Extending the Line: Eielson Air Force Base to Delta Junction (purpose and need)
The Northern Rail Extension project could support the military in establishing Alaska as the U.S. Army’s premier training facility in the United States
Transformation of United States Army infantry units in the Pacific theater may increase the demand for maneuver training space that can accommodate sizeable military exercises. Currently, the U.S. Army has two large training areas in Alaska: the Tanana Flats Training Area, located south of Fairbanks, and the Donnelly Training Area, located west of Delta Junction. These training areas offer over one million acres for maneuver training, but they are currently accessible only by air or by temporary ice bridges across the Tanana and Big Delta Rivers during winter months. The proposed Northern Railway Extension Project could potentially fulfill the U.S. Army’s need for reliable land access to the Tanana Flats and Donnelly training areas, providing essential support for the Army Stryker Brigade’s training and exercise requirements. With the addition of the Northern Railway Extension, all of Alaska’s major military installations could be connected by rail services, helping to enhance real world mobility through the connection to the Strategic Port of Anchorage.
The new rail line could also support mass transit passenger and freight services, and would haul common carrier-type commodities such as fuel oil and construction materials for and commercial shippers.