The Alaska Railroad (ARR) is back up and running after Friday’s 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Regularly scheduled freight services started running again Tuesday, Dec. 4.
ARR suspended all service after the quake in order to assess damage along its nearly 500 miles of trackage and to begin repairs. Some sections of track were damaged or deemed impassable and required immediate repairs. In particular, an area 45 miles north of Anchorage sustained cracks up to four feet wide and 150 feet long on both sides of the tracks.
“We could not be more pleased with the work our crews have done to get the Alaska Railroad back up and running in just over 72 hours,” Dale Wade, vice president of marketing and customer service said in a press release. “This incredible effort from railroaders speaks to the grit and perseverance of Alaska and its people. We are happy to be able to return to serving our passengers and freight customers so quickly.”
The first passenger trains to run as scheduled will be the Winter Hurricane Turn Train on Thursday, Dec. 6, followed by the regularly scheduled Aurora Winter Trains and Holiday trains this weekend.

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake rippled through Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Anchorage, Alaska, causing collapses and damage to Alaska’s infrastructure on Friday, Nov. 30. More than 200 aftershocks, some up to 5.7 magnitude, continued for 12 hours after the initial quake.
Damage occurred on the Alaska Railroad (ARR), closing the tracks between Anchorage and Fairbanks, a 350-mile trip one way. Cracks up to four feet wide and 150 feet long have been found on both sides of tracks about 45 miles north of Anchorage, The Associated Press reported.
Officials finished a complete inspection of the tracks and bridges Monday morning. All slide zones south of Anchorage have been cleared, and freight has resumed running between Whittier and Anchorage, reports say.
Two areas north of Anchorage are under repair, and train traffic is expected to resume within the next 48 hours, according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
ARR’s headquarters also sustained extensive water damage from a pipe ruptured by the quakes, AP reported.