Alberta (Canada) to Alaska Proposed New 1600 mile Railway

Iskra

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I couldn't see a thread on this, but thought it was worthwhile starting one due to the ambitious nature of this project. This would be a freight line (although I'm sure in future it could be a stunning passenger line) connecting Alberta (resource rich) in Canada with the currently isolated Alaskan rail network allowing through trains to the rest of the US and beyond.

I think it's an interesting proposal, but at 1600 miles I hope they have deep pockets!
 
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farci

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Thanks for starting this interesting thread!

According to this analysis it's not only about trains to the 'lower 48' but providing new direct corridors to Asia for Canadian exports via Alaska:

"The project is being driven in large part by a need for new export routes for Alberta’s heavy oil production. Studies analyzing the feasibility of a conceptual rail line linking Alaska and Canada have looked at shipping 1 million barrels of oil per day or more through Alaska. However, McCoshen stressed in a brief interview that while oil shipments would be a part of the private rail line’s business it would be a general cargo line that “ships everything under the sun."

"He noted in his presentation that the Canadian government last year passed a law prohibiting additional tanker traffic out of British Columbia ports and said the lack of new shipping routes and port facilities in the country has stymied growth in other Canadian commodity exports.

"Importantly, it would open up export routes for many stranded mineral deposits in northern Canada and interior Alaska, he said, calling the potential mining benefits “the economic icing on the cake” for the project."
https://www.ttnews.com/articles/possibilities-costs-enormous-a2a-rail
 

popeter45

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even if they dont electrify this at first (as its the US and a freight orientated line i doute the will) i hope they design it with the option of adding OHEL later on
would help greatly if this somehow connects to the long proposed Bering strait crossing as the other side is already electrified
 

edwin_m

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even if they dont electrify this at first (as its the US and a freight orientated line i doute the will) i hope they design it with the option of adding OHEL later on
would help greatly if this somehow connects to the long proposed Bering strait crossing as the other side is already electrified
If that ever happens there will need to be a break of track gauge, so lack of electrification on the American side would be a relatively minor impediment to through running.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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The much shorter Jasper-Prince Rupert line through BC already exists, reaching the Pacific close to the Alaska panhandle.
The container port has geographical advantages over other west coast ports for Asia-Alberta-Great Lakes traffic, and the railway was due a significant upgrade.

The risks associated with an A2A business plan based on Trump-era Asia-Canada-US trade must be large.
The weather will be a challenge too, for construction and operation.
 

STEVIEBOY1

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The much shorter Jasper-Prince Rupert line through BC already exists, reaching the Pacific close to the Alaska panhandle.
The container port has geographical advantages over other west coast ports for Asia-Alberta-Great Lakes traffic, and the railway was due a significant upgrade.

The risks associated with an A2A business plan based on Trump-era Asia-Canada-US trade must be large.
The weather will be a challenge too, for construction and operation.
I did Jasper-Prince Rupert a few years ago, there was an overnight stop enroute, I think at Prince George, it was on the Skeena train, sitting up in the dome carriage was great. It would be good if they either extended this line northwards, or built the proposed line mention here. Interesting to read about the possibility of a rail connection across the Bering Straight too. Is it broad gauge in Russia and Standard 4'.8" in Canada, US and Alaska?
 

farci

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The much shorter Jasper-Prince Rupert line through BC already exists, reaching the Pacific close to the Alaska panhandle.
The container port has geographical advantages over other west coast ports for Asia-Alberta-Great Lakes traffic, and the railway was due a significant upgrade.
True, but the Canada Govt has prohibited additional tanker traffic from BC hence the business case for Alaska for Alberta exports
 

Dunfanaghy Rd

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Map attached.

The proposal has been knocking around for some time.

Somewhere there is a calculation of the number of trains required to shift the volume of oil being talked about. A pipeline would be a more likely option.
Aren't there problems associated with running pipelines through / across mountains? The pressures needed to push liquid up hill must be huge.
Pat
 

edwin_m

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Aren't there problems associated with running pipelines through / across mountains? The pressures needed to push liquid up hill must be huge.
Pat
I guess you just bore a tunnel and put the pipe through that. Probably no harder than building a railway through the same terrain.
 

AlbertBeale

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Thanks for starting this interesting thread!

According to this analysis it's not only about trains to the 'lower 48' but providing new direct corridors to Asia for Canadian exports via Alaska:

"The project is being driven in large part by a need for new export routes for Alberta’s heavy oil production. Studies analyzing the feasibility of a conceptual rail line linking Alaska and Canada have looked at shipping 1 million barrels of oil per day or more through Alaska. However, McCoshen stressed in a brief interview that while oil shipments would be a part of the private rail line’s business it would be a general cargo line that “ships everything under the sun."

"He noted in his presentation that the Canadian government last year passed a law prohibiting additional tanker traffic out of British Columbia ports and said the lack of new shipping routes and port facilities in the country has stymied growth in other Canadian commodity exports.

"Importantly, it would open up export routes for many stranded mineral deposits in northern Canada and interior Alaska, he said, calling the potential mining benefits “the economic icing on the cake” for the project."
https://www.ttnews.com/articles/possibilities-costs-enormous-a2a-rail

Amusing to see their prospectus talking of a "low-carbon supply chain", on the basis that rail transport can be lower-carbon than road freight, but then discovering a major purpose of it is to move Alberta's heavy oil production. The only low-carbon approach here is to leave Alberta's oil in the ground.
 

SussexLad

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Would be an amazing train trip. Not so sure America would do long distance rail any justice with this project, although the UK couldn't do any better!

I do wonder about the rising conflicts between the USA, Russia and China. Given that exports would have to go through or near Russia?

Personally I cant see this happening for at least 50 years.
 

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