Bridging the Gap - Denali Train Depot - Denali National Park
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Lat34North
N 63° 43.820 W 148° 54.806
6V E 405519 N 7068379
Quick Description: This is one of several markers located on the platform at the Denali Train Depot. There is a set of the markers on the north and the south side of the depot. You do not need a ticket to view these markers.
Location: Alaska, United States
Date Posted: 9/17/2013 12:51:46 PM
Waymark Code: WMJ3GR
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Waywizard
Views: 0

Long Description:
View from Hurricane Gulch bridge

Bridging the Gap

When you ride the rails, you hurdle yawning canyons and
wide rivers that challenged the engineering know-how of the day

The Hurricane Gulch bridge, one of the marvels of the line, crosses a gorge more than 900 feet across and 300 feet deep. Crews and cranes worked from both sides of the gorge to erect this great steel arch in the summer of 1921. The workers became aerialist, suspended hundreds of feet above the creek on the unconnected spans, until work finally and flawlessly met in the middle. Just sixty working days into construction, the bridge received its first train and the track-laying crews pushed north.

Throwing a bridge over Riley Creek at the park’s entrance was no less of a feat. Here was another chasm - more than 500 feet wide - and the schedule demanded it be bridged in winter. In late December 1921, workers began to erect the steel viaduct that would carry trains a thrilling 100 feet above the creek bed. Work stopped only for high winds, extreme cold, and Sundays. In two months, the gap was closed. Freight and passengers could now ride the rails from coastal Seward to the Tanner River - one of interior Alaska’s great aquatic highways.

The Final Link
Of all the bridges on the railroad, the Tanana River crossing was the largest, the costliest, greatest technical challenge, and the last to be completed. Most of the construction took place after frees-up, with the bridge supported by timber pilings driven through the ice into the river bottom. Through service was possible even while the bridge was being built, but this meant you crossed the river on temporary track laid on the winter ice. With the completion of the bridge - and therefore, the railroad - travel time from Seward to Fairbanks dropped from three and a half days to twenty-two hours.
More Information:
NPS - Denali National Park
NPS - Denali National Park Information Guide
Wikipedia - Alaska Railroad
Wikipedia - Alaska Range
Wikipedia - Tanana River
Marker Name: Bridging the Gap

Marker Type: City

Addtional Information:
From Wikipedia: Alaska Railroad "The railroad is a major tourist attraction in the summer. Coach cars feature wide windows and domes for tourism peaks. Private cars owned by the major cruise companies are towed behind the Alaska Railroad's own cars, and trips are included with various cruise packages." Source:

Date Dedicated / Placed: Not listed

Marker Number: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Preferred would be to post a photo of you OR your GPS at the marker location. Also if you know of any additional links not already mentioned about this bit of Alaska history please include that in your log.
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Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
Lat34North visited Bridging the Gap - Denali Train Depot - Denali National Park 9/4/2013 Lat34North visited it