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Mon August 19 2019

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Plan agreed for $13bn Alaska-Canada rail route

2 Jul Two companies have agreed to work together to build a connection between the Alaskan and Canadian rail networks at an estimated cost of US$13bn (£10.3bn).

Alaska Railroad (ARRC) and Alaska to Alberta Railway (A2A) will cooperate on the plan
Alaska Railroad (ARRC) and Alaska to Alberta Railway (A2A) will cooperate on the plan

Alaska Railroad (ARRC) and Alaska to Alberta Railway (A2A) will cooperate in applying to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources for a right-of-way guaranteed under state law for the rail connection to Canada. In addition, the two firms will develop a joint operating plan that will specify the new track needed to connect the two railways and the upgrades needed to ARRC’s 512-mile mainline, which runs from Seward to North Pole, Alaska.

The entire project is expected to cost approximately US$13bn (CA$17bn).

Full construction would begin only after receipt of a series of reviews and approvals, including by the USA’s Surface Transportation Board (STB) and the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). First Nations, Indigenous groups and Alaska Native entities, whose traditional lands are crossed by the route, are being consulted during this process.

A full project description for the rail link in the US and Canada is expected to be completed this year.

“We are pleased to reach this milestone with the Alaska Railroad,” said Sean McCoshen, CEO and cofounder of A2A Rail. “It will help assure global investors that obtaining a right-of-way in Alaska is achievable, and sets up major cooperation in permitting, operations and marketing with the Alaska  Railroad. We expect this project to generate significant economic activity in Alaska and Canada.”

ARRC president and CEO Bill O’Leary added: “A rail connection between Alaska and Canada and the rest of the United States is a project that has been talked and dreamed about for close to a century. Completing that connection has amazing potential for Alaska and this agreement between the Alaska  Railroad and A2A Rail is an important first step to get the project under way.”  

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