Growing Alaska’s Gold Rush railroad

By David Thomas, Canadian Contributing Editor, Railway Age Magazine; December 5, 2018

Ever since the first rail was laid in 1898 to lift Gold Rush Stampeders over the jagged mountains of the Alaska Panhandle to Canada’s Klondike, the tenuous but irrepressible White Pass & Yukon Route has been rescued from peril by a succession of improbable saviors, one of them the United States Army.

Now, some 118 years since the first train steamed the 110 international miles from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon, the White Knight looming out of the mists of Taiya Inlet assumes the form of a gleaming cruise ship. Carnival Corporation, the world’s dominant operator of state-of-the-art vacation ships, is now the unlikely minority owner of the geriatric, narrow-gauge railway, running steeply uphill from U.S. tidewater to Canadian Taiga.

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