Alaska Railroad returns to full summer schedule

May 22, 2022

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After a couple of summers with a reduced schedule because of the pandemic, Alaska Railroad is offering a full schedule of train routes this year, which means there will be more opportunities for travelers to experience the beauty of Alaska in a truly unique way.

Alaska Railroad engine in Anchorage, Alaska 2021. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Earlier this month, Alaska Railroad began daily trips on a couple of its popular Coastal Classic route with service between Anchorage and Seward, and on its flagship Denali Star Train, a 12-hour trip between Anchorage and Fairbanks.

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For TPG Managing Editor for News Clint Henderson, a trip on the Denali Star made for an epic father-son excursion.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Around for the better part of the century, Alaska Railroad gives travelers arriving by both plane and cruise ship a way to get from one part of the 49th state to another, but to also take in Alaska’s incredible sights along the way.

While the railroad continued to operate in 2020 and 2021, reduced ridership during the pandemic forced leadership to trim the schedule, cutting back routes to only certain days in some cases and shortening the summer season overall.

Related: 6 epic train trips to take this summer

Now with both air and cruise travel surging, it appears things are on track for a much busier summer 2022 schedule.

The view aboard the Denali Star Train during the summer of 2021. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

The Alaska Railroad began service on its Coastal Classic Train route on May 7. It travels along the Turnagain Arm, a spectacular stretch with views of the Chugach mountains.

Each day, the train departs Anchorage at 6:45 a.m., making a quick 8:00 a.m. stop in Girdwood. About three hours later, the train arrives in the Alaskan port city of Seward. The train returns to Anchorage via Girdwood each evening, departing Seward at 6:00 p.m.

The season runs until Sept. 18. For the majority of the summer, a round trip on the full Anchorage to Seward route starts at $232, but $462 will get you a ticket in the railroad’s Goldstar class, which gives you the best service on board and the best views of the Alaskan landscape, including open-air viewing platform access.

Meanwhile, the iconic Denali Star Train, which brings travelers past Denali National Park en route to Fairbanks is a 12-hour, 365-mile journey if you’re taking the train the whole way between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Brief stops along the way include Wasilla, Talkeetna and Denali.

There’s a northbound and southbound train each day, with departures in both directions at 8:20 a.m.  Service started May 11 and also runs until Sept. 18. A round trip ticket for on the full route this summer starts at $518, or it’s $946 for the Goldstar service.

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Related: 8 activities to try on your next trip to Alaska

Those are just a sample of two of the railroad’s most popular routes; it has others like its Glacier Discovery and Hurricane Turn Summer Trains. If you’re planning a trip to Alaska, this could be a fun and convenient way to discover the state’s beauty.

Featured photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.

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