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Thread: Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail

  1. #1

    Default Alaska Railroad Commuter Rail

    A question on another website prompted me to do some research on the Alaska Railroad commuter rail project. Here is some information in case those who were curious on it.

    (Most Recent) http://www.alaskajournal.com/stories...70204013.shtml

    The route will run from Wasilla to Girdwood if the documents are correct. 80 miles seems a bit much for a start system but I guess we'll have to wait and see when more information is available on ARR's website

    http://www.alaskarailroad.com/pdf/20...ealignment.pdf

    http://www.alaskarailroad.com/pdf/20...h%20Forest.pdf
    Brian Bundridge
    Puyallup, Washington
    Check out my photos on Smugmug!
    Want the latest news and information on Seattle Transit? Check out Seattle Transit Blog!
    Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Conductor/Student Engineer

  2. Default

    I've never heard commuter plans including Girdwood--nobody lives there! Well, not enough to support a commuter service anyway. However, as you may have seen in the news Sen. Ted Stevens has a house there so that may have some impact (what was the name of the airport? Ted Stevens International!).

    Wasilla is in the fastest growing area of the state so that is a natural for the service. The biggest problem is getting people from the train depot, at the north end of town, to places of business. The bus system in Anchorage leaves a lot to be desired. They'd need to have an entire set of busses just to serve the trains.

    I ain't holding my breath!
    Andy Tejral
    Montclair, NJ (land of no freight trains)

    I've got train videos: mostly on youtube and a few on vimeo

  3. #3

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    I haven't heard of any plans to include Girdwood, either. In fact, the last thing I heard from a semi-reputable source (it may have been the Anchorage Daily News or it may have been an Alaska Railroad employee) was that the railroad didn't want to get into commuter service because they didn't think it could be profitable but that they were willing to lease trackage rights to a to-be-formed transit agency.

    Then, about a year ago or so, the Daily News reported on the [now just recently launched] flag-stop service to Chugach National Forest and mentioned that the Alaska Railroad was considering testing the waters of commuter rail by building a station near the Dimond Center transit center and doing commuter service between there, downtown and the airport in the off-season (using the Colorado Railcar DMU that would do the Chugach National Forest service in the summer).

    As to your comment that 80 miles is a lot for a start-up commuter rail system, keep in mind that those 80 miles really only consist of a handful of relatively small communities. For example, in the 35 or so miles between Anchorage and Girdwood, the only other sizable settlement is the tiny village of Indian, so the southern half of the run would be one or two stops max (maybe Bird Point for fishing in the summer). North of Anchorage, there's Elmendorf AFB, Fort Richardson (the Army post), Eagle River (which the railroad bypasses and so wouldn't be a stop), Birchwood/Chugiak/Peters Creek, and then nothing until Wasilla.

    The capital investment for that 80 miles is really minimal, because the trackage already exists (and the railroad is working on double-tracking it anyway) and the only major stops would be Anchorage, the military bases, Birchwood and Wasilla (and perhaps Girdwood). The primary audience is the large crowd of commuters that drive in from Wasilla to Anchorage every day, so even just having those two stops would take care of 80+% of the need of the commuter service (although the draw won't be very high unless some speed and connecting transit issues are worked out--I'm hoping for a rail addition to the Knik Arm Bridge, if it ever gets built).

  4. #4

    Default

    The new logo hearlding the arrival of commuter service to Alaska:

    (Within at least the next 5 years or so).
    (In my opinion...)

    They do appear to be upgrading the Anchorage station for the first phase of it's expansion, but as for Commuter trains between Palmer/Wasilla and Anchorage - once you get to the train station downtown - then good luck getting elsewhere in town. But from my observations, one thing about currently running passenger trains and proposed commuter trains ... They allow you to get federal $$$'s, so that you can inprove your tracks - That for some reason your freight trains also use - and that you could then {{eventually}} use for a full commuter train service.

    I think the Girdwood service would actually run a new Spur track up the valley 3 miles to the DubleMuskey. Heck they have a line of limos going there - why not trains? Except mondays...

    Hey Mac, When you going to bring your new fangled camera up here and take some real pictures. I need an excuse to take off work.


    Matt
    Matt L.
    Anchorage, AK

  5. #5

    Default

    Well, I would say this winter but then I'd become a human Popsicle. I don't think it gets below 20 there (or does it) but Ice Road Truckers was enough to make Alaska a Summer only venture =P
    Brian Bundridge
    Puyallup, Washington
    Check out my photos on Smugmug!
    Want the latest news and information on Seattle Transit? Check out Seattle Transit Blog!
    Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Conductor/Student Engineer

  6. Default

    Can't be any worse than Minneapolis in early spring...

  7. #7

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    This is true!

    Still, brrr.....
    Brian Bundridge
    Puyallup, Washington
    Check out my photos on Smugmug!
    Want the latest news and information on Seattle Transit? Check out Seattle Transit Blog!
    Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad Conductor/Student Engineer

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