Alaskan Allure

Written by: Gary Dolzall

The incomparable Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route is now available for Train Simulator!

One of North America’s most majestic and challenging contemporary rail lines has now come to Train Simulator with the Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route!

Created through the Dovetail Games Partner Programme by Train & Drivers, the Train Simulator Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route includes the Alaska Railroad’s line from Anchorage via Portage to Seward (114 route miles) as well as the important ARR line from Portage to Whittier, Alaska (12 route miles). And as an engineer on this extraordinary modern route, you’ll take the throttle of the Alaska Railroad’s powerful Electro-Motive SD70MACs and versatile GP38-2s, both of which are included with the route.

In recent weeks at Train-Simulator.com, we’ve introduced this remarkable route and shared the history and operations of the line in the feature articles “A Splendid Railroad”, “A Railroad Comes of Age”, and “Alaska Tonnage!”.

As our prior articles detailed, the Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route offers a superb variety of operating challenges and realistic experiences, ranging from lugging massive unit coal trains and manifests over the Kenai Mountains to yard and lineside industry switching duties at Anchorage to handling port switching jobs at Seward and Whittier.

Another fascinating aspect of operations on the ARR is the railroad’s reliance on Direct Traffic Control (“DTC”) given that a majority of the route is not equipped with lineside signals (the areas around Anchorage and Whittier Tunnel being the exceptions). ARR’s use of Direct Traffic Control involves dispatchers providing, via radio transmission, permission for trains to operate within assigned DTC blocks. The Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route authentically re-creates ARR’s block system and DTC operations as well as the CTC-governed signaling around Anchorage and Whittier. Some sections of the ARR are authorized for 49-mph freight-train speeds, although much of the railroad, due to its steep gradients (up to 3 percent) and tight curves, are more typically restricted to speeds in the range of 25-35 mph.

Along with the ARR Electro-Motive SD70MAC and EMD GP38-2, the Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route provides a variety of authentic freight equipment, including flatbed container car, covered hoppers, center-beam flatcar, 4-chute coal hopper, timber flat, stack car, piggyback flat, boxcar, tank car, and ARR extended-vision cupola caboose. Together with masterful route development and assets creation by Jonathan Lewis and Michael Stephan, this new Train Simulator route also features a selection of nine career scenarios authored by Andreas Czudai and Jim Friedland – and there’s no doubt this landmark route, with its truly extraordinary operating possibilities, will be an absolute favorite of Steam Workshop scenario creators.

Experience the allure of Alaskan railroading – the Train Simulator Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route is available now at the Dovetail Games and Steam Stores! – Gary Dolzall

The 126-mile Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route is now available, bringing the diverse and challenging freight operations of the incomparable Alaska Railroad to Train Simulator! Rugged mainline runs, yard duty, and lineside switching all await in this new route, and at the Anchorage industrial district, an ARR EMD GP38-2 tends to a string of petroleum-loaded tank cars. Screenshots by Gary Dolzall.

Southbound along the scenic shore of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet on the Train Simulator Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route, a duo of Alaska Railroad Electro-Motive SD70MACs lead a manifest freight. The new route includes both the powerful ARR EMD SD70MAC and versatile GP38-2 as featured motive power.

With containers in tow, Alaska Railroad SD70MAC 4016 and a sister are on the point of a southbound ARR freight near Girdwood (above), then shortly later the container-laden train rolls across the wide Twentymile River (below) as it nears Portage, Alaska.

Rugged is simply an understatement for the topography on the Alaska Railroad’s north slope climb through the Kenai Peninsula toward Grandview, Alaska. On the now-available Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route, the trio of SD70MACs serving as head-end power of a ponderous train of Usibelli-mined coal crawls over the Placer River.

Across the Alaska Railroad, no operation is more dramatic or demanding than a coal train climbing the Loops district on the 3 percent climb toward Grandview. With Bartlett Glacier in the background, three Alaska Railroad SD70MACs lend their combined 12,000-horsepower to the front-end of a Seward-bound coal train (above), while another trio of ARR “Big Macs” work hard as mid-train helpers (below).

On the Train Simulator Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route and deep in the remote and spectacular Chugach National Forest on the Kenai Peninsula, a pair of Alaska Railroad Electro-Motive EMD SD70MACs are southbound near Moose Pass, Alaska.

Snuggled on the shore of Resurrection Bay, Seward rests at the south end of the Alaska Railroad. At Seward Yard, a team of 4,000-horsepower ARR EMD SD70MACs are tending the massive Seward Loading Facility (above), while nearby a duo of veteran 2,000-horsepower EMD GP38-2s switch TOFC loads (below).

Whittier and its deep-water port that hosts barge services connecting the Alaska Railroad with the rest of North America’s rail system is a vital point on the ARR. On a snowy winter morning, a pair of GP38-2s switch a barge at Whittier (above). As seen in an engineers’ view aboard an ARR SD70MAC, a summer-time freight outbound from Whittier nears the east portal of 13,090-foot-long Whittier Tunnel (below).

Bound from Whittier to Anchorage via the 12-mile-long Whittier-Portage line, a set of ARR GP38-2s have cleared Whittier Tunnel with a string of containers in tow. The diverse operating challenges of contemporary Alaskan railroading now await you with Train Simulator’s Alaska Railroad – Seward to Anchorage route, available at the Dovetail Games and Steam Stores!

We’re always happy to receive your comments below but please ensure they are related to the subject of the article, we’ll remove any that appear to be unrelated.

Gary Dolzall

One Comment

  • I bought it! I can’t wait to test it tonight!

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