Alaska Railroad passenger train traffic southbound from Anchorage was interrupted June 17 due to high water damage to the track at Skookum Creek, located between Luebner Lake and Portage.
The 80-foot-long washout prompted cancellation of the Coastal Classic train for two days and also affecting the daily Glacier Discovery train, as well. However, freight train traffic was not impacted.
The high water incident began about 7:30 a.m. when creek waters began eating away at the trackbed and then quickly washed under and over the track, leaving the structure suspended over the water. Alaska Railroad said its maintenance-of-way department responded immediately, sending repair crews, heavy equipment and a work train to the site. A D6 bulldozer, two excavators and a locomotive-transported crane were on site, placing rock and gravel material from nearby sources in Portage. Powered by a GP-40 locomotive, a work train is ferrying loads of rip-rap and other rock material via several hoppers and side-dump railcars.
Crews expect to finish repairs by June 18 and restore train service by June 19.