Alaska Railroad Service There is only one set of train tracks that connects the communities along the “railbelt” from Seward to Anchorage, Denali Park and on to Fairbanks. All train cars are pulled by Alaska Railroad locomotives, and there are a variety of train service options with the Alaska Railroad, as well as other private rail car companies. Your selection will impact your seating, viewing and dining options… and in some cases, even your arrival and departure times.
Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome Service. In 2005 the Alaska Railroad added a total of six luxury full dome railcars to their fleet. They are the newest dome cars on the train, manufactured by the same company that built the private dome cars used in Alaska by the major cruise lines. On the Denali Star and Coastal Classic routes passengers who upgrade from the standard Alaska Railroad Adventure Class service to GoldStar service will ride in these spectacular two-level dome cars.
The Wilderness Express operates on the Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star route that offers daily summer service to Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali National Park and Fairbanks. They are usually the last two cars on the train in each direction, following the same schedule as the Denali Star route. Wilderness Express fares typically fall in between the Alaska Railroad’s Adventure Class and GoldStar Service making them an exceptional value.
The Alaska Railroad offers two levels or classes of service on its Denali Star and Coastal Classic routes. Adventure Class is considered the standard or coach service while GoldStar service is an upgrade to one of the railroad’s newer luxury dome railcars. When you hear a term like “coach” or “standard class” you may be tempted to think of your last airline flight and having to pay to use the restroom, but trust us, that is not the case here.
The McKinley Explorer. The service is offered to Anchorage, Talkeetna and Denali Park… it is a separate train from the Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star, and operates on a different schedule. Depending on your travel plans, you may find the McKinley Explorer’s later departure time from Anchorage or earlier arrival time into Anchorage a convenient option. Check here for the McKinley Explorer schedule and rates: http://www.alaskatrain.com/information/schedules.html#mckinley-explorer