White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad – Skagway, Alaska - Atlas Obscura

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

A historic freight system that found the true gold rush is in tourism. 


A pioneer of travel and shipping, the White Pass Railroad now only freighters sightseers and tourists instead of gold. 

The White Pass Railroad was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, by would-be miners making their way to the Gold Fields in the Yukon. Unfortunately by the time the railroad was finished, the gold rush was over. But the 110-mile railway quickly began hauling freight and continued to grow as a company. White Pass developed its own airline and navigation company to transport its freight, and notably it pioneered the first inter-modal (ship-train-truck) movement of containers. After years of service, when the Faro Mine shut down in 1982, the railroad also closed its doors. But in 1988, a few entrepreneurs resurrected the line as a scenic railway.

 Today, White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is a national historic engineering landmark, and carries some 400,000 passengers a year. This vintage train lends a glimpse into history, as well as a wide panorama of natural beauty from the vantage point of a 3,000 foot climb over 20 miles of track. Though an attraction in and of itself, the train also acts as an access point to several hiking trails, including the Chilkoot Trail and the trail to the Laughton Glacier. 

Know Before You Go

Space on the train may be extremely limited on certain days, so it is prudent to call ahead to book early if there are several cruise ships in port.

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