On Thursday, June 27th we headed to the train station. We took the train up to the Summit of the White Pass! It was a rainy morning but that didn’t stop us from having a fun day!
Here’s some fun facts about the Railway…(Source: White Pass & Yukon Route Railway)
Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this narrow gauge railroad is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, a designation shared with the Panama Canal, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.
The WP&YR railway was considered an impossible task but it was literally blasted through coastal mountains in only 26 months.
The $10 million project was the product of British financing, American engineering and Canadian contracting. Tens of thousands of men and 450 tons of explosives overcame harsh and challenging climate and geography to create “the railway built of gold.”
The WP&YR climbs almost 3000 feet in just 20 miles and features steep grades of up to 3.9%, cliff-hanging turns of 16 degrees, two tunnels and numerous bridges and trestles. The steel cantilever bridge was the tallest of its kind in the world when it was constructed in 1901.
The 110 mile WP&YR Railroad was completed with the driving of the golden spike on July 29, 1900 in Carcross Yukon connecting the deep water port of Skagway Alaska to Whitehorse Yukon and beyond to northwest Canada and interior Alaska.
White Pass & Yukon Route became a fully integrated transportation company operating docks, trains, stage coaches, sleighs, buses, paddlewheelers, trucks, ships, airplanes, hotels and pipelines. It provided the essential infrastructure servicing the freight and passenger requirements of Yukon’s population and mining industry. WP&YR proved to be a successful transportation innovator and pioneered the inter-modal (ship-train-truck) movement of containers.
The WP&YR suspended operations in 1982 when Yukon’s mining industry collapsed due to low mineral prices. The railway was reopened in 1988 as a seasonal tourism operation and served 37,000 passengers. Today, the WP&YR is Alaska’s most popular shore excursion carrying over 390,000 passengers during the 2012 May to September tourism season operating on the first 67.5 miles (Skagway, Alaska to Carcross, Yukon) of the original 110 mile line.
…I sat inside only for the first part of the trip, the rest of it I stood on the platform behind the engines on the way up…and was the last car on the way down!
As we climbed the mountain…the fog got closer and closer until it was all around us!
Here’s someone doing track maintenance with their train they take up the mountain. (I can’t remember the name of it..but saw one in the Transportation Museum today in Whitehorse!)
This is an old bridge…that is nicknamed the Ghost Bridge…can you guess why?
Going through one of the tunnels…
The Conductor…every train needs one!
This is at the official boarder…which is also the Summit! This is where the engines were switched to the other end of the train for our trip back down to Skagway.
…we all got our photo taken with the Conductor.
…and then we were back in Skagway…where the rain started to pour yet again!