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Audio Project: Alaska Railroad Construction

April 14, 2005

Arctic Echoes is researching the construction of the Alaska Railroad for an audio project that will involve Sourdough Pete as the narrator. This project will encompass information dealing with the need, the planning, and the construction, and the use of the Railroad as it was in the earlier days of Alaska .

The audio story will begin in 1903 in Seward, and the first decision to lay track, and the progress of the first 50 miles of track. A light touch on the near demise of the Railroad in 1907, when the Alaska Central Railway went bankrupt. The story will pick up again at the formation of the Alaska Northern Railway Co and the additional 21 miles built then reaching to Kern Creek. Then a flash to Congress March 12, 1914 when it was decided that a Railway will be built from Seward to Fairbanks .

We will also involve the creation of the City of Anchorage as the headquarters of the Railroad. Here we will also talk about some of the 4500 workers that made the track a reality. If there are any detailed stories of one or more individuals we would love to receive them and include them in this story..

It is this next section that I want to focus on. This is the section that can make the connection with the listener. Draw the listener into the story and have them live it with Sourdough Pete, as the imagination paints a clear picture of what life was like building this 470.3 mile lifeline from Seward to Fairbanks .

We want to focus on some of the trials that were faced, by the workers, the equipment, and the accomplishments that were achieved to overcome the trials caused by, weather, location, environment, illness, accidents etc, etc.

We want to hit a pre-finale at July 15, 1923 , as we recount the driving of the golden spike by then President Warren G. Harding marking the completion of the Railway at Nenana.

We will wind down things with a discussion of the Railway and its uses. The vitality of being able to transport military and personal items during World War II, and touching on the construction of the Whittier Tunnels (details are in the planning for a detailed disk on this event in and of itself). The damage caused by the earthquake of 1964 and the repairs that went under way after the earthquake. Wrap things up with the use and vitality of the Railroad around today’s time.

 To share Information that you may have or be privy to, we ask that you contact Pete Summers at Arctic Echoes 907-278-2488. Thank you.


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