Anchorage's Mini Railroad

by Mike

Mini Alaska Railroad Train at Kiddy Land (courtesy of Karla Fetrow)

Mini Alaska Railroad Train at Kiddy Land (courtesy of Karla Fetrow)

While I don't know for certain, I suspect that the "mini Alaska Railroad Train" that ran the tracks of Kiddy Land, an amusement park filled with carnival rides, located just outside of Anchorage, Alaska, was the first in Alaska railroad history.

Back in the 1950s and much to the delight of Anchorage kids, and parents too, a live children's TV show titled "Koko's Kartoon Karnival" began it's run on Anchorage television.

Not long after, the hosts of the show, Dick Rand as Koko the KENI Klown and Les Fetrow as CHU CHU the clown, built an amusement park next to the Seward Highway.

Kiddy Land was a happy place filled with fun rides for kids, but for pure family fun, the Kiddy Land mini Alaska Railroad was the best.

As a young boy, our family would spend Sunday afternoon at the Anchorage Race track, then on our way back to town, we would drive by Kiddy Land. As we drove by, I remember looking out the car window and wishing we would pull into Kiddy Land so I could ride the mini Alaska Railroad Train - and of course the other rides too.

One afternoon, much to my surprise, as we were driving home from the race track, dad said "how would you like to go to Kiddy Land?" My sister Ann, brother Tom and I excitedly said a collective "yes".

As our car pulled into the Kiddy Land parking lot, we could hardly contain our excitement.

For me, the mini Alaska Railroad Train was the grand prize. There was just something about the way the train looked. It was a mini version of an Alaska Railroad train. And as it clickity clacked along on it's miniature tracks that wound around Kiddy Land, the faces of it's passengers were all smiles, young and old.

When it was our turn to ride, we proudly handed the "conductor" our train tickets before selecting our car for the long awaited ride.

Moments later, our mini Alaska Railroad train ride was making it's Kiddy Land run to the happy delight of it's passengers.

As you can tell, my ride on what I believe was Alaska's first mini railroad, made a life-long impression on me.

I don't know if any of those wonderful mini Alaska Railroad cars are still around today. Perhaps their stored away in a barn, or rusting away in some forgotten and overgrown yard. But there are lots of us who are all grown up now, but happily recall our ride on that wonderful little train that once proudly traveled the rails in a special place called Kiddy Land in Anchorage, Alaska.


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Kiddie Land
by: Joel Wieman

As I recall Kiddie Land also had the small roller coaster that you still see around as well some bumper cars.

It was quite a place and all the kids in Anchorage longed to go.

I think I must have gotten to go two or three times. The last time I saw the miniature train it was at the Transportation Museum in Palmer.

Airing out History
by: Karla

It's very difficult for the children of the pioneers to remember dates or locations.

I don't think it ever occurred to them that one day all that would be known about the pioneers, other than their deeds, would be what their children contributed.

I often wonder about what happened to that mini-train, and even its origins.

I know that Dick Rand obtained his initial rides from a traveling circus that went broke in Alaska. This wasn't anything unusual. In the early days, traveling circuses often went bankrupt by the time they hit Alaska.

They often left things behind, sometimes circus animals, such as the lion that ended up in a cage at the A&W for I don't know how many years.

Kiddy land in the 50s
by: Anonymous

It was never on Northern Lights Blvd.
first was on Seward highway, west side just past 68th. Then in the 60s Fireweed lane & C st.

A Note from Anchorage Memories - We agree, Kiddy Land was just off the Seward Highway - and we have corrected the story. Memories tend to fade with each passing year and thanks to your comment our memories are a little less faded and fuzzy.

Thank you

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