Alaska Rail Travel
So many wonders wait in Alaska’s heartland, all linked by the Alaska Railroad and the frontier spirit. Lush forests and meadows brimming with wildflowers. Rugged snowcapped mountains flanked by miles of open tundra. Princess rail and lodge packages allow you to explore Alaska’s immense wilderness under the care of our friendly guides.
Alaska is a land of epic proportions. It covers more than 1,400 miles north to south and 2,400 miles east to west. To understand the depth and breadth of Alaska, you must travel to the interior- to a vast, unspoiled wilderness that confounds the imagination. Traveling the Alaska Railroad aboard luxury railcars is a carefree way to make every mile count.
Of course, “getting there” matters; better yet, on Princess railcars, how you get there is at least half the fun. You’ll see the sights through the large glass windows and breathe in the stunning landscape on open air train platforms. Luxury rail travel with dining, in unparalleled Princess style, is the most relaxing way to experience the wonders of Interior Alaska.
A Short History of the Alaska Railroad
At the beginning of the 20th century, a gold rush and “black gold” in the form of coal were drawing people to the wilderness. Alaska Central, later the Alaska Northern Railroad, began private construction of 470 miles of rail lines between ice-free Resurrection Bay in Seward and Fairbanks between 1904 and 1912. After private attempts ended in bankruptcy, a government commission determined that a railroad was absolutely necessary to the development of Alaska. President Woodrow Wilson was given the authority to build in 1914 and President Warren G. Harding drove the golden spike to commemorate the official completion of the railroad in 1923.
The railroad turned its first profit in 1938 and was critical in transporting troops and materials during World War II to the developing Alaska Territory, but the government wanted out the railroad business by the 1980s. The State of Alaska formed the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARR) and took possession of 665 miles of track and 38,000 acres of land for $22.3 million in 1985.
Since that time, the railroad continues to evolve, hauling freight and responding to the increasing needs of visitors. Princess pioneered luxury rail travel through Alaska as early as 1984 and by 1999, had ten cars traveling daily between Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park, and Fairbanks.
Highlights of Rail Travel
Princess Rail passes through the most spectacular scenery in Alaska’s interior. You’ll see the Matanuska Valley, agricultural home of 70-pound cabbages and strawberries the size of plums. The lovely Susitna River charms and the Alaska Range beckons with its five towering peaks. You may find yourself holding your breath as you cross 265-foot-tall Hurricane Gulch, the highest bridge on the Alaska Railroad. Bring your camera and a pair of binoculars; you’ll encounter some of the most breathtaking scenery and wildlife in the world. Mile-by-mile, Princess’ custom edition of the Ride Guide to the Historic Alaska Railroad gives you the cultural and geographical history and highlights of your journey.
Travel The Alaska Railroad
Make the journey as fun as your destination! With wrap-around glass ceilings, you’ll have unobstructed views of Alaska’s exceptional scenery and wildlife. Bring your camera and binoculars!
All Alaska Railroad Tour Packages include at least one overnight stay at Denali or Mt. McKinley lodge.
Wrap-around glass ceilings give you unobstructed views of Alaska’s astounding scenery while you relax and enjoy informative commentary provided by our onboard rail guides. Full beverage service is continuous, whether you want a cup of hot coffee or a cocktail from our full selection of bar drinks, you can count on courteous and efficient service. The large open-air viewing platforms allow you to step outdoors for the perfect snapshot or breath of fresh air, with nothing between you and the world of Alaska you came all this way to see.
When you know what to expect, you can leave your worries behind. Reserved seating takes away the guesswork and transfers between the rail station and lodges are included.
Effortless, Alaska Dining
Dining aboard the train is delicious and equally effortless. A menu of delectable entrées is prepared to order in our onboard galley. The local selections are made with the freshest ingredients, comparable to those at a casual hotel restaurant, and served appropriate to the time of day. After dining, you may want to browse through the unique items available in the gift shop.
The Fun Continues at Your Destination
Leave those pesky details and the driving to us when you select a rail and lodge package. Princess offers many options with daily departures northbound from Anchorage or southbound from Fairbanks. Travel times vary, but the standard schedule calls for four hours between each leg of the route. Each package combines the thrill of traveling aboard panoramic railcars with overnights in the Denali area.