Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Train Ride: Anchorage to Seward

On our recent trip to Alaska the wife and I decided to take a day trip down to Seward from Anchorage.  There are several ways to get there, rent a car and drive down the Seward Highway, hop on a charter bus, take a float plane ride,  or take the train.

We opted to take the train South to Seward, and then ride back up North to Anchorage via bus.  This would allow us to see both the train route and the Seward Highway.

The train to Seward left early, 6:45 AM to be exact.  Fortunately, the Anchorage Downtown Hotel where we were staying offers free shuttle service to the station.  So we hopped on the train and were greeted almost immediately by blue and pink mountains reflecting the rising sun.
Blue and pink mountains in the early morning.
The train cabin is pretty nice, the seating arrangement is 2X2 across and there is a ton of legroom. The base cabin seats are at least as wide as airline domestic first class seats with way more recline.  There's a bar/food car in the middle of the train that serves snacks and breakfast.  I had a reindeer sausage breakfast burrito that was pricey ($7.00) but tasty.  I didn't want to eat too much however because we had planned lunch in Seward.

The views on the train ride down are amazing:
Turn Again Arm.

The front of the train passing a glacier

Mama Black bear - her babies stopped the train b/c they were on the track

The pictures don't do this glacier justice.

Dead trees from the big quake of 68
 The intercom barker on the train gives you a good idea when to get your camera ready, and when the best photo ops are coming, and what side of the train they're going to be on.  The picture with the front of the train and the glacier was one that she warned us was coming.  You pass 4 glaciers on the trip, and all are beautiful.  You also pass a lake where icebergs have calved off of the glacier into the water.  I've said before, it was the most naturally beautiful place I've ever been.

The dead trees in the last picture are interesting, they died as a result of the big earthquake in 1968 due to the permafrost liquefying and the ground dropping 7 feet.  This caused seawater to rush in which got to the roots and the trees died. In Alaska's cold climate they estimate it will be 100 years before they fully decompose.

The entire ride takes around 4 1/2 hours, so you get to Seward around 10:45 - 11:00  Just about time to get your bearings and eat.
The train at the Seward station
With the schedule we had chosen we were going to have around 7 hours to explore Seward.  It's a very small town so that's plenty of time.  On my next installment I'll talk about some of the things we did there.

All in all it was a great trip from Anchorage to Seward in comfortable seats with decent snacks and some amazing views. Well worth the price ($79/each) of the tickets.  I freely admit to being a train ride junkie on vacation so your mileage may vary.  For the wife and I however the train ride was a high point of our trip.

1 comment:

  1. Fellow junkie here. Thanks for the report.


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