Alaska railway moves East
March 01, 2014
The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) is building an 88 mile rail extension from North Pole, AK to Delta Junction. The possibility of a Canadian connection is intriguing.
The current project, Phase 1, a bridge across the Tanana River, has an $188M price tag, including a contribution of $104M from the US military. The US military has a missile defense facility at Delta Junction. The project will connect all the major US military facilities in Alaska by rail.
The salient facts on the Alaska Railroad:
- Owned by the State of Alaska, but operated independently.
- 656 miles of track, 51 locomotives; 1,381 freight cars; 45 passenger cars.
- In 2013 ARRC carried 489,620 passengers and 5.1 million tons of freight. Revenues in 2013 $144M
- ARRC has ~600 full time employees.
- Freight volumes are declining rather sharply last few years, while passenger traffic increased last year. ARR is under heavy pressure to comply with a new heavy-handed federal rule called ‘Positive Train Control’ which will cost tens of millions of dollars to implement.
Delta Junction is 348 kms (216 miles) from Beaver Creek, Yukon.
When the rail connection is completed what commodities could be shipped to/from Canada ?
- Copper. The giant Casino project near Carmacks is under environmental review.
- Platinum. The WellGreen Platinum project is a mere 5 hours by road from railhead.
- LNG. All prospective Yukon mines are contemplating LNG for power generation. Alaska is planning on building an LNG facility on the North Slope.