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Nome, Alaska: The Last Train to Nowhere

As the result of a lengthy and somewhat improbable series of events, I'm in Nome, Alaska with my sweetie Eve, working on another book.

A few days back, we took a drive on the one road that goes through Nome. Nome is inaccessible by car; the only road links it to the nearby towns of Council and Teller.

If you drive out toward Council, a trip I recommend only during the summer and then only in a large 4WD vehicle, about twenty miles from Nome you'll come across the long-deserted ghost town of Solomon, a leftover from the gold rush in the early 1900s. Near Solomon, you'll find what's left of a failed attempt to bring rail service to Nome.

In 1903, an enterprising group of people formed a company to build a railroad to serve the gold mines near Solomon. They bought a bunch of secondhand elevated railway engines from New York City and hauled them up to Nome by barge.

In 1907, a storm washed out the one rail bridge between Solomon and Nome, leaving the trains stranded on the edge of the water. The company folded and simply walked away, leaving the trains where they were, to quietly rust away into the tundra.

That seems to be a common theme in Alaska. The landscape is dotted with abandoned mining equipment, wrecked construction vehicles, and huge pieces of machinery simply left where they were when they became inoperable.

The locals call this steam engine graveyard "The Last Train to Nowhere."

Even during the summer, it's cold and windy here. The train never was reliable under the best of circumstances, so it's no surprise there was no effort to replace it.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2014 09:48 pm (UTC)
Now *that* is an interesting post with a little bit of history! I will have to look into this further for the next time we're up that way. Thanks! I think you're tag "too cool for words" says it all.
Jul. 4th, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC)
Hey! Long time lurker here!

If you loved Nome, try going to Palmer, Alaska, and driving up the old mines in Hatchers Pass. You'll love it. And if you've got time, Talkeetna has some amazing places to check out.

:) Glad to hear you liked Nome. I'm always thrilled when people love my home!
Jul. 5th, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
Amazing photos! Hope your book is going great! :)
Jul. 5th, 2014 02:32 am (UTC)
So old timey looking!

Those wheels look like dumbells.
Jul. 5th, 2014 03:14 am (UTC)
It's weird to see that. Around here all the meth heads would have carted it away from sale to a scrap metal dealer.:P

Jul. 5th, 2014 02:24 pm (UTC)
Great pics; simultaneously creepy and fascinating.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )