Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic Review & Guide

Are you looking for an Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic review that has all the information that you need?

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In this review, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about this railroad, schedules, ticketing information, routes, and more.

Additionally, we’ll give you an inside scoop on the scenery and journey we had.

The Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic train travels for a total of 114 miles from Anchorage to Seward. Its average journey time is 4 hours and 15 minutes one way to Seward. Additionally, its average traveling speed is 26.8 mph.

coastal classic train alaska

There are many trips to the Alaskan Railroads to choose from, but the Coastal Classic is considered one of the most scenic rides in North America.

On my trip last Spring t, I got to see amazing glaciers, black bears, foxes, lakes, rivers, and beautiful mountains.

Join me as I break down everything I did when I traveled to the Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic. Let’s get started!

Ticketing Information

The Alaska Railroad has many trains to offer including the Coastal Classic and you’ll see this on their website. Take note, that I found booking a ticket is a bit more complicated compared to other railroad websites.

Since I spent an overnight stay in Seward, I booked a getaway package ticket from Anchorage to Seward last August in their GoldStar service.

After entering the train details, you will also have some personal questions. Keep in mind that the details you need to put should match the government-issued photo ID you’ll provide.

They also have an option for passengers who require special assistance. Once you update your cart, you’ll see a summary of the time and date of departure and the total cost of the trip.

If you’re traveling from Anchorage to Seward like me, you’ll be happy to know that they have onboard baggage services for this trip.

This comes in handy, especially for families or friends that are planning to stay overnight in Seward.

Schedules and Fares

The Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic only operates between May and September. Although the train leaves every day during these months, the prices differ depending on the month of your travel.


Anchorage-Girdwood6:45 AM8:00 AM
Girdwood*-Seward8:05 AM11:15 AM
Seward-Girdwood6:00 PM8:50 PM
Girdwood*-Anchorage8:55 PM10:15 PM
Anchorage → Girdwood → Seward

Take note that when the train is leaving from Girdwood, the train will immediately leave once all reserved passengers are on board.

Additionally, the train only spends less than 5 minutes at this stop so make sure that you don’t wander off too far.


As mentioned earlier, the ticket prices may vary depending on the month of your trip. During May and September, the tickets are more affordable. Whereas in the months of June to August, the tickets are more expensive.

Additionally, the cost of the ticket doubles if you’re switching from the regular Adventure Cass to the premium GoldStar Service.

As of this writing, here are the prices going from Anchorage to Seward.

Alaska hills and water

Regular Season Pricing (June – August)

Anchorage to Seward

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $116/$58
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $231/$136 (with breakfast)

Anchorage to Seward (Round-Trip)

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $197/$99
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $393/$231 (with breakfast and dinner)

Seward to Anchorage

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $116/$58
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $231/$136 (with dinner)

Seward to Anchorage (Round-Trip)

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $197/$90
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $393/$231 (with breakfast and dinner)

Value Season Pricing (May & September)

Anchorage to Seward

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $102/$52
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $204/$121 (with breakfast)

Anchorage to Seward (Round-Trip)

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $173/$87
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $347/$206 (with breakfast and dinner)

Seward to Anchorage

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $102/$51
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $204/$121 (with dinner)

Seward to Anchorage (Round-Trip)

  • Adventure Class Adult/Child (2-11) – $173/$87
  • GoldStar Service Adult/Child (2-11) – $347/$206 (with breakfast and dinner)

Seward Getaway Package

The Alaska Railroad also offers multiple packages for their train trips. From spending 2 days and 1 night in a certain location, to spending more than a week, you’ll be excited to explore their services.

If you want to check out more packages, visit here.

The Seward Getaway package includes a 2-day and 1-night stay from Anchorage to Seward and back.

  • Adventure Class- $975
  • GoldStar Service – $1,015

To book this package, call 800-544-0552.

Alaska train journey

Car Classes

You may be surprised by how much the prices differ between the Adventure Class and the GoldStar Service.

