The WP & YR Railway

Taken on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Steam Engine # 73, between Skagway, Alaska and Fraser, British Columbia. Photo by Robert Kramer/Flickr

Taken on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Steam Engine # 73, between Skagway, Alaska and Fraser, British Columbia. Photo by Robert Kramer/Flickr

The gold rush in the Yukon late 19th century drew thousands of adventurers in the northern United States and Canada. The rough terrain required the construction of a railroad – a narrow gauge railway with a 914mm gauge. Between 1898 and 1900, the railway line was driven through the mountains under the most difficult conditions, an average of 2,000 workers per day were used.

Steam Engine Excursion 25 Taken on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Steam Engine # 73, between Skagway, Alaska and Fraser, British Columbia. Photo by Robert Kramer/Flickr

Steam Engine Excursion 25
Taken on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad Steam Engine # 73, between Skagway, Alaska and Fraser, British Columbia. Photo by Robert Kramer/Flickr

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The White Pass and Yukon Route with a track width of 914mm is really a route of superlatives and leads from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse the capital of Yukon. The highlight of the WP & YR Railway days is the use of the locomotive 69 which was built in 1908. The total length from Skagway in Alaska over the White Pass in British Columbia (CA) to Whitehorse in Yukon Territory is 110 miles (165 km).

The White Pass Summit. Photo by Keith Williams/Flickr

The White Pass Summit. Photo by
Keith Williams/Flickr

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Just past mile marker 18.8 on White Pass & Yukon Route railroad, dropping from White Pass towards Skagway, Alaska. Photo by Matthew Wild/Flickr

Just past mile marker 18.8 on White Pass & Yukon Route railroad, dropping from White Pass towards Skagway, Alaska. Photo by
Matthew Wild/Flickr

The WP & YR has experienced a beautiful and rich time. During the Second World War, the railroad served as a “major supplier” for the US Army. Until 1954 steam locomotives were used and were replaced by diesel. 1982 sank the world of metal transport and the White Pass & Yukon Road was closed. In 1988 it was reopened and prepared for excursion trips.

A White Pass and Yukon Railroad General Electric diesel-electric locomotive returning to Skagway after it’s round trip to Fraser, YT. Photo by Alan Vernon/Flickr

A White Pass and Yukon Railroad General Electric diesel-electric locomotive returning to Skagway after it’s round trip to Fraser, YT. Photo by
Alan Vernon/Flickr

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The White Pass and Yukon Railroad Baldwin Steam locomotive #73, climbing a steep grade as it leaves Skagway on it’s round trip to Fraser, YT. Photo by Alan Vernon/Flickr

The White Pass and Yukon Railroad Baldwin Steam locomotive #73, climbing a steep grade as it leaves Skagway on it’s round trip to Fraser, YT. Photo by Alan Vernon/Flickr

After the main business collapsed in the 1980s, the WP & YR has since focused on the tourist traffic following the numerous cruise ships in Skagway. From May to September one of the last active narrow gauge railways in North America is really busy, approximately 1.8 million passengers use the trains for leisure and tourism. One hundred and fifty employees take care of the railway during this period. In the winter only 15 employees maintain the track.

WP and YR 240511. Photo by Tewkes/Flickr

WP and YR 240511. Photo by
Tewkes/Flickr

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