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1,500-Mile Railroad to Connect Alaska, Canada

Friday, July 12, 2019

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Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) and the Alaska to Alberta Railway Development Corp., also known as A2A Rail, announced late last month that both companies have signed an agreement for the development of a $13 billion, 1,500-mile rail line linking Alaska and Canada.

The endeavor, which would run through the Yukon and British Columbia, would also connect to the rest of the U.S.

Alaska-Canada Rail

According to Yukon News, a rail project connecting Alaska and Canada has been a dream since the early 20th century. In the agreement, ARRC will request the right-of-way for state land to use in the project, and from there, the route will be leased to A2A, which will be responsible for constructing and financing the railroad.

The route would connect Alaska Railroad’s Delta Junction railhead with Fort McMurray in Alberta. From there, it would connect to the Canadian National network. In Alaska, the rail would connect Fairbanks with Anchorage and the Ports of Seward and Whittier in south-central Alaska.

"You're talking about building 200 miles of track in Alaska. You're talking about building about 1,300 miles of track in Canada. That is going to need, just for one thing, you're going to need to move 17 billion cubic feet of gravel to have that roadbed for the track, lots of other work, sidings and so forth," said former Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, who now serves as a consultant for A2A.

"It's a big construction job that will be about a three-year job once we get the permits."

KVTA reports that back in April, Gov. Mike Dunleavy requested a presidential permit for extending the Alaska rail line into Alberta. The state Senate also passed a resolution that supported a federal border permit that would allow the project to move forward.

Moving Forward

Since the agreement has been signed, Treadwell noted that the companies are looking to have the project complete in the next five to seven years. Out of the $13 billion, $3 billion would be spent in Alaska. A2A is also not requesting any state funding.

A2A has also noted that it assembled a team of 40 people and spent $46 million over the past year to keep the project progressing. Next steps include consulting with local communities and First Peoples, as well as route planning, environmental reviews and regulatory applications.

“We are pleased to reach this milestone with the Alaska Railroad,” says Sean McCoshen, CEO and co-founder of A2A Rail.

“It will help assure global investors that obtaining a right-of-way in Alaska is achievable, and sets up major cooperation in permitting, operations, and marketing with the Alaska Railroad. We expect this project to generate significant economic activity in Alaska and Canada.”

The Alaska railroad, owned by the state, has been in operation since 1923, and is a passenger and freight railroad boasting more than 650 miles of track. A2A was established by Sean McCoshen for the purpose of owning and operating a rail project that would connect the Alaska Railroad and Alaska tidewater ports to northern Alberta.


Tagged categories: Construction; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Rail

Comment from Gregory Stoner, (7/29/2019, 10:22 AM)

Sounds like a project long overdue. Rail is by far the better way to move freight and passengers.

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