Railroad seeks federal aid for Susitna flooding damage

PHOTO/Courtesy Alaska Railroad Corp.
The Alaska Railroad Corp. is seeking $430,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cover track damage and lost passenger revenue when the Susitna River flooded last month.

Some 20 rail lengths of track were washed out and damaged May 14 at Mile 239 north of Talkeetna from the flood, canceling scheduled northbound and southbound Denali Star trains for a day, said Patrick Flynn, railroad spokesman.

The federal emergency money would cover materials, labor and money lost from the tourist trains, Flynn said.

It was the first time in at least a decade the railroad had a significant shutdown from a track washout, Flynn said.

"It’s been at least a decade that we have seen one of that magnitude," Flynn said.

The Alaska Railroad also had other unforeseen costs in May when a locomotive leaked about 1,300 gallons of diesel in the Seward rail yard, Flynn said.

The leak was discovered by a railroad crew May 7.

Cost of the cleanup was pegged at $75,000, Flynn said.

06/09/2002 - 8:00pm