By Railfan & Railroad Staff
EDMONTON, Alberta — A private corporation is saying it is starting survey work in Alberta to build a rail line that will eventually connect the Alaska Railroad with the North American rail network. The Alaska – Alberta Railway Corporation has estimated the railroad will cost $13 billion to construct.
Last year, the corporation, also known as A2A Rail, signed a deal with the Alaska Railroad for the “exclusive right” to operate in Alaska and connect with the railroad. The Alaska Railroad will not be funding the effort. Now A2A has said that it has hired the HDR engineering firm to begin to find the best route north from Alberta. The firm said that it hopes to start doing preliminary construction — such as land clearing, fencing and access road preparation — before the end of the year.
The company has said it will move oil, grain and container traffic on the 1,600-mile railroad and that it will have a strategic advantage because Alaska’s ports are four days closer to Asia than most North American ports. “A2A Rail continues to gather momentum. The start of surveying activities means that we are now officially ‘boots on the ground’ here in Alberta,” said A2A Rail Founder and Chairman Sean McCoshen. “Combining that with our progress on completing our feasibility study, it is safe to say that A2A Rail has advanced well beyond the early idea first investigated by the Van Horne Institute, into a mature infrastructure project only months away from breaking ground.”
Companies have dreamed of building a rail line to Alaska for more than a century but no effort has ever succeeded.