Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, the White Pass & Yukon 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 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. 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. 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 450,000 passengers during the May to September tourism season operating on the first 67.5 miles (Skagway, Alaska to Carcross, Yukon) of the original 110 mile line.
Matthew - I am always left speechless by your wonderful eye for light, shadow and background. You take every subject and show it off with flawless precision. I grew up on John Wayne movies and Johnny Cash songs... your photos here are as majestic and admirable and heart-touching as "True Grit" and "Ring of Fire!"
Matthew I don't remember seeing these photos before...they are spectacular, and my favorite of all your collections...I have an affinity for Alaska, and these bring the love of the last frontier to an apogee of apreaciation.
You are a photographic Robert W. Service...
Great photographs of a sensational narrow gauge railroad event, and (perhaps best of all) great people shots. Many thanks, Gerry (Longmont, CO)
I am a volunteer crew member with the Midwest Central RR (3' steam & diesel) where we have a WP&Y steel caboose. Also am retired Santa Fe Railway conductor working the Illinois Division between Iowa and Chicago, IL, 1965 to 2007. So I gained a lot of respect for working in the heavy snow and bitter cold. Never did get to work with the rotary plow but worked the Jordan Spreader clearing heavy drifting snow on the plains. The website below is our museum operation in the Santa Fe and CB&Q depots here in Fort Madison, Iowa. What position is the man with the British Railways hat badge?
Great work getting the steam rotary and steam locos fired up to clear the line! And great photography too! Thank you for sharing your experience!
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© Matthew Malkiewicz - Lost Tracks of Time