Alaska Railroad's Full Summer Schedule Is Back After Years of Reduced Service

Just in time for its centennial anniversary in 2023

Courtesy of Alaska Railroad / Michael W Sullivan

Although the rise in gas prices might have you second-guessing your summer plans, Alaska Railroad has given us a compelling reason to book a trip to the 49th state this year: After operating on a reduced schedule over the last two years, the Anchorage-based rail company has fully resumed its pre-pandemic summer service, just in time for its centennial anniversary in 2023.

Operating four routes a day in addition to flag-stop service and chartered cruise trains, Alaska Railroad invites travelers to explore roughly 470 miles of Alaska, from the port city of Seward to the capital of Anchorage.

"We're excited to return to a full season of daily summer trains to give our guests more opportunities and flexibility to get out and travel Alaska," said Meghan Clemens, Alaska Railroad marketing communications manager. "Our train routes are the ideal way for passengers to visit the best of Alaska and to do so while making their travel a highlight of their time in the state."

Denali Star Train

Courtesy of Alaska Railroad / Steward L Sterling

On the daily, round-trip Coastal Classic Train, passengers will jet between Anchorage and Seward, trailing along the Turnagain Arm and Chugach Mountain Range before passing through the Chugach National Forest. Glaciers and lakes are front and center along the way, while bears, moose, beluga whales, and other wildlife will make occasional appearances. Those aboard the Glacier Discovery Train will travel a similar route but with an added detour to Whittier and Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, a section in Chugach National Forest that can only be reached by rail.

For those interested in exploring Denali, the Denali Star Train runs between Anchorage and Fairbanks, offering stunning views of the tallest peak in North America throughout the journey. With the train making stops in Wasilla, Talkeetna, and "the gates of Denali National Park & Preserve," passengers will also have the opportunity to book an add-on day trip or excursion to see more of the region, whether they want to hop on a narrated bus tour of the national park or go river rafting on Nenana River.

Meanwhile, the six-hour, out-and-back Hurricane Turn Train takes travelers from Talkeetna to Hurricane Gulch, pausing on the Hurricane Gulch Bridge for unparalleled photo ops of the railroad company's longest and tallest bridge. Unlike the other routes, Hurricane Turn Train's flag-stop service allows passengers to "flag down the conductor to embark or disembark at any time," making off-the-grid exploration more accessible to adventure seekers.

Coastal Classic Train - GoldStar Service

Courtesy of Alaska Railroad / Glenn Aronwits

While Alaska Railroad offers Adventure Class seating on all its routes, travelers wanting to amp up their experience can opt for GoldStar Service on either the Denali Star or Coastal Classic routes. With GoldStar tickets, passengers will enjoy inclusive dining, picturesque views of the passing landscape from glass-domed railcars, an exclusive outdoor viewing platform on the upper level, and two complimentary adult beverages.

And for those traveling with kids, Alaska Railroad is making the full return to travel even sweeter by bringing back its Kids Ride Free deal this summer. Available on select routes through Sept. 18, 2022, this promotion allows one child 12 and under to travel free by purchasing an Adult Adventure Class fare. For more information, head to Alaska Railroad's website.

Article Sources
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  1. Alaska Railroad. "Route Map." Accessed June 6, 2022.

  2. National Geographic. "Denali." Accessed June 6, 2022.

  3. Alaska Railroad. "Summer 2022." Accessed June 6, 2022.

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