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  • Writer's pictureCoastandCrownTravel

The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad

Born during the Klondike Gold Rush by would-be miners trying to reach the gold fields, The White Pass Railroad now carries sightseers as its only source of freight.

The White Pass Railroad was an engineering marvel! In 1898, two men – Sir Thomas Tancrede and Michael J. Heney (an experienced railroad contractor) met by chance in Skagway. They talked throughout the night about their visions to build a railway to the North. The next morning, their visions had become a plan. Plans were made – concerns were many. On July 29, 1900, the golden spike signaled the end of construction of the railway. The railway covered 110 miles, cost over $10 million, used 450 tons of explosives, and was constructed by tens of thousands of men who worked throughout the summers to make this railway possible. The railway operated until 1982 when the last mine was closed. But in 1988, a group of entrepreneurs decided to take the freight train and turn it into a way for tourists to enjoy the scenic landscapes it passes through.

The White Pass Railroad is Alaska’s most popular shore excursion. Each year, the White Pass Railway carries more than 400,000 passengers who are tourists or railway enthusiasts up 3,000 feet and over 20 miles in order to experience the breathtaking scenery of mountains, glaciers, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, trusses, and historic sites.

Their fleet consists of 20 diesel-electric locomotives, seventy restored parlor cars, and two steam locomotives. The railcars are handicapped accessible.

The excursion most often done on a cruise port stop departs from Skagway and goes to the summit of White Pass. From there you can choose to come back on the train or take a bus (or take the bus up and train down). If this sounds like an excursion you are interested in doing, get in touch with me and I will set it up for you!

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