Alaska Railroad, A2A to build 1,500-mile rail connection between Alaska and Canada
July 01, 2019 – The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) and the Alaska to Alberta Railway Development Corporation (A2A) have signed an agreement to build a 1,500-mile rail connection between Alaska and Canada.
The project would also connect to the rest of the US.
Under the terms of the agreement, the two railroad companies will cooperate and submit an application to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for a right-of-way guaranteed under state law for a rail connection to Canada.
The partnership will also focus on developing a joint operating plan which will specify not only the new track needed to connect Alaska’s rail to Canada.
It will also identify the work that can help in upgrading the existing rail infrastructure including facilities, bridges and track on Alaska Railroad’s 512-mile mainline running between Seward and North Pole, Alaska.
Expected to cost nearly $13bn (£10.3bn), the project is expected to begin after right-of-way is approved by state authorities and Presidential border crossing permits is secured, along with environmental reviews being conducted by the US and Canada and two national agencies, including the Surface Transportation Board (STB) in the US and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) give their approvals.
The partnership is also consulting with First Nations, Indigenous groups and Alaska Native entities, whose traditional lands are crossed by the route.
The native groups and entities have been invited to participate in the economic benefits that accrue through the project. A full project description for the rail link in the US and Canada is expected to be completed later this year.
A2A Rail CEO and co-founder Sean McCoshen said: “We are pleased to reach this milestone with the Alaska Railroad. 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.”
ARRC president and CEO Bill O’Leary said: “A rail connection between Alaska and Canada and the rest of the United States is a project that has been talked and dreamed about for close to a century.
“Completing that connection has amazing potential for Alaska and this agreement between the Alaska Railroad and A2A Rail is an important first step to get the project underway.”