FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Railroad is known across the state, and now it’s getting national attention thanks to a six-part documentary commissioned by the Discovery Channel.
“Railroad Alaska” debuts Nov. 16 on the Destination America channel, one of several channels the Discovery Channel owns, with each hour-long episode focusing on the railroad and the communities it serves as well as railroad crews who work on everything from track maintenance to those employees who operate the locomotives.
“They were dogged. They really wanted to do this,” Alaska Railroad Manager of External Affairs Tim Sullivan said of Windfall Films, the production company that filmed the series. “Windfall approached the Alaska Railroad with the idea to do the series, and we vetted it. We put a lot of effort into making sure it would be something good for the railroad and good for the state.”
The production company shot most of the footage in the spring and summer and filmed mostly between Whittier and the Hurricane Gulch and Talkeetna areas. A lot of the storylines in the series focus on Alaska residents who live off the grid north of Talkeetna and how the railroad is a lifeline for them, Sullivan said.
“When you see the series, they make testimonials that they couldn’t live where they live without the Alaska Railroad,” Sullivan said. “I was happy with the opportunity to show off the railroad and for us to show off the state. You get to see the scenery of Alaska and the hard work that makes the railroad run every day.”
Starting today, the Alaska Railroad will begin updating its Facebook page with information about the upcoming broadcasts. The Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/alaskarailroad. You can see the program on the following channels:
• GCI cable channel 105
• GCI high definition channel 691
• Direct TV channel 286
• Dish Network channel 194
For Sullivan and the rest of the railroad crew, the documentary is a chance to spotlight not only the railroad but all of Alaska.
“We hope the people of Alaska enjoy it and appreciate it, and we get to show off the railroad to the Lower 48,” he said.
Contact Features Editor Gary Black at 459-7504 or on Twitter: @FDNMfeatures.