A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 17°/19°/Mostly cloudy
Fairbanks: -18°/-10°/Partly cloudy
Blue-and-gold train gives passengers an unforgettable trip
The Interior and Southcentral regions of the Last Frontier are served by the Alaska Railroad, which in the summer transports tens of thousands of visitors.
The Alaska Railroad's two main trains are the Denali Star, which connects Anchorage and Fairbanks through the mountainscape of Denali National Park, and the Coastal Classic, which connects Anchorage and Seward. One train goes each way each day on each route.
Between mid-May and mid-September, passenger trains run daily between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Passengers often continue to Seward from Anchorage. (Route map)
The railroad has summer and winter package tours, and it allows online booking.
At Anchorage's international airport, a passenger depot makes transfers between planes and trains more efficient.
The Denali Star southbound passenger train leaves Fairbanks at 8:15 a.m. The northbound train from Anchorage and Denali arrives at 8:15 p.m. The trip to Denali takes 8 hours from Anchorage and almost 4 hours from Fairbanks.
The one-way fare from Fairbanks to Denali is $50. From Fairbanks to Talkeetna, it's $100. From Fairbanks to Anchorage, the cost is $175. Fares drop about 20 percent outside the peak season, which covers early June through Labor Day.
Service is available from Anchorage to Seward on the Coastal Classic, as well as from Anchorage to Whittier and Spencer Glacier on the Glacier Discovery. In the winter, no service is provided to Seward.
Daily summer service between Anchorage and Seward is $98 round-trip and $59 one way. The trip takes 4 hours 15 minutes.
The Coastal Classic stops in Girdwood, a hour south of Anchorage. The Seward to Girdwood fare is $59 one way, the same as Seward-Anchorage.
The Glacier Discovery runs south from Anchorage to Portage, Whittier, Spencer Glacier and Grandview on the northern Kenai Peninsula.
A one-way trip between Whittier and Girdwood or Anchorage costs $49. A round trip is a bargain at $59. The round trip starts in Anchorage at 10 a.m. and ends at 9:15 p.m. Passengers get 6.5 hours in Whittier.
The Glacier Discovery also offers a trip to Spencer Glacier and the Grandview site for $89 from Anchorage. Whittier-Grandview is $69 for a round trip.
A rafting option is available for $159 total fare from Anchorage or Girdwood. Travel back to Anchorage or Girdwood is by bus.
The Alaska Railroad serves Alaskans who live off the road system by providing the Talkeetna-Hurricane flag-stop train four days a week. The one-way fare is $36, half-price for children 2 to 11.
The railroad, completed in 1923, also carries freight into the Interior. Southbound freight trains carry petroleum -- heating oil, gasoline and jet fuel -- from the Williams refinery at North Pole to Anchorage.
The railroad also totes coal from Healy to Seward for shipping to South Korea.