Skip to Main Content

Railroads in Alaska primary sources

This guide lists collections of publicly accessible primary source material related to railroads in Alaska.

Railroads in Alaska

This guide contains collections of primary source material relating to railroads in Alaska, held by archives, libraries, and museums across the state. The guide is divided into pages for different railroads, including the Alaska Railroad, the Copper River and Northwestern Railway, and the White Pass and Yukon Railroad. This guide is not comprehensive and may not include every collection containing primary source material relating to railroads in Alaska.

Click on the linked collection names for more detailed collection descriptions. Not every collection has a detailed description online, and it may be necessary to contact the institution that owns a collection for more information.

Selected items related to railroads in Alaska from many of the institutions represented in this guide have been digitized and added to Alaska's Digital Archives. You can use the search box at the top right of the homepage to search for these materials.

If you represent an institution that holds primary source materials related to railroads in Alaska and would like to see them included in this guide, please contact the UAA/APU Consortium Library Archives and Special Collections.  

White Pass and Yukon Railroad collections

Alaska State Archives

  • General Manager Subject Files, 1924-1959 - Mannix-Stolte -- White Pass and Yukon Route; Includes a history of the railroad. 1924-1959.1867-0033.
  • Subject files, 1984-1986 - Alaska Railroad. 1984-1986. 630-0002. Miscellaneous railroad. Staggers Act. History of Alaska Railroad Transfer. White Pass and Yukon Corporation. Whittier Shuttle. Railroad Crossing Corridor Improvements Demonstration Project. Fairbanks Railrod Industrial Area Relocation. Railroad Profit Strategy. Alaska Railroad Seward Coal Project. Statewide Rail Plan.

Alaska State Library Historical Collections

University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives Alaska Film Archives

  • Alaska by boat and train. 1939. AAF-235. Narrated film about traveling the "Great Circle Route" of travel through Alaska and Canada. Images include Skagway, and White Pass and Yukon Railroad trip to Lake Bennett and Whitehorse.
  • Alaska review 24. 1979. AAF-4969, 0006-24 3/4”. Reporters Mark Weller and Judithann Roberts review the development of Alaska's railroads. Reporter Mark O. Badger examines the role of railroads in Alaska's economy, and future prospects for the Alaska Railroad. Reporter Eric Eckholm explores hardships facing the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. Those interviewed include: Mike Kopcha, Alaska Railroad engineer; Bill Dorcy, Alaska Railroad general manager; Daniel Alex, president of Eklutna, Inc.; Red Swanson, Juneau lobbyist; Athol Rytallack of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad in Whitehorse; an unidentified railroad worker in Skagway; and Everett Hamme, job steward for the Teamsters union at Skagway. Program contains views of historical photographs of Alaska railroads, Alaska Railroad cars and engines, railworkers and train conductors, Whitehorse, and White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad winter operations.

University of Alaska Fairbanks Alaska and Polar Regions Collections and Archives Historical Manuscript Collections

For more detailed collection descriptions, please visit StarArchives, the catalog for archival collections at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and search for the collections using the search box on the main page.

  • H.C. Barley Photographs, 1898-1900. USUAFV4-293. Images include scenery, goldrush-era ships, and the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad both while under construction and in operation. Barley was the official photographer for the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad.
  • Copper River Railroad and Southeast Alaska Album, 1909-1915. The collection consists of a photograph album with 71 color postcards and black and white photographs. Images in this collection cover areas of Alaska from Nome to Skagway, up the White Pass and Yukon Railroad to Whitehorse and the Copper River Railroad.

Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center Archives

  • Arturo Lloyd Alaska Railroad Photographs; circa 1959-1966. The collection contains eight black-and-white negatives depicting Alaska Railroad equipment and the steamer Prince George. Ninety-six color 35mm slides depict equipment from the Alaska Railroad and the White Pass & Yukon Route, as well as sights Lloyd encountered on his tours. 


Institute of Museum and Library Services

This guide is supported in whole or in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Alaska State Library.