The Alaska Railroad has delayed its summer passenger service until early July and combined some schedules due to the COVID-10 pandemic.
“We closely following developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the safety and well-being or our passengers and employees remaining our highest concerns,” a railroad notice reads. “With that guiding priority, we’ve made the difficult decision to temporarily change regular passenger operations.”
The Denali Star with Hurricane Flagstop route between Anchorage and Fairbanks is one of the railroad’s most popular excursions. The railroad will begin northbound service on July 1, with bi-directional service slated to begin the following day.
The Denali Star features stops in Talkeetna and Denali National Park and Preserve. Trains leave from Anchorage and Fairbanks at 8 a.m. each day and usually arrive at their final destination at about 8 p.m.
By adding the Hurricane Flagstop to the Denali Star, the railroad eliminated the Hurricane Turn Train for the summer.
“This consolidation represents our ongoing evaluation of passenger needs and finding the most efficient and safest ways to meet them,” the notice reads.
On a clear day, travelers on the Denali Star will get some stunning views of Mount Denali on the south side of the park between Talkeetna and Cantwell.
The Coastal Classic Train, which features daily service between Anchorage and Seward, is slated to make its first run on July 1.
The Glacier Discovery Train, featuring daily service between Anchorage and Whittier, with whistle-stops at Spencer Glacier and Grandview, will start on July 3.
All passenger trains will operate in compliance with applicable public health guidelines. Depots and trains will be capped at 50% occupancy to allow for social distancing. Face coverings will be required to enter depots and while boarding and moving about trains.
Face coverings may be removed once seated in designated dining areas and while seated in assigned seats.
On the train, a custodial porter will sanitize surfaces, door handles and restrooms every 30 minutes, and depots and trains will receive full sanitization each night.
For complete details on train service in Alaska go to www.alaskarailroad.com or call 907-265-2300 or 800-544-0552.
Also, the railroad has extended its flexible cancellation policy through Sept. 20. Travelers can cancel up to 24 hours before their trip and receive a full refund on Alaska Railroad train fare.
Some fees may apply for package bookings involving lodging and excursions within 60 days of travel. To inquire about a specific package change or cancellation, contact Alaska Railroad reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-544-0552.