Locomotive 556, Anchorage’s Gypsy Rose

No. 556

How many Anchorage residents have memories of Locomotive 556?

The steam engine, one of twelve “Gypsy Rose” locomotives (named after a famous burlesque dancer) sent to Alaska in 1943, has been a fixture on the Anchorage Park Strip since 1959 after retiring from  hauling passengers and freight along the Seward-Anchorage-Fairbanks route.

I remember playing on No. 556 when I was little; it seemed like a ready-made fort ripe for hours of fun. Years later, I read the results of a survey identifying it as the “Best place in Anchorage to have sex outside.” Here’s hoping its popularity as a hookup site happened after my early adventures.

Most recently, Locomotive 556 underwent asbestos abatement, but was only refurbished as a stand alone display complete with a fence surround – generations of children and sexual exhibitionists will miss out on exploring the engine! Regardless, it’s good to see the old lady looking shiny and proud, restored to her former glory.

You can learn about the Delaney Park Locomotive 556 Improvement Project (and more history) here, or read the story of Engine 556’s sister, Engine 557, here.

Do you have any stories of Anchorage’s Gypsy Rose?

Author: Gretchen Fauske

I love Anchorage. I love what it is, what it's been, and what I dream it will be. I share my adventures with DJ (my husband), my fabulous family and friends, two frenchies named Grover and Teddy, and now, all of you. If you love Anchorage too, get in touch - guest posts are welcome!

3 thoughts on “Locomotive 556, Anchorage’s Gypsy Rose”

  1. Putting up a fence to keep kids from playing on the train is retarded. Literally. Generations of people played on it and we do not need to be protected, thank you very much.

    More nanny-state in action.

  2. I was googling about the train and came upon your article Gretchen. I love that train. I have so many fond memories about that archaic piece of twisted metal. I remember crawling and climbing over ever inch. I remember jumping off the roof onto the back of the landing area, which to me felt like 10 feet or more (in reality it’s probably a lot less, funny how things you remember from childhood are actually much smaller than you remember). I might have been a bit of a daredevil, but putting up a fence wouldn’t have kept me out of most of the rough and tumble things I did as a kid. I hope they bring this piece of history back…soon!

    1. It’s back! In a different locations with some cool new art. You should definitely go check it out. Such a great piece of history for Anchorage, and everyone who played on it growing up!

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