Catch a Train This Summer With the Alaska Railroad

There’s something about a train, especially the Alaska Railroad…Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

The Alaska Railroad launched what is sure to be a busy summer season already –  taking thousands of passengers to destinations from Seward to Fairbanks over Mother’s Day weekend. The company also announced the start of the 2018 Catch the Train Photo Contest, an interactive contest that lets passengers and fans share their images of the Alaska Railroad with the chance to win a grand prize. 

Summer season kicked off on May 12, 2018 – a bit early this year – with daily service between Anchorage and Seward on the Coastal Classic Train. Passengers enjoyed the beauty of the Chugach Mountains as the Coastal Classic wound along Turnagain Arm, then away from the road system on a stunning backcountry journey to Seward, gateway to Kenai Fjords National Park. There is still snow on much of the upper reaches of the route, but with wildlife, glaciers, and scenery no matter the weather, it was a fantastic trip, we hear. And, with opportunities to explore Seward together, the Coastal Classic has become one of the most popular with the increasing multi-gen demographic of Alaska travelers. 

With daily departures from both Anchorage and Fairbanks, the Denali Star Train begins service May 16, 2018. This route takes riders right to Denali National Park and Preserve, one of Alaska’s treasured national parks and home to North America’s tallest peak – Denali. 

Alaska Railroad Hurricane Turn conductor Warren Redfearn gives AK Kid a golden spike for good behavior on the train during a 2013 visit. All aboard! Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

On May 17, 2018, the Hurricane Turn Train makes its first round-trip journey of the summer season, traveling from the town of Talkeetna to the turnaround point of Hurricane Gulch. As one of the last flagstop services in the nation, this train lets passengers tailor their trip to get off the train anywhere along its 55-mile route to explore Alaska’s backcountry. We loved this trip, so be sure to check out our story from a few years ago HERE. 

Adventure-seekers of all ability levels, but especially families,  can take a ride on the Glacier Discovery Train starting on May 26, 2018. Heading south from Anchorage, the Glacier Discovery delivers passengers to Whittier, Portage and Grandview, as well as a chance to explore the Chugach National Forest at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, which is only accessible via the Alaska Railroad. 

*May 12, 2018, marks the return of the Alaska Railroad’s popular annual Catch the Train Photo Contest. To participate, entrants may submit a photo to the contest via the Alaska Railroad Facebook page or by using the hashtag #CatchTheTrainAK on Twitter or Instagram. 

Alaska Railroad Goldstar Class views are the best! Thanks, Alaska Railroad…Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Twelve winners will receive travel for two on the Alaska Railroad route of their choice. Their photo will also be featured as a month in the Alaska Railroad’s 2020 calendar and displayed in the onboard magazine Panoramas. The grand prize winner will see their photo featured on the cover of the calendar, and win $1,500 and the Railroad’s Denali Getaway package, which includes round-trip rail travel for four to Denali National Park & Preserve and overnight accommodations at the Grande Denali Lodge.

For additional details about the Alaska Railroad and its summer service options, visit

You may also enjoy these stories about the Alaska Railroad: 

Alaska Railroad Glacier Discoverers

Alaska Railroad Goldstar Service

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