Alaska Railroad's new diesel multiple unit (DMU) commuter-style self-propelled railcar is one of about a dozen such railcars in the country with 90 seats upstairs and 20 seats downstairs and also features a full service galley to support onboard food service.
killer whale fin
Seward Sea Kayaking tours Alaska tour packagesWeb Special Alaska toursNational Geographic Adventure TravelAlaska Certified travel expert ATIA Seward Sea Kayaking tours
Alaska Cruises Alaska Railroad Passenger Service
Diesel Multiple Unit Self-propelled Railcar (DMU)
Train Passenger ServiceAlaska Train Day ToursAlaska Train Vacations

The Forest Service-funded DMU arrives in spring 2009.

Chugach Explorer upstairs seating features large windows.

Chugach Explorer has a full galley for onboard food service.

Commuter rail DMUs may be configured differently.

The Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) received a new commuter-style self-propelled railcar in April 2009. Colorado Railcar Manufacturing (CRM) began construction in late 2007. Named Chugach Explorer, the diesel multiple unit (DMU) was constructed as part of the Chugach Forest Whistle Stop Service, a joint project between the ARRC and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

The bi-level DMU is one of about a dozen such railcars in the country that meet stringent federal crash worthiness design standards required of passenger cars that operate on tracks shared with freight trains. The DMU measures 89 feet long, 19 feet 9.75 inches tall, and weighs 225,000 pounds. Capacity is 90 seats upstairs and 20 seats downstairs. Two additional non-revenue seats are Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant. Exits on either side of the car are equipped with a wheelchair lift. The car features a full service galley to support onboard food service. Two 600 horse-power engines enable the DMU to pull two additional rail coaches. The DMU has been clocked as fast as 110 mph, but will operate at maximum speeds of 60 mph on the Alaska Railroad.

Commuter rail service in Southcentral Alaska would require a minimum of four DMUs. The likely manufacturer is US Railcar, Inc., which aquired CRM.

Project Cost and Funding
The Chugach Explorer was funded primarily by a $4.7 million USFS grant administered through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in 2007. An additional $648,000 was funded by FTA and ARRC. The total cost was $5.35 million. The next national surface transportation authorization is expected to emphasize transit, trains and trails. ARRC continues to seek programs to fund the purchase of additional DMUs.

Alaska Travel hotline

Backcountry Safaris
P.O. Box 1397 Seward, Alaska USA 99664
1-907-205-5900 • Fax 1-907-205-5902
Alaska Cruise Expert

Backcountry Safaris is a member of the following trade and travel organizations:
Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureeu
Alaska travel package
Tour Type: Scenic, Alaska Railroad Passenger Service, Whistle Stop
Difficulty: Easy, Wheelchair Access
Comfort: Adventure Class Good
Prior Experience: None
Rail Passenger Service Trains
Optional Tours And Upgrades
Railroad Related Links
Suggested Alaska Reading List
Kenai Fjords Historic Resource Study (online book) by Linda Cook and Frank Norris
Exploring Alaska's Kenai Fjords by David Miller
Kenai Fjords Park - Trails Illustrated Map
Alaska: A Novel by James A. Michener
Alaska: A History of the 49th State by Claus-M Naske and Herman E. Slotnick
Guide to the Birds of Alaska by Robert H. Armstrong
Wild Flowers of the Yukon, Alaska by John G. S. Trelawny
Coming into the Country by John McPhee
Travels in Alaska by John Muir
Weather And Forecast
Current Denali, AK Temperature
Click for Denali National Park, Alaska Forecast

Denali Mc McKinleyDid You Know?
Did you know that Denali or Mt. McKinley, located within Denali National Park and Preserve, is the highest mountain on the North American continent? Measured from the 2,000 foot lowlands to its snowy summit at 20,320 feet, the mountain’s vertical relief of 18,000 feet is greater than that of Mount Everest.
Copyright 2011 Backcountry Safaris, All Rights Reserved