ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Jan. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alaska Railroad is celebrating the 90th anniversary of the historic serum run, which began Jan. 26, 1925, and became the inspiration for the famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
In 1925, an outbreak of diphtheria in the remote western Alaska city of Nome spurred the then-territory to commission 300,000 units of diphtheria antitoxin at the Anchorage Railroad Hospital to be transferred. The life-saving serum was sent aboard the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage to Nenana, Alaska, located just outside of Fairbanks. In Nenana, the serum was transferred to sled dog mushers, and it was then transported almost 700 miles across the tundra. The story of this journey, the mushers and their dogs, became legendary.
"Since time was such an issue, it would have been unlikely that the serum would have arrived to Nome in time if the Railroad had not taken it to Nenana," said Dan Seavey, Sr., who helped to coordinate the first Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and is part of a lineage that includes Iditarod champions Mitch Seavey and Dallas Seavey.
"This is an important event in the history of the Railroad and the State of Alaska," said Alaska Railroad Director of Guest Services and Passenger Marketing Bruce LaLonde. "We are thrilled to be able to offer passengers the opportunity to celebrate this momentous occasion with us."
For travelers wishing to experience this historic and scenic stretch of the Last Frontier, the Alaska Railroad is expanding on its usual weekend service by offering special midweek Aurora Winter Train departures starting on February 24 and continuing weekly through March 18, with travel north from Anchorage to Fairbanks on Saturdays and Tuesdays, then south from Fairbanks to Anchorage on Sundays and Wednesdays. In addition to a number of winter activities taking place February and March, the Aurora Winter Trains coincide with the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage on Saturday, March 7. Visitors can travel north to Fairbanks on the train and embark to Coldfoot, near Gates of the Arctic National Park, to enjoy a dog sledding experience not to be forgotten.
For more information about the Alaska Railroad and its winter travel options, visit www.AlaskaRailroad.com. To book, please call Alaska Railroad reservations at 907-265-2494, or outside Anchorage at 800-544-0552.
SOURCE Alaska Railroad