UPDATE: Estimate north-end track to re-open mid-week
Alaska Railroad Corporation Press Release
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Today’s assessment by Alaska Railroad (ARRC) track repair crews indicate that train traffic scheduled to travel north of Wasilla will remain cancelled through Wednesday due to damage from rivers flooding in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley. Railroad track and bridge maintenance crews are addressing washouts and bridge damage in several areas impacted by high, fast water along a 70-mile stretch of the rail corridor between Willow and Gold Creek.
The most pressing problem is a major 500-foot-long washout that has left track dangling at railroad milepost 261, just south of Gold Creek (about 35 miles north of Talkeetna). Crews staged equipment last night and today began placing rip-rap and fill material hauled from the railroad’s quarry at Curry. Repair is expected to continue through Wednesday, depending on weather.
Crews are also shoring up water-damaged abutments on several bridges between Willow and Talkeetna, including Little Willow Creek (near mile 73 on the Parks Highway); Sheep Creek (near Mile 88 on the Parks Hwy) and Kashwitna River (near Mile 82 on the Parks Hwy). Fortification with rip-rap material began yesterday and is ongoing.
Railroad officials are also watching for high-water damage in Healy and Nenana, where the Nenana River is flooding. Currently, no track or bridge repair appears necessary in these areas.
The regularly scheduled weekend Aurora winter passenger train is cancelled for this weekend, and instead passengers will be bussed from Anchorage to Fairbanks on Saturday, and from Fairbanks to Anchorage on Sunday. The monthly Hurricane Turn flagstop train that travels between Anchorage and Talkeetna on the first Thursday of the month is still scheduled to operate October 4. Please contact the Alaska Railroad reservations number at (907) 265-2494 for travel updates.
Freight trains normally scheduled to run between Anchorage and Fairbanks will not operate until damage to the track and bridges are repaired. The Alaska Railroad is working to meet the needs of freight and passenger train customers.
The Alaska Railroad corridor between Anchorage and Seward and Whittier remains open. Minor washouts have occurred in the Seward area in the last several days and have been repaired.
The annual Blues Train, from Anchorage to Seward, which was to have come here today (Saturday) was cancelled however. (editor’s note.)