A railway linking Alaska to the Lower 48 U.S. was discussed prior to the completion of the Alaska Railroad in 1923 and a renewed interest in resource deposits in Alaska, Yukon and northern B.C., as well as changing world markets and supply chains, rekindled that discussion.
On July 1, 2005, the governments of Alaska and Yukon launched an initiative to determine the feasibility of a rail link connecting Alaska and Yukon with the North American railroad system.
Phase 1, jointly chaired by Yukon and Alaska, was governed by an international Advisory Committee comprised of government and industry leaders and this committee oversaw a multi-lateral Management Working Group that assisted in the coordination of the Study.
ACRL Project Manager Kells Boland - a Calgary-based consultant with PROLOG Canada Inc. - oversaw both the Alaska and Yukon sides of the initiative.
The Alaska Canada Rail Link (ACRL) Phase 1 Feasibility Study considers a rail connection through Alaska, Yukon and Northern B.C. linking North Pacific Rim markets in the shortest trade corridor between North Asia and North America via a U.S. port.
Mutually dependent economics of large-scale northern resource and railway development are compelling.
Drastic changes in global demand - driven by Asian markets - have sharply raised the value of mineral resources in north western Canada and Alaska and rail infrastructure investment would dramatically increase economic productivity, development and sustainability in this region.
A new North Pacific Rim Trade Corridor may be well positioned to complement bulk mineral resource traffic for export to Asia with container import traffic from Asia.
A rail connection through Canada would improve the economic security of Alaska and the lower 48 United States by providing both essential supply route redundancy, as well as West Coast container congestion relief with a new Alaska sea/rail port gateway on U.S. soil.