the depot
-- every single railway worker has an important job. Their first job is to be safe.
No one person can work alone on a railroad.
All have to work together and be able to depend on each other or a train cannot operate.

The Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad are all volunteers.
We take turns learning how to do the many jobs that are needed.
It is hard work, and most of us get amazingly dirty on "run days". But we love our train.


Trainee engineer Chérie takes the throttle - Engineer Bill stands by.
For this run, Blair was the fireman.


Engineer Ken begins to drop the fire.

Fireman Chérie adds water to Engine #1's saddle tanks.
Engineer Blair watches the pressure gauges inside the cab.

Building the fire in the morning requires a bit of wait time.

Conductor Bill stops and shares a hug with his wife - station mistress Patti.


Engineer Al works on a valve. He also monitors the water chemistry in the boiler.


The Tanana Valley Railroad Museum - Our railyard home.

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