February 3, 2013

The Last Train to Nowhere in Pictures

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

The Last Train to Nowhere #1.

I thought I would continue with a few more posts from Alaska.

My husband and I were in Nome, Alaska during July – September 2012. On sunny (and some stormy) days we were generally working. However, on days with poor weather and high seas or winds, we often had some time to explore Nome and the surrounds. One day, we drove up the road to visit The Last Train to Nowhere, a set of three 1880s era steam locomotives that were brought to the Solomon River area outside of Nome in the early 1900s. These locomotives and a few other scattered pieces of metal are all that remains of a failed attempt to build a railway along the Solomon River to a place called Council City, where gold had been discovered. The railway ran for two summers under terrible conditions “unfit for either man or beast” (according to a sign near the trains) and then filed for bankruptcy in 1907. In 1913 a large storm destroyed a railway bridge and washed away most of the tracks, stranding the locomotives where they sit today. Since the train doesn’t go anywhere today, locals have dubbed the stranded locomotives, “The Last Train to Nowhere.”

To reach the train, we drove along a dirt road in a beat-up pick-up truck on a cold and windy August day. Along the way, we also visited a place called “The Safety Roadhouse”, which serves as the last checkpoint of the Iditarod sled dog race, and we explored some old gold dredges.

The Last Train to Nowhere #2.

The Last Train to Nowhere #3.

An informational sign about the train.

Another informational sign about the train.

Posing with the train. Yes, I am wearing two jackets and a hat in August!

Last Train to Nowhere #4.

Last Train to Nowhere #5.

Last Train to Nowhere #6, with husband for scale.

Another abandoned item near the train. This looks like a ship's hull, but we think it used to be part of a water tower.

Waving through a window.

Continuing up the road past the train, we found some weathered, old buildings.

An abandoned gold dredge.

A closer view of the dredge.

Waterlogged dredge buckets.

Another view of the dredge buckets.

Remnants of winter snow along the road.

An Alaskan flag, flapping in the wind.

The Safety Roadhouse, located on Safety Sound.

The walls inside the roadhouse are covered in dollars and other bills.

The ceiling is covered, too...

We added a South Africa R10 note... next to one left previously by some colleagues of ours.

I still have a few more posts about Alaska coming in the future… hope you’re enjoying these!