The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

4th of July Train Ride

Back When...


Bob Evans | Resurrection Bay Historical Society 700.1.3

Construction begin in April 1904 at the Seward terminus of the Alaska Central Railway with the delivery of the first steam locomotive late that month. By 1906, large groups of area residents along with some visitors took periodic excursions to the work camps along the line as construction approached Portage. One of the touring parties is shown above at mile 46 along the Grandview section of track on an Independence Day outing.

The Alaska Central Railway achieved 50 miles of track, with the furthest work camp at mile 54, before the company went bankrupt in 1907 and work was halted. The Alaska Northern Railway took over the railroad and remaining equipment in 1909 and, after its financial troubles mounted, was bought out in 1915 by the U.S. Government. By that time 21 miles had been added bringing the end of the line to Kern Creek, but sections of track were barely usable.

The railroad line between Seward and Anchorage was completed Sept. 10, 1918. Until then, from the end of the tracks goods were packed over trails or by boat along Turnagain Arm. The Alaska Railroad was completed in July 1923 when President Harding drove a golden spike into the rails at Nenana during a special ceremony.

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