2003/2004 McKinley Explorer Railcars

Holland America Line Inc. is adding four completely new bi-level dome dining-lounge cars to its current Fairbanks-Anchorage rail service on the Alaska Railroad's passenger trains. These cars have been built to a new design by Tom Rader's Colorado Railcar Manufacturing Co. at Fort Lupton, Colorado, just north of Denver. At 18 ft 2 inches tall, and 89 feet long (4 feet longer and two feet taller than most Amtrak Superliner and other passenger cars), these new domes are being billed by Holland America as the world's largest passenger cars.

The first two cars, numbered and named HALX 1050 "Kenai" and HALX 1051 "Knik," left the Fort Lupton plant March 13 on UP's local freight train to Denver Union Station where they went on display to travel professionals and the public March 14 -15. As these two cars work their way north toward a scheduled April 23 Alaska Railroad barge sailing from Seattle to Whittier, Alaska, where they begin service May 16, they are tentatively scheduled for additional public display.

The second two cars, HALX 1052 "Chena" and 1053 "Kobuk" are now scheduled to leave the Colorado Railcar plant about April 2 enroute to Seattle for an April 16 Alaska barge sailing. Movement may be either on Amtrak passenger or BNSF freight trains.

HALX 1050 and 1052 are described as "a-type" cars with a full-service kitchen to serve two cars, and 1051 and 1053 are "b-type" cars with a lower-level open-air observation platform instead of a kitchen.

These new cars will replace four of the ex-ATSF full-domes built in 1954 and rebuilt by Holland America in the late 1980's for Alaska Service. Holland America has several recently-rebuilt ex-ATSF and ex-MILW full dome cars for sale in Alaska.

Railcar Specifications (per car):

Interior Design Elements:

2003 McKinley Explorer Railcar Exclusives:

For Immediate Release

Seattle-January 23, 2002- Holland America Line is introducing the next generation of the storied McKinley Explorer rail car for the line's Alaska CruiseTour packages. These world-famous Full Dome cars have set the standard in luxury rail travel since the Golden Age of the railroad and have been a favored part of Holland America's Cruisetours for years. The new cars will enter service on May 16, 2003.

The four new rail cars will be the largest passenger rail cars in service in North America and will compliment Holland America's existing fleet of 13 cars. These marvels of modern design feature a host of guest amenities and innovative technology, providing an unsurpassed touring experience through Alaska's pristine backcountry.

"These new cars seat up to 88 guests and feature more glass area than any other passenger car ever built," said David A. Giersdorf, senior vice president, marketing and sales, Holland America Line. "Our guests can enjoy uninterrupted viewing through some of the most spectacular wilderness vistas on Earth."

Each McKinley Explorer features entertaining and informative narration provided by Holland America Line's expert Car Managers and is augmented by a state-of-the-art Global Positioning System (GPS) -automated narration system. Each passenger seat offers six channels of music and a seventh channel offering a GPS-automated narrative of the tour.

All of Holland America's McKinley Explorer cars provide guests with access to spacious observation lounges, gift shops, leisurely dining and spectacular views from outdoor viewing platforms. The cars' interiors have also been designed to reflect the countryside they pass through.

"The best scenery is outside our rail cars, but we've made the interiors a work of art as well," said Giersdorf. "The cars feature custom designed fabrics using Swiss wools, museum quality art and color schemes that evoke the award winning designs of Holland America Line ships."


Page created 4/9/03 and last updated 9/14/10