Is this the Polar Express?
Just in time for Christmas, the Surface Transportation Board said Friday it has issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposal by the Alaska Railroad Corp. to build and operate an 80-mile railroad extension from North Pole to Delta Junction, Alaska, located about 15 miles south of Fairbanks.
(Yes, there really is a North Pole, Alaska, located about 15 miles south of Fairbanks and thousands of miles from either the geographic or magnetic north poles.)
The draft EIS analyzes environmental impacts that might occur if the rail line is built, and alternatives, including a “no-action” alternative.
The Alaska Railroad network extends from Seward, Alaska, through Anchorage and Fairbanks, ending at Eielson Air Force Base, and the extension would provide an alternative to Richardson Highway for both passengers and freight service for commercial and military users and would provide dependable year-round ground access to the Tanana Flats and Donnelly training area. The rail line would be less susceptible to inclement winter weather and could increase tourism in the area.
A quick scan found no mention of red-nose reindeers, but the report mentions the Canada lynx, has been documented in the project area and could be affected through a loss of habitat. ' Chris Dupin