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Rail And Natural Wonders
JULY 18-30, 2019
As the Aleutian Islands cross over the 180 degree longitude line, Alaska is in fact the westernmost, northernmost, and easternmost state. It is rugged and wild with glaciers, countless rivers and lakes, majestic mountain peaks, some active volcanoes, and nearly 34,000 miles of tidal shoreline. North America’s highest peak at 20,320 ft, Mt. McKinley (or Denali), is located in Alaska. Our tour is designed to cover all of the fascinating railways in Alaska – a sort of “clear Alaska” – including the legendary Alaska Railroad and the White Pass & Yukon Railroad (WP&YR). Along the way in addition to amazing scenery we should see some extraordinary wildlife including bears, eagles and whales.
Day 1 Thursday July 18:
Arrive in Fairbanks and hotel check-in.
Day 2 Friday July 19:
A free day for your own exploration of Fairbanks. It is called “the Golden Heart of Alaska”, a reference to the character of her people as much as to the location in Alaska’s interior, or to the discovery of gold in 1902. You may feel up to a visit of the Pioneer Park, a heritage theme park where there are museums, an old ship and an old-time saloon. We should also be able to ride the narrow gauge Tanana Valley Railroad in the park.
Day 3 Saturday July 20: (B, L, D)
We have a morning departure on the Denali Star, the premier train of the Alaska Railroad. We travel south all the way to Anchorage enjoying the luxury of ‘GoldStar’ accommodation. A large upper deck open-air balcony allows great photo opportunities and is an extremely popular part of this tremendous journey. As we head south on our way to Anchorage, we hope for a nice sunny day with the chance to see Mount McKinley, America’s highest mountain, during the afternoon.
Day 4 Sunday July 21:
Today we make a round trip to Whittier on the Glacier Discovery train which travels from Anchorage south along Turnagain Arm. Passengers can visit Whittier for a glacier cruise or head to the Spencer Glacier where it’s possible to take a walk on the Glacier. Or remain on the train to Grandview where there is a small viewing platform for photos.
Day 5 Monday July 22:
Today is a free day in Anchorage to explore at your own pace. For the railfans we hope to be able to offer a visit to the main Alaska Railroad workshops during the day if we can obtain permission.
Day 6 Tuesday July 23: (B, L, D)
Today we make a round trip to Seward on the Coastal Classic. The Coastal Classic train is a local favorite that winds through the wilderness between Anchorage and Seward. A string of massive glaciers visible from the track enriches the journey and then comes the fantastic climb up Moose Pass offering superb views. On arrival there is the option to join a Kenai Fjords catamaran tour for a few hours and hope for some really close encounters with the local wildlife!
Day 7 Wednesday July 24:
This morning we fly with Alaska Airlines from Anchorage to Juneau, the Alaskan capital city. We will have a free afternoon in Juneau. Take a trip up the Mount Roberts tramway and enjoy the stunning views from way above Juneau and almost certainly see majestic Bald Eagles flying around. Don’t miss the Red Dog bar for dinner in the evening for a real local experience.
Day 8 Thursday July 25:
Today we take the Alaska Marine Highway “Catamaran” from Juneau to Skagway via Haines. The sailing takes around four hours (which includes a short stop in Haines) and gives great views before a midday arrival in Skagway. The town will still be busy with tourists off the huge cruise ships before their evening departures. We will stay at the ‘Westmark Inn’ which is right in the center of town and only a very short walk from the station and the shops. The local Skagway Brewing Company does great food and drink, and also try some Thai food at the really popular ‘Starfire’ restaurant.
Day 9 Friday July 26:
Free time in Skagway or the option today to ride the regular Skagway – Fraser steam train with a packed lunch included. Price TBA. Baldwin Steam loco 73 should be the power and this locomotive makes a fine sight and sound climbing the terrific grades up towards the Summit and beyond into Canada. We will turn on the loop just south of Fraser station for the awesome descent back into Skagway.
Day 10 Saturday July 27
Today is a free day in Skagway and gives everyone a chance to explore this amazing town. Highly recommended is the peace and tranquility of the walk to Smugglers Cove and you may even see whales from there. There are plenty of activities to check out once in town.
Day 11 Sunday July 28:
We will leave early on train number 1 which runs the full length of the railway from Skagway to Carcross and is generally pulled by one single ‘Alco’ loco. As we leave town the steep climb really starts and we pass the small stops at Denver and Glacier where hikers leave and join the train. As we pass through the trees keep your eyes peeled for bears. Canadian customs will pass through the train at Fraser. Train 1 is the only train of the day north of Fraser as it follows a series of lakes before arriving at Bennett. The final section of the journey is alongside more lakes to the small town of Carcross. On arrival here we will have time for an ice cream in Canada and then return to Skagway, arriving in the early evening.
Day 12 Monday July 29:
Today is a free morning in Skagway and then very sadly we say goodbye to this magical little town which we have been privileged to stay in for four days. We take the midday train to Fraser for a easy transfer onto a connecting bus to Whitehorse where we spend one night.
Day 13 Tuesday July 30:
The final day today and there may be time to visit the Copperbelt Railway where narrow gauge Austrian built locomotives pull tourist trains around the woods. Or possibly ride the diesel powered vintage tram car from Lisbon along the waterfront. End of tour
ALL PRICES ARE PER PERSON
DOUBLE ROOM OCCUPANCY$4,590
SINGLE ROOM SUPPLEMENT$1,250
DEPOSIT TO HOLD SPACE CONFIRMED$1,500
FINAL PAYMENT IS DUE BY APRIL 18, 2019
TOUR CONDITIONS FOR 2021 **PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
Tour Price: All tour prices are subject to change without notice, at any time. All prices based on double room occupancy. Those people that use a credit card for payments a 3% conveyance fee will be added to the tour price. We reserve the right to change tour prices if necessary without prior notice.