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 Post subject: National Domain and National Element update
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:17 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:45 pm
Posts: 71
Location: Utah
I received an email recently advising me that my disposition of two Union Pacific lightweight sleeper cars was in error, and that the cars went to Alaska, not to Arkansas. The error was a simple typo on my part, but I decided to spend a couple hours searching the internet, and uncovered an interesting story of the two cars' actual disposition. ... nal-border

National Domain (UP 1204) and National Emblem (UP 1206) were sold to Rail Tours International (Jack Spence) in January 1972; sold to Outdoor World Ltd. in late 1972, moved to McKinley Park Station, Alaska, 230 miles north of Anchorage on the Alaska Railroad, for use as temporary accommodations to replace for the McKinley Park Hotel (also at McKinley Park Station), destroyed by fire in September 1972. Outdoor World Ltd. was the new concession operator for the hotel, which was owned by the National Park Service. The hotel was not rebuilt, but Outdoor World and the National Park Service created a replacement facility made up of eleven railroad cars and new modular units, with the new name, McKinley Park Station Hotel, reflecting the railroad theme of the new facility. The cars (and "temporary" hotel) remained in place adjacent to Alaska Railroad's McKinley Park Station siding until 1993; sold to Mike and Susan Wilson, and moved to their property near Fairbanks, then renovated as the Aurora Express Bed and Breakfast; still there as of late 2020.

(Read more about the Aurora Express Bed & Breakfast) ... ni/ae.html

(Visit the Aurora Express B&B web site)

The following comes from National Park Service's history of the McKinley Park:

"Crown Jewel of the North: An Administrative History of Denali National Park and Preserve," Volume 1, Chapter 8:

( ... er%208.pdf)

As part of the agreement between the NPS, the Alaska Railroad, and the Outdoor World, Ltd., the new hotel would be composed primarily of railroad cars, in a style consistent with the then-popular Victoria Station restaurant chain. Rooms at the new hotel would consist of "five Pullman compartmented sleepers" and new modular units in addition to the 50-room west wing which survived the fire. Ten additional rail cars would be used for dining space, a coffee shop, a two-car bar, and other facilities.

The NPS also planned to build new dining facilities (away from the cars) and enclosed walkways that would link up the various rail cars with other parts of the hotel. Construction costs, not coincidentally, neatly matched the $650,000 for which Outdoor World had insured the hotel property.

NPS officials were pleased that the agreement allowed the park to meet its 1973 tourist commitments "without locking ourselves into something we’ll have to live with forever." To guide future development, Senator Stevens was able to secure an additional $100,000 appropriation for long-range planning for a permanent facility at the park entrance.

Footnote 46: "Press reports differed on the number of railroad cars needed. The December 15, 1972 Times article (p. 3) stated that the concessioner would "buy or lease at least four railroad compartment sleeper cars and 40 to 45 other railroad cars to provide additional space for dining and bar facilities," while the January 2, 1973 Times article (p. 16) stated that "12 rail cars [would] be used for sleeping quarters, storage and office space, a bar, gift shop and coffee shop." Drawings released in February 1973 (NPS, Drawings MOMC 41009 and 41009A, NPS Aperture Card Collection) showed that 13 railroad cars would be employed in the new design, but only 11 cars (7 purchased and 4 leased) were included in the hotel as actually constructed (Stroud, History of the Concession, 31). Two railroad cars came from the Union Pacific in Seattle, while the rest were "Alaska Railroad cars that had been sitting out at Elmendorf Air Force Base." Anchorage Daily News, June 17, 1973,

 Post subject: Re: National Domain and National Element update
PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:52 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:20 pm
Posts: 50
Location: Denver, CO
For those interested, here's a photo of either National Emblem or National Domain at the Mt. McKinley operation.

46973882745_1688a16e75_c.jpg [ 120 KiB | Viewed 527 times ]

Wil Hata

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