Cordova to Kennicott

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  • States: Alaska   
  • Railroads: CR&NW   

The Copper River and Northwestern Railway

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This aerial photograph faintly shows the old CR&NW right-of-way (the white line) and Million Dollar Bridge (the black line). Click on the image for a larger view. Photo by Lew Picton, April 2012.

Construction of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway (a subsidiary of the Kennecott Corporation, a mining company) started in 1907 at Cordova, Alaska, and headed eastward, across glaciers, canyons and other perilous landscapes to reach the copper mines around Kennicott, which it reached four years later, at a distance of 193.9 total miles.

Despite lucrative copper production which more than paid for the cost of constructing the railroad, the railroad saw its last train in September of 1939 and was abandoned shortly after as the mines in the area dried up.

Today, both the Copper River Highway and McCarthy Road are built atop the right-of-way over some of its length.

Thanks to Lew Picton for contributing information about this route.

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