Aurora Express Bed & Breakfast – Fairbanks, Alaska - Atlas Obscura

Aurora Express Bed & Breakfast

One woman's dream became a train hotel in her backyard. 


It all began with a dream Susan Wilson had in 1993, in which her modest Fairbanks property housed a train. 

Her husband, Mike, laughed it off. But Susan was on a mission. After calling around to various railroad companies, she purchased a caboose. Next came two Pullman sleeper cars. Shortly after that came dining car and a locomotive, and later two more cars. The Wilsons achieved the impossible: transporting the many-ton train cars 100+ miles to their home in Fairbanks with the help of tractors, bulldozers, and friendly neighbors. After such a feat, transforming the train cars into an operational hotel was nothing. 

The Wilsons called their train the Aurora Express Bed & Breakfast. The sleeper cars and the caboose (nicknamed the “Golden Nellie”) offer quaint, old-fashioned accommodations to those who want a stay beyond what’s offered at a typical hotel. Outside the hillside property lies Fairbanks, the Tanana River, and the Alaskan Mountain Range, though you wouldn’t be faulted for choosing instead to marvel a little while at the old train.

Know Before You Go

The Aurora Express is open between May and October.