Fall colors make perfect backdrop for the bold colors of the Alaska Railroad.

Compare All Alaska Train Service

Weighing your Alaska train service and operator options.

Reclining leather seats allow for comfortable travelling.

Compare All Alaska Train Service

Weighing your Alaska train service and operator options.

McKinley Explorer travels between Anchorage and Denali.

Compare All Alaska Train Service

Weighing your Alaska train service and operator options.

Compare All Alaska Train Service

There are four primary train services operating along the popular "railbelt" connecting Seward, Anchorage, Denali Park, and Fairbanks. These include the Alaska Railroad Adventure Class and Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome, as well as the privately-operated Wilderness Express and McKinley Explorer.

Each offers something special, like more affordable tickets on Adventure Class and the best outdoor viewing platforms on the GoldStar Dome. Still, sometimes it's easier to decide on a train when you can compare each service based on specific features. Below we've done just that. Click on each feature to see how the services differ. For more advice on how to decide between Alaska trains, you can also check out our Best Train for Me page.

Want to see ticket prices and schedules? Use our handy Transportation Finder, or if you are ready to book try our Train & Bus Express Checkout.

Seating
Comfort | View | Stability | Outdoor Platforms | In Seat Power

Alaska Railroad Adventure Class: Reserved seating in a single-level train car with picture windows. Many say this lower seating is more stable than dome cars for those prone to motion sickness. Adventure Class passengers can visit a shared dome observation car on a rotating basis.

Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome: Reserved seats on an upper deck under full-length dome windows. Seats face forward. There is a larger outdoor viewing deck at the back of the passenger seating area on each car. GoldStar Dome cars are often the first two cars behind the engine, giving GoldStar passengers stellar views out the front of the train. GoldStar passengers can also access other Alaska Railroad cars on the train, but GoldStar domes are only open to GoldStar ticketholders.

Wilderness Express: Premium reclining leather seats under full-length dome windows on the upper level of a private car. Seats are equipped with USB and power outlets, footrests, and tray tables. There is a small outdoor viewing platform on the lower level at the rear of each Wilderness Express car. Passengers are restricted to their dome car during the trip.

McKinley Explorer: Upper level seating under full-length dome windows. Some seats may face backwards and occasionally seats in the back of these cars are tabletops. The McKinley Explorer does not accept requests for forward-facing seats. There is an outdoor viewing platform on the lower level of each car.

Note that passenger eating and dining areas are wheelchair accessible on all services.

Food
Grab and Go | Dining Car | Snacks | Beverages | Menus

Alaska Railroad Adventure Class: Snacks and drinks are available for purchase in the Wilderness Café bistro car. Adventure Class passengers can also enjoy sit-down dining in the lower level dining area of GoldStar Dome cars, although GoldStar ticketed passengers have priority. See Menu.

Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome: Each ticket includes meals (breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner) served on the route segment, two adult beverages, and unlimited nonalcoholic beverages. GoldStar passengers have priority seating in the dining car. There is also the option to purchase snacks and drinks in the Wilderness Café bistro car on most trains. See Menu.

Wilderness Express: Offers a full menu featuring local ingredients in the lower level dining area and a drinks and snacks menu in the upper deck bar area. In addition to full bar service, this menu includes specialty Alaskan-themed cocktails. Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price. See Menu.

McKinley Explorer: Breakfast and lunch are available for purchase in the lower level dining area. In the afternoon a bar in the upper level seating offers a menu of hearty snacks and drinks. Food and drinks are not included in the ticket price. See Menu.

Amenities
Host Guides | Gift Shop | Luggage Storage | Ride Guides

Alaska Railroad Adventure Class: Passenger seating areas offer more overhead storage for carry-ons. Onboard railroad hosts provided narration over the train's PA system. Passengers are free to move throughout all Adventure Class cars, making this service popular with families.

Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome: Each GoldStar Dome car has a dedicated Alaska tour guide who provides narration and answers questions. There is also expedited check in and boarding for GoldStar passengers.

Wilderness Express: Updated and well-appointed cars feature local Alaskan artwork. Onboard staff are helpful, friendly, and attentive and dedicated tour guides provide well-timed narration. Mile-by-mile Ride Guides are available for purchase for those who crave more Alaska rail history.

McKinley Explorer: Onboard guides provides narration. Each car has a small gift shop on the lower level.

Route
Denali Star | Seward Coastal Classic | Whittier Glacier Discovery

Alaska Railroad Adventure Class: Travels between Seward and Anchorage (Coastal Classic), Anchorage and Fairbanks (Denali Star), and Anchorage, Whittier, and Grandview (Glacier Discovery). Adventure Class is the only service available on the Glacier Discovery route. See Schedule.

Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome: Travels between Seward and Anchorage (Coastal Classic) and Anchorage and Fairbanks (Denali Star). This is the only dome car option available between Seward and Anchorage, one of Alaska's most scenic railroad routes. See Schedule.

Wilderness Express: Travels between Anchorage and Fairbanks. See Schedule.

McKinley Explorer: Travels between Anchorage and Denali Park only. The McKinley Explorer runs on a unique schedule from the other services. It departs Anchorage an hour later than other northbound trains and arrives into Anchorage three hours earlier than southbound trains. See Schedule.

Rates
Value | Child Rates | Discounts | Dome Upgrades | Included Meals

Alaska Railroad Adventure Class: Adult, child, and discounted shoulder season rates. Adventure Class is the most economical Alaska train option. See Rates.

Alaska Railroad GoldStar Dome: Adult, child, and discounted shoulder season rates. Rates include meals (breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner) served on the route, two adult beverages, and unlimited nonalcoholic beverages. See Rates

Wilderness Express: Adult, child, and discounted shoulder season rates. The Wilderness Express offers fantastic value for the ticket price. See Rates.

McKinley Explorer: Adult rates only. Child and shoulder season discounts are not available. See Rates.

Infants under the age of two travel for free when sitting on the lap of an adult on all services.

Compare All Alaska Train Service