Need a Ride? On This Alaska Route, You Can Simply Flag Down a Train

Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0
Frank Kovalchek, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking to catch a ride on Alaska Railroad’s Hurricane Turn train, you don’t need to head for a station—you can just walk up the tracks.

As 99% Invisible taught us, the train is perhaps the U.S.’s last remaining “flag stop” passenger train that allows riders to catch a lift at any point along its route. If you walk up to the tracks and wave a white flag, the train’s operator will stop the train and pick you up. (You can reportedly also wave your arms or use a white t-shirt.) The two-engine train is only three cars long, making it relatively easy to stop on short notice.

The 55-mile-long Hurricane Turn route begins in Talkeetna, a village north of Anchorage at the base of Denali, and runs north through the Indian River Valley to Hurricane Gulch, known for its picturesque bridge, the railroad’s longest and tallest.

The route cuts through the wilderness around Denali National Park, and the unique flag-stop system allows riders to get on and off in the back country, including people who own remote, off-the-grid cabins in the area.

During the summer, a trip from Talkeetna to Hurricane costs $54, while a winter trip costs $49. If you're not planning on heading to Alaska anytime soon, you can take a 360° virtual tour of the experience in the video below from KTUU, an Anchorage-based TV station.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

New Jersey's Anthony Bourdain Food Trail Has Opened

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Before Anthony Bourdain was a world-famous chef, author, or food and travel documentarian, he was just another kid growing up in New Jersey. Earlier this year, Food & Wine reported that Bourdain's home state would honor the late television personality with a food trail tracing his favorite restaurants. And that trail is now open.

Bourdain was born in New York City in 1956, and spent most of childhood living in Leonia, New Jersey. He often revisited the Garden State in his books and television shows, highlighting the state's classic diners and delis and the seafood shacks of the Jersey shore.

Immediately following Bourdain's tragic death on June 8, 2018, New Jersey assemblyman Paul Moriarty proposed an official food trail featuring some of his favorite eateries. The trail draws from the New Jersey episode from season 5 of the CNN series Parts Unknown. In it, Bourdain traveled to several towns throughout the state, including Camden, Atlantic City, and Asbury Park, and sampled fare like cheesesteaks, salt water taffy, oysters, and deep-fried hot dogs.

The food trail was approved following a unanimous vote in January, and the trail was officially inaugurated last week. Among the stops included on the trail:

  1. Frank's Deli // Asbury Park
  1. Knife and Fork Inn // Atlantic City
  1. Dock's Oyster House // Atlantic City
  1. Tony's Baltimore Grill // Atlantic City
  1. James' Salt Water Taffy // Atlantic City
  1. Lucille's Country Cooking // Barnegat
  1. Tony & Ruth Steaks // Camden
  1. Donkey's Place // Camden
  2. Hiram's Roadstand // Fort Lee

Chernobyl Creator Craig Mazin Urges Visitors to Treat the Exclusion Zone With Respect

Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Following the success of the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, one tour company reported that bookings to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone located in Ukraine rose 35 percent. Now, series creator Craig Mazin is imploring the new wave of tourists to be respectful when snapping selfies at Chernobyl, Gizmodo reports.

A 2500-square-kilometer exclusion zone was established around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant shortly after its reactor exploded in 1986 and flooded the area with harmful radiation. The abandoned towns are still too radioactive for people to live there safely, but they have been deemed safe to visit temporarily with the supervision of a guide.

Chernobyl has supported a dark tourism industry for years, but thanks to the miniseries, photographs taken there are gaining new levels of attention online. News of influencers posing for irreverent selfies at the site of the nuclear disaster quickly went viral. Mazin tweeted:

Regardless of why people are visiting the site, being respectful in the presence of tragedy is always a good idea. It's also smart to resist leaving a tour group to snap the perfect selfie in some abandoned building: Tour companies warn that breaking rules and wandering off approved paths can lead to dangerous radiation exposure.

[h/t Gizmodo]

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