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Armchair Brakeman

White Pass & Yukon Route,


The White Pass & Yukon Route railroad was built at the turn of the century in 1898. It is a narrow gage railroad and was built to facilitate the gold rush in Alaska and is now often referred to as the “Gold Rush” Railroad.

About 2003, my wife and I took a cruise to Alaska on the inside passage. It was beautiful. Alaska is a land of skyscraper high mountain ranges, roaring rivers and mountainous glaciers. One of our stops was Skagway, Alaska. This is the beginning point of the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.  

The White Pass & Yukon Route goes from Skagway, Alaska to Carcross, Yukon Territory, Canada -- a total of 67.5 miles. Along the way the elevation climbs from 0 in Skagway to 2,865 feet at White Summit Pass (the international border) 20 miles from Skagway. This must be the most interesting and exciting 20 miles of railroad anywhere.  At 5.8 miles from Skagway the train crosses the East Fork of the Skagway River. At mile 10.4 a black cross on the side of the mountain marks the site of a blasting accident in 1898 that buried two workers under 100 tons of granite rock.  At mile 11.5 a beautiful waterfall tumbles 6000 feet down from glaciers on Mt Cleveland and Mt Clifford.  At mile 16.0 the train goes through a tunnel that is 1000 feet above the gulch. At mile 18.6 the train passes a steel bridge built in 1901 and used until 1969 when a new bridge and tunnel replaced the rusting old bridge.

After three hours we come to the White Pass Summit and the Canadian / United States Border. The track widens to two tracks and the engine leaves the front of the train and moves to the rear. We then start the trip back to Skagway. At the time there were no border guards at the border and we needed no passports for this ride.

I would have liked to take the train further but the Cruise ship only offered the trip to the border. The rolling stock of the WP&YR consists of twenty diesel - electric locomotives and one restored 1947 Baldwin 2-8-2 Mikado steam engine. They also have 69 restored passenger coaches.

2008 Schedule/Fares
From May 5 to September 27, 2008 

3 Hours - 40 Miles Round Trip.

Departs Skagway                                                        
8:15 AM          Daily                                                   
12:45 PM         Daily                                                   
4:30 PM           Monday - Thursday only

Fares (US Dollars)
Adults:      $103.00
Children (3–12):  $51.50
Infants: FREE

6 hours - 67.5 miles one way.  All departures stop at Lake Bennett, BC  Lunch included  Excursion available Sunday thru Friday  Reservations required!


NORTHBOUND TRAIN (Passport required)

Departs Skagway: 7:45 AM
Arrives Bennett: 10:30 AM
Departs Bennett: 12:15 PM
Arrives Carcross: 2:00 PM


Departs Carcross: 10:30 AM
Arrives Bennett: 12:15 AM
Departs Bennett: 2:00 PM
Arrives Skagway: 4:30 PM

Adults One Way           $165
Child 3-12 One way     $82.50
Adults R/T from            $229
Child 3-12 R/T $149






White Pass Engine
White Pass Engine

Snowblower in Scagway
Snow Blower - Skagway