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Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, both owned by parent company Carnival Cruises, operate the largest fleet of dome railcars in Alaska, including the McKinley Explorer.
Riding the DOME railroad was fun!A  We got a great view of the Alaskan countryside from the car and also the outside observation deck -- which was a real plus.
The first private dome rail cars on the Alaska Railroad were first introduced in 1984 by a company called Tour Alaska, which was later purchased by Princess Cruises.
Bachmann HO 00694 McKinely Explorer train set includes an Alaska EMD GP40 diesel locomotive, and three Holland America 89' Colorado Railcar full dome passenger cars #the Knik, Kenai, and Kobuk, which is named after the Alaskan rivers. Due to USPS size restrictions, we are not able to ship this set via USPS Priority Mail International. At 18 feet 2 inches tall and 89 feet long, these cars manufactured by the Colorado Railcar Company are the largest dome cars ever built. Even in the dining room on the lower level, the windows were still large enough to easily enjoy the views, while also enjoying a delicious lunch. As comfortable as the train was, I ended up spending probably 98% of the journey standing on the outdoor platform at the back of the train. The most memorable part of our ride on the Alaska Railroad was the clear views we had of Denali (Mt.
I had so much fun taking pictures from the back of the train during our ride on the McKinley Explorer. Most passengers that travel on the McKinley Explorer are part of a cruise line tour, as Holland America and Princess Cruises operate the railcars. Seating is upstairs and the large, glass-dome windows run the full length of the car, so every seat is great for sightseeing. Get exclusive updates, content, travel tips and deals we only send to our newsletter subscribers.


The Belvedere was built in Vienna in the early 18th century as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. As you might expect, most passengers that travel on these railcars are part of cruise line group toursa€¦ but when excess space is available, reservations are offered to independent Alaska travelers as well.
Although service is offered to Anchorage, Talkeetna and Denali Parka€¦ it is a separate train from the Alaska Railroad’s Denali Star, and operates on a different schedule. Each passenger has a reserved seat and the large curved glass dome windows run the full length of the car, offering superb 360 degree views. Similar to the GoldStar dome and Wilderness Express, guests rotate through the dining room since it cannot accommodate all passengers at the same time.A  Enjoy breakfast items like Fairbanks flapjacks from $8 to $14, lunch items including their award winning reindeer chili from $10 to $14, or dinner entrees such as steaks and Alaska wild salmon from $15 to $28.
As mentioned above this is a separate train which is utilized just by dome rail cars owned by Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. We’ve made many train trips over the years, but our journey on the Alaska Railroad was the most scenic train trip we’ve been on so far. We chose an itinerary that had a land tour following the cruise, so that we could see as much of Alaska as possible.
Seating was on the upper deck and the large, glass-domed rail cars allowed for sweeping views of the passing scenery.
It was such a warm, sunny day, with a beautiful blue sky, that I couldn’t justify being inside all day.
So much of photography is about good timing, and this is especially true when photographing from a moving train. I felt pretty special getting to experience these landscapes since many areas we passed through aren’t accessible by road.
Although they run almost the same route (Denali Star goes all the way to Fairbanks), they are different trains and operate on a different schedule.


There are a total of 10 McKinley Explorer train cars that were first placed in service between 2004 and 2006. Depending on your travel plans, you may find the McKinley Explorer’s later departure time from Anchorage or earlier arrival time into Anchorage a convenient option. After two nights near Denali National Park, we boarded a train for the incredibly scenic journey back to Anchorage. I found it exciting to anticipate just the right moment to press the shutter, capturing the beautiful landscape before me. We were extremely lucky because apparently only 30% of visitors are lucky enough to see the entire mountain free from cloud cover!
Your railcar attendant will ask you to select a time to dine, since the restaurant can only accommodate a small amount of passengers at a time.
Check here for the McKinley Explorer schedule and rates, and keep in mind that the McKinley Explorer does not offer service north of Denali Park to Fairbanks. The spectacular scenery, coupled with the beautiful weather, made this Alaska Railroad experience something I will remember forever.
The food served is freshly prepared on board and many dishes include local Alaskan ingredients.



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