An Alaska Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Alaska Railroad


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P&WVlogo The Alaska Railroad (ARR) is a Class II railroad which extends from Seward and Whittier, in the south of the state of Alaska to Fairbanks, and beyond to Eielson Air Force Base and Fort Wainwright in the interior of that state. It carries both freight and passengers between those two cities and to many destinations between them, including Anchorage and Denali National Park. The railroad has a mainline Alaska1986
Alaska - 1986

Alaska1986
Alaska - September 2. 1931

P&WVmap
Alasja - 1986
over 470 miles long and is well over 500 miles including branch lines and sidings.
The ARR has provided limited seasonal passenger services from it's beginning until the present day, one of the very few railroads that can make that claim. Service is needed because of the remote areas it serves but is limited by the small population. Now, as roads improve, the increasing tourist flow continues it's passenger business. The Alaska Railroad was purchased from the US government in 1985. After it's acquisition the state invested heavily in upgrading the line and attracting customers. An example is shown by the brochure and timetable cover, from 1986, (upper right), in gold leaf, which contained many beautiful features of Alaska plus a schedule of seasonal trains. , The railroad is connected to the lower 48 via three rail barges that sail between the Port of Whittier and Harbor Island in Seattle but does not currently have a fixed land connection with any other railroad lines on the North American network. In 2007, the company was a very profitable operation.
History of the Alaska Railroad
1903 - A company called the Alaska Central Railroad (ACR) began to build a rail line beginning at Seward, near the southern tip of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, northward.
1908 - ACR had built 51 miles of track and went into receivership.
c 1908 - ACR carried passengers, freight and mail to the upper Turnagain Arm. From there, goods were taken by boat at high tide, and by dog team or pack train to Eklutna and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
1909,- The Alaska Northern Railroad Company, (ANR) bought the ACR line and extended it another 21 miles northward. From the new end, goods were floated down the Turnagain Arm in small boats.
1914 - The ANR went into receivership.
1914 - U.S.Government bought the Alaska Northern Railroad and moved its headquarters to "Ship Creek," later called Anchorage.
c 1914 - The government began to extend the rail line northward.
c 1914 - Name changed to Alaska Railroad (ARR).
1917 -The Tanana Valley Railroad (TVR) in Fairbanks was heading into bankruptcy. It owned a small 45-mile narrow-gauge line that serviced the towns of Fairbanks and the mining communities in the area as well as the boat docks on the Tanana River near Fairbanks.
c 1917 - The government bought the TVR, principally for its terminal facilities. The government extended the south portion of the track to Nenana and later converted the extension to standard gauge.
1923 - The government built the 700-foot Mears Memorial Bridge across the Tanana River at Nenana. This was the final link in the Alaska Railroad and at the time, was the second longest single-span steel railroad bridge in the country.
1923 - U. S. President Warren G. Harding drove the golden spike that completed the railroad on July 15, on the north side of the bridge.
1931 - ARR running seasonal passenger trains two times a week between Seward and Anchorage, 114 miles ,and between Anchorage and Fairbanks, 356 miles. The Anchorage-Fairbanks trains provided for a stop-over night ar Curry. 140 miles north of Anchorage. Observation cars were on some trains
1955 - Seward to Anchorage service is now a once per week mixed traon. Anchorage- Fairbanks traains are three times a week.
1964 -The railroad was greatly impacted by the Good Friday Earthquake which struck southern Alaska in 1964. The yard and trackage around Seward buckled and the trackage along Turnagain Arm was damaged by floodwaters and landslides. It took several months to restore full service along the line.
1985 - The State of Alaska bought the railroad from the US government.
c1985 - Alaska immediately invested over $70 million on improvements and repairs that made up for years of deferred maintenance.
1986 - ARR running seasonal passenger trains two times a week between Seward and Anchorage, 114 miles ,and between Anchorage and Fairbanks, 356 miles. The Anchorage-Fairbanks trains provided for a stop-over night ar Curry. 140 miles north of Anchorage.
Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- Various editions
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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 21, 2009, revised April 14, 2011