If you’re looking to catch a ride on Alaska Railroad’s Hurricane Turn train, you don’t need to head for a station—you can just walk up the tracks.
As 99% Invisible taught us, the train is perhaps the U.S.’s last remaining “flag stop” passenger train that allows riders to catch a lift at any point along its route. If you walk up to the tracks and wave a white flag, the train’s operator will stop the train and pick you up. (You can reportedly also wave your arms or use a white t-shirt.) The two-engine train is only three cars long, making it relatively easy to stop on short notice.
The 55-mile-long Hurricane Turn route begins in Talkeetna, a village north of Anchorage at the base of Denali, and runs north through the Indian River Valley to Hurricane Gulch, known for its picturesque bridge, the railroad’s longest and tallest.
The route cuts through the wilderness around Denali National Park, and the unique flag-stop system allows riders to get on and off in the back country, including people who own remote, off-the-grid cabins in the area.
During the summer, a trip from Talkeetna to Hurricane costs $54, while a winter trip costs $49. If you're not planning on heading to Alaska anytime soon, you can take a 360° virtual tour of the experience in the video below from KTUU, an Anchorage-based TV station.
[h/t 99% Invisible]