Cordova to Kennicott

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  • States: Alaska   
  • Railroads: CR&NW   

The Copper River and Northwestern Railway

Picture Point of Interest

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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.

Great to have this map - thank you - I keep wondering what is left of the railway beyond the end of the road from Cordova - maybe one day I will get the chance to find out !

Germany, AK


Well I don't know what you mean with the end of the road from Cordova but the end of the former railway is the Kennicott mining facility 4 mi. beyond McCarthy. Pro forma there are some tracks there. The derelict mining facility sure is worth a visit but it is a 100 mi. trip from the main hwy of which the last 60 mi. are gravel and potholes. With a good car it can be done in a little less than 3 hrs. Today 09/16/2016 we were some of the last visitors of this season. Along the way we saw few things left from the railway except the bridges (the steel one the road is on and the wooden one standing aside the road.)



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