Summer Rates for the Denali Star.
Denali Star Train - Daily Service May 19
to September 17, 2006
Full service dining car and gift
*Children under 2 are free. Child fares (ages 2 - 11) are 50% of the Adult rates rounded up to the nearest dollar. Customized packages are available. Transfers may be offered by hotels. Please schedule departing flights from Alaska at least 4 hours after published train arrival times.
From Their Web Site:
"These cars feature some of the largest windows on passenger trains today. The capacity ranges from 60-78 seats per car, depending on the car type. Each has semi-reclining and forward facing seats. Parcel racks above keep carry-on luggage from under your feet. "
The Denali Star Train has:
There is a full service dining car and gift shop onboard, and some tour prices include food. You are welcome to walk back to the Vista Dome car for a bird's-eye view of beautiful Alaska scenery
One reason for the slow trip is that the train has historically always been willing to make unscheduled stops, in fact, it is reportedly the last passenger train in the country to make flag stops, picking up or discharging passengers in Chase, Gold Creek, Hurricane and other rural communities, or fishing holes lacking road access. In many parts of the Interior, the Alaska Railroad provides the only year-round ground access. Many have reason to be thankful for that in the winter, as the Alaska Railroad has saved more than one life by stopping to pick up people stranded in the cold. Caution must also be exercised to avoid running over wildlife which coexist with the train tracks. Their site even gives these directions for how to flag down a train:
How to Flag Down a Train
The Hurricane Train offers Flag-Stop Service. To flag the train, stand 25 feet from the rail. Wave a large white cloth above your head until the engineer acknowledges you by sounding the train whistle. Remain 25 feet from the rail until the conductor has opened the door and motions you aboard. Use extreme caution at all times. Restrain your pets on a leash while the train is approaching or passing
For some years, Gray Line of Alaska has been importing vintage dome cars from the Santa Fe and other historic rail lines. Built in the 1950s, these plush Budd and Pullman domed rail cars are now used in Gray Line's McKinley Explorer service, where they package the views of the passing countryside with a ride softened by special three-axle trucks.
Gray Line's McKinley Explorer cars depart both directions every day in the summer. The cars are named for Alaska rivers, like the Chena, and the Tanana. Each is self-contained with a capacity of 70 passengers and has seating on the upper level and dining facilities below. Complimentary coffee and tea is served, and there is a full-service, no-host bar. A tour guide offers information on sights and the history of the rail area.
The last prices we saw for the McKinley Explorer were $198 from Fairbanks to Anchorage, or $66 from Fairbanks to Denali park, with children paying half price.
Midnight Sun Express
The service utilizes Ultra Dome Series I cars, with daily departures from both Fairbanks and Anchorage. The special cars seat 90 passengers each and each has an upper level viewing platform, as well as a 45-seat dining area.
The last prices we saw for the Midnight Sun Express were $194 for the Fairbanks to Anchorage ride, or $65 for rides from Fairbanks to Denali park.