Help Deciding which Railway Excursion to do

Don't this we want to do an all day railway but interested in scenery, and anything GOLD.

Thanks in advance for any pointers. Going July 5th out of Seattle on Celebrity Solstice

Tags: alaska Alaska Train Skagway

9 Answers

There is no discussion , at least not to me ...the WHITE PASS AND YUKON RAILROAD is the way to go..get on it in the morning if you can. ride BETWEEN THE CARS..more scenery and stuff to see than I imagined possible...make sure your battery is fully charged for this thing. Stood up almost the whole way on a little platform. they don't mind. They have a website that explains it bettern me. You actually get to leave the USA and ride into Canada for a bit...then back down you go...it was the high point of our cruise. enjoyed it more than cruising in a circle in front of a glacier, or walking down a one street town with about 2000 of your closest new friends looking at Alaskas version of Mexican junque... I would ride it again and again.

Thanks yankee47, that sounds like the ticket. Appreciate the response.

Lou

I agree with Yankee. Here is my standard spiel on this one: "The White Pass railroad tour is a must. During the Klondike stampede there were two primary routes over the coastal summits, each of which eventually led over the mountains and onto the Yukon River, which the stampeders used to make their way on down river to the diggings near Dawson City. The shortest and most famous of these routes was out of nearby Dyea (adjacent to Skagway but about 8 gravel road miles to the northwest) called the Chilkoot Pass Trail, the other was the White Pass or Skagway Trail. The White Pass was longer than the one out of Dyea but summited at a lower elevation. The railroad was built pretty much along the White Pass Trail. Today there is a paved main highway access into Skagway but it does not follow the railroad route. The railroad originally ran between Skagway and Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, today it doesn't go all the way to Whitehorse.

By traveling on the train you get a much better perspective of what the stampeders were up against than if you take the highway, which is on the opposite, north, side of the Skagway River Valley. Every time I get to Skagway I take that railroad roundtrip, mostly for the nostalgia of it all. One time we drove down to Skagway just to ride the railroad and another time we were on a cruise ship which ported in Skagway, I certainly did the railroad then as well.

Irish Mike Heney, was the principal builder behind construction of the White Pass/Yukon Railroad. “Give me enough snoose and dynamite and I’ll build a railroad to hell.” Very popular man with his workers, the railroad laborers. Mike Heney is one of my heroes, after completing the White Pass-Yukon narrow gauge railroad he turned his attention further north to where huge copper discoveries had been found in June at the turn of the century. The richest copper ore ever found on earth. A 200 mile standard gauge railroad was necessary (The Copper River and Northwestern Railway, closed down in 1938) over a route much longer than the White Pass and more difficult in spots, (which is hard to believe once you have taken the train at Skagway up to the White Pass.) That railroad ran between Cordova (My home town) on the coast and the Kennicott Glacier where the discoveries were.

Couple of recommendations before you travel to Skagway: As Yankee already said, you will make a big mistake if you don't take your camera, this is world class mountain scenery. Also, there is a small paper back book out, "Big Mike Heney" by Elizabeth A. Tower, read it before you go.

Great info Kennicott, I will get the book and wouldn't dare go without a good camera and a spare in case a bear eats the first one. Thanks again.

Lou

A few shots I took eight years ago. Poor quality since I took them through the window. You don't have to do that though, just go back between cars.

Thanks, I just ordered the book, used bot supposedly with her signature on it, from Amazon.

Those pics sure bring back memories. good ones too..for some reason I really like the ones I took with the "profile" of the train in em. sense of scale against the mountains and passes. I remember some old destroyed spans too. can't imagine the guts it took to build the thing. it almost made the whole trip worthwhile by itself.

The White Pass and Yukon Train is the way to go,

This June we're cruising up to Seward on the Millenium, then transfer to Anchorage to pick up a train to the Denali National park and Mt.Mckinley.

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