Tuesday, 24 April 2012

From Anchorage to Fairbanks

 and capWe left Anchorage at 8.30am with the eight staff members of 'the depot' standing in a straight line outside the station house, waving goodbye to us in true American fashion! There was only one passenger car, with about 20 passengers, a baggage car, and a dining car, plus the diesel engine.  The staff were very friendly except for the conductor in his uniform and cap.

The train was very comfortable with a lovely dining car.

The meals were very nice.  The chef didn't have a great deal to do so spent a lot of time wandeing up and down the carriage chatting to the passengers.

We picked this girl and dog up when she literally flagged the train down, by placing a brightly coloured flag on a long pole.  There are no stations along the way. People get off the train wherever they need to and head off into the bush trudging through the snow.  one man had a snow machine and sled awaiting him and got off with about a months worth of supplies.  The track was a bit wet between the train tracks and his snow machine, so the train offloaded two wooden pallets for him to make a bridge across the little creek to get to his machine.

The train stopped on a trestle bridge at Hurricane Gorge for us all to take photos of this spectacularly deep gorge, so named for the hurricane that blows down the gorge.  The scenery was spectacular, and between the four of us we took about 900 photos.  We ended up with RSI!

The Nenana River which runs through Denali National Park was still mostly frozen and the frozen waterfalls were just incredible. We saw Dall sheep perched precariously above the river on very steep cliffs.  We saw a moose and her young, caribou, eagles and swans. About 8 young people got off at Denali and were met by the ranger.  They were going to be park guides for the summer holidays. 

We stood a lot of the trip to have a panoramic view, we also lounge in the lounge, and visited the dining car about 4 times to fill in the 12 hour trip.  We LOVED our journey.  It was the best way to observe the spectacular scenery in a relaxed way.  The train tavelled at a leisurely pace until we got to flatter country just outside Fairbanks.  At this time of year the sun doesn't set until 10pm so our entire journey was in the light.  We thoroughly recommend this fantastic train trip.
We past a few towns along the way.  Some just a few building, others a little town of shops and services.  Very isolated and rustic.  Everything is quite messy now that the snow is thawing.  Things that were covered by snow and either lost or forgotten are now being exposed.  Some things  collapse under the weight of the snow.  Alaska still is the last fronteir especially up here in the Interior.


  1. What a fantastic trip!! I thought the train would be bigger than one passenger car. So it's not overly touristy then?! It was like your own private rail journey!
    The pics are beautiful. Will it be much colder in Fairbanks compared to Anchorage? Still lots of snow?
    How cool about the summer park guides! Imagine getting off in the middle of no where. I can't believe it still feels like so much of the last frontier! That's awesome :)

  2. I'm so glad the train trip was everything you hoped for and more! How amazing does it look! I cant imagine getting off in the middle of nowhere and just trudging through snow!! What an experience! You all look like you're having such a great time :-) xoxo

  3. Ah ha, Jeff! Is that your new camera I see hanging around your neck! So, what do you think of it so far? Happy with it?

  4. Oh WOW, what a FANTASTIC trip! I'm so glad you made it! What an excellent way to see the last frontier. I'm so excited for you!!!