Railroad Alaska follows the people who battle to keep Alaska’s only rail line running during winter. The single-track railroad is a lifeline for the state – an artery shuttling supplies all along its 500-mile route. For the hard-core rail crews tasked with keeping trains rolling it’s a never-ending battle against Mother Nature. Severe snowstorms, ice and bone chilling temperatures take their toll on the track and the machinery used to keep it clear. This is a job where failure could mean more than just undelivered freight – it’s a matter of life and death. Track maintenance teams and train crews face bullet-damaged rails caused by rogue gunmen, they tackle derailed equipment and attempt to haul the largest loads ever attempted on the railroad.
The railroad snakes alongside Denali National Park through hostile wilderness and is a lifeline for hardy homesteaders that call the unforgiving landscape home. The Alaska Railroad operates one of the worlds last flag stop services, providing off-grid cabin dwellers with their only link to the outside world. The tracks allow gasoline for generators and snow machines to be transported deep into the remote countryside. It delivers the crucial equipment needed to endure brutal winters and it’s a service that proves lifesaving in emergency situations. Without the railroad many homesteaders could not survive.
Railroad Alaska shows the survival decisions that must be made by railroaders and homesteaders alike during the merciless winter. It shows the fight for survival off grid and the dangers facing track and train crews as they go about their work in one of the most beautiful but brutal wildernesses on earth.