With its many river crossings, miles of remote track, and proximity to Denali, the train route from Talkeetna to Fairbanks is enthralling. Passengers aboard the Wilderness Express premier train service experience it in particular style. They spend the 240 miles in comfortable seats, on outdoor platforms, enjoying a meal, or sharing a beverage with travel companions.
River crossings, remote track, and proximity to Denali.
Wilderness Express train cars have two levels. All passenger seating is on an upper level beneath full-length dome windows. Seats recline and come equipped with power outlets and fold-down tray tables. A car attendant provides bar service direct to passenger seats.
On the lower level, passengers have access to a private outdoor viewing platform and dining area. Onboard chefs prepare lunch and dinner on the ride to Fairbanks. The lunch menu includes a selection of sandwiches, wraps, and salads. The menu for dinner includes prime rib, local seafood, roasted chicken, and pasta entrees, along with soup and salad starters and an irresistible lineup of desserts. Vegetarian and gluten free options are readily available. Passengers can expect to pay $13 to $16 for lunch and $17 to $30 per entree. A full bar in the upper seating area also serves signature cocktails, wine, and Alaskan craft beer.
Wilderness Express railcars are locally owned and operated by a leading Alaska-based tour company. The railcars are used by cruise lines and escorted tours, but they also welcome independent travelers. The Wilderness Express offers adult and child rates, making this a more affordable premier rail option for families traveling with kids age 2 to 11.
What to Bring
Bring a camera, medications, and government issued photo ID. Bring a credit or debit card for additional on-board purchases (cash not accepted). It is a good idea to dress in layers as it is often chilly on the outside viewing platform.
Check in at the depot with a valid government issued photo ID one hour prior to departure. Boarding passes with seat assignments will be issued then. The Wilderness Express offers checked baggage service. Passengers are allowed two checked bags plus one carry on, with dimension and weight restrictions like those of airlines. The railroad charges $20 per item for oversized or excess baggage.
Many Talkeetna area hotels and tour operators provide transportation to the Talkeetna Depot. Upon arrival into Fairbanks, passengers can transfer to their next destination by taxi, rideshare, or hotel shuttle (where available).