Friday, 8 January 2010

The Little Rail-line that couldn't.

I love old stuff. Here's this, published NY Times April 11 1902:
    Tachoma, Washington, April 10. - George S Canfield has arrived from Minneapolis en route to Nome. He announces that when he left New York last week arrangements were underway to consolidate companies incorporated to build 500 miles of railway from either Cook Inlet or Illiamna Bay across Seward Peninsula to Nome. The companies are understood to be the Alaska and Siberia Company, which Canfield assisted in organizing, and the Trans-Atlantic Company of Colorado.
    The Alaska and Siberia Company made surveys between the Yukon River and Nome during the Summers of last and the previous years under Canfield's direction. He believes the consolidated interested will select Illiamna Bay as a coast terminus, building thence to Kaltag, on the Yukon, and thence across the Tundra to Nome. He expects the work of construction will commence this year at each end.
I think Mr Canfield's project is a few decades behind schedule.
I was trying to find the initial financial estimate of the modern proposed route to Nome. Right now, one of the biggest economic impediment to Reindeer herding on the Seward Peninsula is the ability to move meat to market. If that could be overcome, better markets could be created for the meat.  I'm sure the modern mining interests in Nome would like better market access too, but that's not what spurred my interest.


Cate said...

I always sigh deeply when thinking about how life (well, travel, but in my neck of the woods, life is almost synonymous with travel) in the US would be different if we had more extensive train service, and those railways had been used to develop high-speed trains....And life in Alaska? Wow. It would be awesome. I have no idea of the logistical implications, but it still would be awesome.

TwoYaks said...

I know. I'm not sure whether it would be good or bad, if there were easy access to, say, bethel. Things would be cheaper, yeah. But with that comes a lot cultural change from contact. I just think of some of the other villages that ended up on roads, by luck(?). Not all of them ended up well... but things are shrinking, and something like that is going to happen some day. Maybe it won't be good or bad? Just... different.