Alaska Railroad Begins Centennial Celebration

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
Photo Courtesy of Alaska Railroad

Photo Courtesy of Alaska Railroad

The Alaska Railroad is getting ready to mark 100 years since the completion of its 470-mile mainline with winter service and a new travel package.

On July 15, 1923, President Warren G. Harding drove in the “golden spike” signaling the completion of the railroad in Nenana, Alaska. That moment, the railroad says, will be recognized and celebrated all throughout 2023 by the Alaska Railroad and its partners. With multiple routes and year-round service, that means plenty of opportunities for visitors to experience the 49th state just as travelers did 100 years ago—onboard the Alaska Railroad.

According to the railroad, much of the development of Alaska since then can be attributed to the Alaska Railroad as communities and towns were connected via the rails allowing goods and passengers to travel between the state’s two largest cities.

“Many things have changed in the past 100 years,” said Alaska Railroad Vice President of Marketing and Customer Service Dale Wade. “We’ve updated our equipment, the destinations have grown, and the onboard experience turns many passengers’ in-state travel into a trip highlight. Technology has also made a more sustainable travel experience possible. But over the past century one thing has remained constant: our unwavering dedication to our passengers and to Alaska.”

Running now through mid-May, the Aurora Winter Train connects passengers to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Fairbanks, and more destinations known for activities like aurora hunting, dog mushing and flight-seeing. Onboard, guests enjoy large picture windows for viewing the scenery, onboard dining, and expert narration from staff sharing the stories behind the sights. The Aurora Winter Train operates on weekends with additional midweek departures starting in February.

According to Alaska Railroad, guests also have a chance to extend their time in the 49th state by packaging rail travel with accommodations and activities booked through the Alaska Railroad. The packages range from quick weekend getaways to multi-day trips. The Alaska Railroad’s winter packages are: Winter Escape, Talkeetna Getaway, Denali in a Day, Arctic Circle Adventure, The Aurora, and The Borealis.

To commemorate the centennial in 2023, and give guests “an all-encompassing travel experience,” the Alaska Railroad is debuting a new limited edition Centennial Special travel package. This itinerary is available for booking and includes destinations all along the historic mainline, including time in Seward, Anchorage, the remote Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, Denali National Park and Preserve, and Fairbanks. The 12-day package is available starting at $5,009 per person.

Additional winter or summer add-ons like museum tours, glacier tours, flight-seeing and more can be paired with any Alaska Railroad trip or package to create a custom travel itinerary. Travelers can contact the Railroad’s reservations team at [email protected] create a fully customized experience.


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