I decided to go from Anchorage to Seward and back in the same day on Saturday, June 29th, 2019 via the Alaska Railroad. The train departs Anchorage at 6:45AM and arrives at 11:05 AM. The train departs Seward at 6:00PM and arrives at 10:15AM. Therefore, the train ride is about 4 hours and 20 minutes in each direction, depending on slow downs for photography. The train route is considered one of the ten most scenic train rides in the world.
To get there, you can go in Goldstar Service Class or Adventure Class. During peak season (2019), they run $110 for Adventure and $218 for Goldstar. It's the same prices on the way back. I went to Seward in Goldstar and back in Adventure. Goldstar offers a deck for unobstructed photography, an included meal from the paid options, two alcoholic and refillable non-alcoholic drinks, plus an elevated cabin with ceiling to floor glass. Goldstar is the right way to do this, after seeing both first hand.
When I went, there was considerable smoke from the Swan Lake fire. This fire was supposedly caused from a lightning strike, therefore it was a natural fire. The smoke levels were high, about 150 +/- on the US EPA 2.5PM AQI (Air Quality Index). In the morning, the smoke was prominent and obsecured the view of many mountains. In the afternoon, much of the smoke cleared and I was able to see mountains that were hidden in the smoke in the morning.
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