Crew Unhurt After Avalanche Derails Alaska Railroad Train

Three locomotives on northbound freight derailed after hitting an avalanche near Girdwood, Alaska on Tuesday. Photo Courtesy of Girdwood Fire and Rescue.

Crew Unhurt After Avalanche Derails Alaska Railroad Train

By Railfan & Railroad Staff

GIRDWOOD, Alaska — Two railroaders escaped injury after their freight train slammed into an avalanche that had fallen across the Alaska Railroad main line south of Anchorage on Tuesday.

According to Girdwood Fire and Rescue, the derailment was reported at 2 a.m. on Tuesday. When first responders arrived on the scene they found three locomotives derailed and partially buried by the slide. The avalanche came down on the stretch of railroad that runs along Turnagain Arm and the Seward Highway. After assessing the slide to ensure that more snow wasn’t going to come down, rescuers were able to walk to the locomotives where they found that the crew had been able to extricate themselves from the cab. The first responders guided the crew back to safety. 

Avalanches are not uncommon on the Alaska Railroad and it maintains a robust avalanche mitigation program. In 2000, an Alaska Railroad employee was killed when clearing a slide with a dozer, according to the Anchorage Daily News

As of late Tuesday, the railroad was still blocked. 

This article was posted on: January 17, 2023