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9/17/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Alaska Railroad closer to realigning Anchorage-to-Wasilla track


Alaska Railroad Corp. (ARRC) plans to hold a public meeting Sept. 30 in Eagle River to share findings and solicit public comment on an environmental assessment for its proposed track realignment project between Eagle River and Knik River.


The project — part of an $88 million track realignment program under way between Anchorage and Wasilla that's partially funded by Federal Railroad Administration and Federal Transit Administration — would include straightening 30 curves to reduce the risk of derailment, decrease maintenance costs and increase freight- and passenger-train speeds.


The Eagle River-to-Knik River segment is one part of the track realignment program's second phase; the other, from Knik River to Wasilla.


Construction on the second phase, which includes rehabilitating select bridges and straightening 42 curves, might begin in fall.


After completing the entire 42-mile program (possibly in fall 2004), ARRC plans to reduce travel time between Anchorage and Wasilla from 90 minutes to 58, which would lower the railroad's costs associated with relief train and engine crews.


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