As of this writing the Whittier Tunnel has been finished and in use for some time. However, I only got around to using it when I was home for the winter break, and I must say it was an interesting experience. Since the tunnel is shared with a train, there are only certain times you can drive through it. I think the last window of opportunity to leave Whittier through the tunnel is at 4:30 PM. Speaking of Whittier, there must be some sort of business agreement which was pushed through in secret in order to justify the construction of this tunnel, as Whittier itself is very small and does not by appearances have a healthy economy.

Whittier is one of only two Alaskan seaports that are ice-free all year. The other, Seward, would have been very difficult to run major freight traffic over, as there is a 3% grade on parts of the line (requiring six or more locomotives for a train that can be pulled from Whittier with two). Whittier is also a point on the Alaska Marine Highway System. This strategic importance convinced the government to build the original rail-only Whittier Tunnel. After the upgrade, it's now called the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel.

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