Tanana Valley Railroad

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Tanana Valley Railroad
TVRR train at Chatanika, Alaska, 1916.jpg
Train of the Tanana Valley Railroad at the station in Chatanika, Alaska, 1916.
Locale Fairbanks to Chatanika
Dates of operation 1904/1905–1917
AEC purchased TVRR assets and operated the Chatanika Branch line until decommissioning it in 1930
Predecessor Tanana Mines Railway
Successor Alaskan Engineering Commission Railroad, a.k.a. Alaska Railroad
Track gauge 3 ft (914 mm)
Length 45 miles (72 km) [1]
Headquarters Fairbanks
Tanana Valley Railroad is located in Alaska
Location of Tanana Valley Railroad

The Tanana Valley Railroad (TVRR) was a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railroad that operated in the Tanana Valley of Alaska from 1905 to about 1917. A portion of the railroad later became part of the Alaska Railroad.


The TVRR was incorporated as the Tanana Mines Railway in 1904, construction on the first section started and completed in 1905. The main speaker at the gala golden spike ceremony was Judge Wickersham and Mrs. Isabelle Barnett accepted the golden spike.[2]:217 The builder was Falcon Joslin who was called the "Harriman of the North".[2]:260 It was renamed the Tanana Valley Railroad in 1907. The company declared bankruptcy and was liquidated c. 1917. The U.S. government purchased the railroad in June 1917,[1] and the section between Fairbanks and Happy was converted to dual gauge by the Alaskan Engineering Commission Railroad, in order to complete a 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge railroad line from Seward to Fairbanks. This line became the Alaska Railroad in 1923. The Alaska RR continued to operate the former TVRR narrow-gauge line as the Chatanika Branch, until decommissioning it in 1930.


In 1922, the railroad's Engine No. 1, the first steam locomotive in Fairbanks and the Yukon, was retired. Its restoration was begun in 1997 and completed in 2000. As of 2011 it is still being steamed up several times a year. A small museum for the engine was built in 2005 in Pioneer Park.


  1. ^ a b Alaska Railroad Corporation. "Alaska Railroad History". Retrieved 2011-11-24. 
  2. ^ a b Borneman, Walter R. (2003). Alaska : saga of a bold land (1st ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-050306-8. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Tanana Valley Railroad at Wikimedia Commons

Locomotive 1 in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, 2011
Falcon Joslin 
Replica locomotive in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, 2011
A train of the Tanana Valley Railroad crossing a trestle bridge over Fox Gulch in 1916. 
TVRR crossing a trestle bridge over Fox Gulch in 1916
Tanana Valley Steam Locomotive No. 1 in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, 2011 
Replica of Tanana Valley Steam Locomotive, running trains in Pioneer Park, Fairbanks, 2011