White Pass and Yukon Railway

White Pass and Yukon Railway, at 175 km long, was the steepest pitched railway in Canada. Work began in 1898, at the height of the KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH, to provide transportation from Skagway, Alaska, to WHITEHORSE, YT.


White Pass and Yukon Railway, at 175 km long, was the steepest pitched railway in Canada. Work began in 1898, at the height of the KLONDIKE GOLD RUSH, to provide transportation from Skagway, Alaska, to WHITEHORSE, YT. Building of the narrow gauge railway was an extremely difficult engineering feat, requiring extensive blasting, tunnels and precarious bridging. Thirty-five of the 35 000 men who worked on construction were killed. The summit of WHITE PASS was reached in February 1899 and the "last spike" was driven at Carcross on 29 July 1900. The gold was exhausted by the time work was complete, though the line struggled along carrying passengers and freight. The mining boom in the Yukon revived the railway, as lead-zinc was hauled from Faro, Mayo and Clinton Creek. The shutdown of the WP&Y in 1982, as a result of the collapse of the mining boom, deprived Whitehorse of some employment and its sea rail link.