One of our excursions was to ride the White Pass and Yukon Route train. The train begins in Skagway, Alaska and goes into the Yukon Territory. Skagway had record breaking heat the day we were there.
Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, this 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 railway was considered an impossible task but it was literally blasted through coastal mountains in only 26 months.
Can you see the line where the track is?
The $10 million project was the product of British financing, American engineering and Canadian contracting. Tens of thousands of men and 450 tons of explosives overcame harsh and challenging climate and geography to create “the railway built of gold.”
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.
The 110 mile WP&YR Railroad was completed with the driving of the golden spike on July 29, 1900 in Carcross Yukon connecting the deep water port of Skagway Alaska to Whitehorse Yukon and beyond to northwest Canada and interior Alaska.
This is such a beautiful train ride. It was very hot so I stood between cars most of the time. I saw the tiniest bear cub right next to the tracks. It probably weighed around twenty five pounds - don't know where momma bear was but I'm sure she was nearby. The bear was probably a grizzly, as that's what most of the bears in that area are.
The original bridge. Imagine how many traveled over it!
Notice how close we are to the edge of the cliff?!? I was leaning out and took these photos with my Droid Smart Phone. They came out rather nicely. I really didn't want to drop my phone!