We pass quickly through the hamlet of Ferry. In 2001 this tiny community got a telephone service. And yes, they have electricity, but many keep using their generators.
Clear Air Force Base with three large radar screens can be seen above the tree tops. This is the original Ballistic Missile Early Warning Site.
As the track levels out, the small town of Nenana comes into view. It is home to one of the remaining original Alaska Railroad Depots, now a museum and giftshop. Also St. Marks Episcopal Church is visible from the train. The track cuts through the northern forests of Interior Alaska. Birch, aspen and willow fill this landscape where gold miners first came to seek their fortunes at the beginning of the 20th century.
6:04 pm: Nenana (no stop). This is the site where in 1923 President Warren G. Harding drove a golden spike, an event that concluded the construction of the Alaska Railroad.
The Denali Star heads south into a large U-turn just before the famous Mears Memorial Bridge and the Veterans Bridge for car traffic.
Fifty-eight miles (93 km) from Nenana sits Fairbanks, the Golden Heart City, and signals the end of the line. We see the University of Alaska/Fairbanks, the Museum of the North (beautiful building) and the Botanical Garden, the northernmost garden in the Western hemisphere.
At 7:50 pm the train pulls in at the station in FAIRBANKS, ten minutes early.
Weatherwise it’s still a lovely day! I love the names of the places here: Goldstream Creek, Deadhorse, Goldcreek. They ignite the imagination and conjure images of the Last Frontier, railroad towns and fortune seekers.
The slogan of the Alaska Railroad is “The Best Way to See Alaska Is on the Railroad”.
I couldn’t agree more and I thoroughly enjoyed it.