The Alaska Railroad : 470 miles of mountains, glaciers and grizzlies from the comfort of a glass dome.

Since 1923, the Alaska Railroad - one of the last railroads in the United States to carry both people and freight - has connected millions of passengers and trade goods over 470 miles [ 760 kilometers ] of track, from Seward to Fairbanks.

This year is the centennial of its operation and a celebration is planned in Nenana, where President Warren G. Harding drove in a golden spike on July 15, 1923, completing the railroad.

Operational well before Alaska became a state, in 1959, the railroad is an environmentally friendly way for passengers to see wilderness and even the aurora borealis, without sacrificing comfort :

Glass-domed rail cars make viewing easy. It is also the remaining flag-stop major railroad in the country. Passengers can wave a flag to embark or disembark, gaining access to more remote locations, including harder-to-reach areas of Chugach National Forest, through a partnership with the U.S. Forest Service.

Sights along the way include Denali. North America's tallest peak, and Kenai Fjords National Park.

History buffs can view a special exhibit at the Anchorage Museum that runs from May to February 2024, chronicling the railroad's history. [ Charu Suri ]


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