As someone who purchased the GoldStar Service, I can say that the price is worth every minute of the service.

Additionally, the views are more spectacular when you watch it from the glass-dome ceilings. Lastly, with my camera in shutter mode, I was able to take all the pictures that I wanted from the blue skies, glaciers, rivers, and wildlife.

Also, they have non-smoking cars available for anyone who wants to avoid smoke from cigarettes. Lastly, both the car classes have wheelchair access for anyone who needs it.

Just make sure that you select the right category while you’re booking a ticket online.

Here’s a quick description of both car classes that are offered on the Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic train.

Adventure Class

The Adventure Class Has large windows and comfortable seating. Passengers who are in this car class can freely explore other Adventure Class cars.

Additionally, you can opt to purchase snacks, meals, and beverages in the dining car.

GoldStar Service

The GoldStar Service is the premium car class of the Coastal Classic train. This car has glass-dome ceilings that provide panoramic views for all passengers.

All seats are forward-facing so that you don’t get a hard time glancing around.

Additionally, there’s an upper-level and outdoor viewing platform where you can take in the fresh air and get amazing views for your pictures.

Lastly, you’ll find the dining room on the lower level of the car.

All GoldStar tickets include meals, soft beverages, and two alcoholic beverages per trip for passengers who are over 21.

Lastly, there’s an assigned Alaskan tour guide that tells historical information about the areas you’re passing through.

Alaska mountains near the train

The Experience

I’ve planned on going on the different Alaska Railroad for a long time. Thankfully, I was able to do the Coastal Classic in Spring when I got the chance.

Since Alaska was far from my home, I had to book a lodging house for a couple of nights for me to fully experience Alaska. It was amazing

Palmer is a small town in Alaska and I stayed in Alaska Backcountry Cottages which is 50 minutes away from Anchorage Depot.

Every , Palmer is home to the Alaska State Fair where you can see extra large vegetables.

Additionally, this is one of the best times to explore the small city of Palmer because of the long sunlight hours in the far north.

Alaska railroad holiday photos

Boarding the Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic

On the day of the trip, I woke up early for the 50-minute drive since the train leaves every 6:45 a.m sharp.

While traveling to the Anchorage Depot, you could already see the train tracks which stir up the excitement.

To top it off, he sun was slowly rising when I arrived at the station.

Since I was a little bit early, I enjoyed a drink from the nearby cafe while taking in the already beautiful scenery around me. Around 6:30 a.m., more and more passengers were already lining up to board the train.

I found myself a seat at the GoldStar Service car on the upper-level platform.

Before the train started moving, the railroad attendant did his regular morning ritual. He informs everyone on how to properly move about the train.

Of course, like any moving train, you have to hold onto almost anything you can while walking.

Without sounding the whistle, the train began moving and the 4-hour and 15-minutes journey started.

Soon, we were away from the town’s view.

Watching Awe-Inspiring Views

On the first curve of the track, you’ll immediately see snow peeking from the distance. We arrived at Turnagain Arm and it was exciting to see that the tracks are almost beside the waterway. The pristine waters and amazing landscape are a view you definitely won’t get sick of looking at.

While climbing the Chugach Mountain Range and before entering the Chugach National Forest, we were able to see natural wildlife like beluga whales, moose, bears, and even almost a hundred bald eagles.

Chugach Mountains in Alaska

A couple of hours after our departure, we made a quick stop in Girdwood where the railway separates.

The train then starts to enter the wilderness of Chugach National Forest and soon the Kenai Mountains.

While I was in the glass-dome ceiling in the GoldStar Service, the dramatic landscape was awe-inspiring to see with snowy mountains as far as I could see.

While watching, I ate the complimentary breakfast included in my ticket. I had a scrambled egg, sausage, and juice.

I was looking at wildflowers, glacial backdrops, alpine meadows, and undisturbed natural wildlife while passing through railroad houses and tunnels. After a couple of hours, we arrived in Seward.

