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Roadtrippin’: All aboard the train car cabin that’s oddly perfect for your stay in Homer

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 4:44 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - People are often drawn to Alaska in search of something different, and in Homer there seems to be “different” around every corner, down every staircase, and in some cases off the rails and on the hillside.

That’s where you’ll find a train car that has no recognizable reason for residing where it does, but if you look closer you’ll see the truth of this quirky caboose. The renovated train car with immaculate views and an apartment style interior is one of the rental properties you can stay in through Alaska Adventure Cabins.

Owned by Evelyn Harden, this one-of-a-kind train car cabin is a draw for those who want to forgo the traditional hotel experience but would still like something a bit more sturdy than a tent on the beach.

“They’re just kind of unique places that people really like,” Harden said. “They like the pictures, they like the ambiance, and being in something strange like this I guess.”

The single bedroom in the upper portion of the train car comes fully stocked with a million dollar view of the mountains that you can take in from the comfort of the bed but if that’s not enough space for your whole party there is also a second apartment space down below.

Aside from all the train-related pictures, and a mounted deer head in the living space, the interior of this sleeper car is surprisingly modern. You’ll find all the amenities you might expect in your average rental space, kitchen, tv, couches, internet, but that’s a far cry from what it looked like when the original owner and former Homer Mayor Bryan Zak first bought the train car years ago.

“I was looking for metal you know, so it’s metal, but particularly that day it wasn’t the specific thing I was looking for but it was a great integration for that particular day because the price was right,” he said.

While a prudent purchase in Zak’s eye’s, it’s one that perhaps should have been run by his wife, Karen, first.

“It was a surprise and I was like, what are you going to do with those? And he said, ‘I think we’ll make them a cabin and put them on the property,’” Karen Zak said, smiling.

Through countless man hours and some decorative touches from Karen Zak, the hunk of metal that was once a rough looking former train car was transformed into something unique: a warm and inviting curiosity almost too good to pass up.

That curiosity has maintained its usefulness long past the original expiration date of an old cast off car that was used for running shipments on rail. It’s made it to now a second owner, it’s made it through countless adventure seekers staying within its walls, and after all this time the train cabin just keeps on chugging.

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