Seward Alaska

Port City of Seward

Resting on the shores of Resurrection Bay, Seward is the last stop of the train. If you’re day-traveling, you have plenty of time to spend exploring the city.

There are day cruises, hiking, kayaking, fishing, and more activities to do in the Alaska Sealife Center.

I boarded a day cruise going to the famous Kenai Fjords National Park for the 5-hour train ride of the Resurrection Bay Tour.

On the tour, I saw abundant marine wildlife, jagged cliffs, alpine glaciers, and more.

The tour departs every 12 p.m. and operates from late May until early September. This also includes lunch on a secluded island. As lucky as I was, I got to experience their seasonal Alaska fish. We were also able to do whale watching and saw many sei whales, gray whales, fin whales, and minke.

Alakan sea otter

Lodging in Seward

Since I booked an overnight stay in Seward, I stayed at the Seward Windsong Lodge. Located on the edge of Chugach National Forest alongside the Resurrection River, this lodging house is a good treat if you want to see Alaska’s natural beauty.

Additionally, the area is a couple of minutes away from Kenai Fjords National Park.

I got myself a standard room which is, honestly, too big for one person. It has two queen beds, a mini fridge, and flat-screen television.

Additionally, they offer three delicious dining experiences. They have a signature gourmet restaurant that offers Alaska seafood that’s open every day for breakfast and dinner.

Once I arrived from the Resurrection Bay Tour, I immediately went to the Seward Windsong Lodge. Although it was an amazing experience to watch everything from the train and tour, it was good to rest in an area where it’s peaceful and secluded.

After a few hours, I went to the dining area to eat dinner. I got myself some beef skewers for my appetizers. For a main, I chose the 14 oz. grilled ribeye that’s served with grilled seasonal vegetables and crispy fingerling potatoes.

All their food is spectacular so I got myself a chocolate cake for dessert, I mean, I just had to!

After eating, I went to my room and stayed there for the night, and slept like a baby.

boats in Seward Alaska

Second Day in Seward

On my second day at Seward, I joined the Wilderness Dog Sled Ride and Tour for a 1 hour and 30 minutes journey.

The trip starts with a 2-mile dog sled ride that goes to the Seward Alaska wilderness going to the base of Resurrection Mountain and follows Box Canyon Creek.

After the trip, we returned to the kennel and toured around the facility. I was able to cuddle and play with husky puppies. I stopped at The Smoke Shack to get some of their famous burritos and continued my way to the Exit Glacier to tour the city of Seward.

Around 4 p.m., I prepared my belongings and went to the Seward Depot. I arrived 30 minutes before the train was scheduled to depart, which is around 6:00 p.m.

I took the last photos that I could get around the area and soon left.

Because Alaska is so far North, traveling back to Anchorage looks the same because of the bright blue skies.

Additionally, Anchorage is known as a well-lit city so worrying about “arriving at night” shouldn’t be the first thing in your mind.

While going back, I noticed more beautiful scenery that I hadn’t seen the day before. There was more wildlife roaming around and watching them do their daily business was surreal.

My GoldStar Service ticket also included dinner and I got myself a pot roast. They also serve alcoholic beverages for passengers who are over 21 and I also got myself a drink.

As scheduled, we arrived at Girdwood for a quick stop at 8:50 p.m. After a couple of minutes, the train departed again going to Anchorage. At 10:20 p.m. I arrived at the station and made my way to the hotel I was staying at.

anchorage Alaska skyline

Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic Review – Conclusion

If you’re looking for a complete adventure outside of your normal tours and railroads in America, then you should definitely try the Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic train.

With all the amazing scenery that you can see, the new people to meet, and new areas to explore, you’ll never get bored in Alaska.

Additionally, staying for a night in Seward is well worth every penny. Joining additional tours and exploring the city is a great way to see more of Alaska’s wonderful wilderness too!

Happy Travelling!