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Highlights from

The White Pass Container Route News

1960 | 1963 | 1964 | 1968 | 1969 | 1971 | 1974


Stage 2 - Skagway Terminal Underway, 1968
Skagway Terminal Takes Shape

    Construction on the new 4.5 million dollar White Pass bulk storage and loading dock at Skagway has entered Stage Two, which is the final stage of the project.

White Pass dock project, 1968
Artists sketch of the new 4.5 million dollar White Pass-Skagway Bulk Storage and Loading Dock when completed.

    Concrete footings for the 150 ft. x 720 ft. x 50 ft. concentrate storage building and subterranean conveyor tunnel are now being poured by the contractor, Manson Osberg Ltd.
    Cole and Paddock Inc. are now working on the pile driving and service wharf. Preliminary work on the 10 in. water main to serve the dock and ships is also underway.
    Construction of the project is running ahead of schedule and it is expected that work will come to a halt for the winter months around November 16, and resume again March 1969. During the winter shutdown construction material will be shipped to the project, and off-site fabrication will be completed.
    The now finished Stage One consisted of dredging a huge basin out of the Skagway tidelands and dumping the waste onto adjoining tidal flats. The completed basin is 42.5 ft. deep, 340 ft. wide and 1,700 ft. long. Vessels of 50,000 DWT can be accommodated at the dock.
    The dredged waste was used to build up the ground surrounding the basin to an approximate height of 27 ft. above high tide. This "fill" forms the foundation for the railway tracks, storage sheds, ship concentrate loader and related machinery required to serve the deep sea freighters.
    The project is slated for completion August 31, 1969.

White Pass container ship Klondike, 1968
October-November 1968

    The hull of the White Pass & Yukon Routes' new 6,000-ton container ship is nearing completion at Canadian Vickers Ltd. Shipyard in Montreal, Quebec.
    Vickers, builders of two previous White Pass container ships, expect the hull will be launched during the first part of December. It will then go to the fitting basin for completion of the superstructure, and installation of machinery.
    The new ship will be almost identical to the M.V. Frank H. Brown, which now plys between Vancouver, B.C., and Skagway, Alaska.
    The second White Pass ship on the northern run will provide additional capacity for the Yukon's growing resource production.
    It is expected that the new ship will be commissioned during the summer of 1969.

White Pass container ship Klondike, 1968

The Rotary's Last Trip

October-November 1968

    October 21st marked the last time the old White Pass Rotary Snow fleet would run over the railroad. Reminiscent of those former days when the "fleet" was called out to fight the winter storms, the day was cold and windy, with a new snow storm brewing over the White Pass.
    It was a sentimental journey - quite different from the previous trips, for the Rotary and pusher engine were silent. No longer would you hear the long wailing steam whistle, nor the sharper "pip" whistle from the Rotary Pilot, nor hear the hiss of escaping steam, the engine compressors and "pops", the roar of the big Rotary wheel churning up the snow and throwing it clear of the track. No longer would you hear the main drivers bite into the rail and slip as they laboured against a tough snowdrift or slide, nor would you see the belching black smoke from the Rotary as the firemen fought to keep the steam pressure up. No - the rods on the engine weren't clanking, nor could you hear the sharp staccato chuff or the other living sounds of the steam era on this trip.

New Sounds
    Now the sounds of the old railroad steam days are over, and the Rotary fleet, silently pushed over the big hill by modern diesel electric locomotives, is destined for permanent display at Lake Bennett for thousands of travellers to admire.
    The outdoor Bennett transportation display will consist of Rotary #1, which the White Pass purchased new in 1899 from Cooke Locomotive and Machinery Company of Paterson, N.J., and steam engine #73, a Baldwin built in 1947. No. 73 has the distinction of being the last steam engine purchased by the White Pass.
    Today these two old veterans of the railroad mark the end of the romantic steam era, a silent but fitting memorial to the pioneers who built and operated the railroad under extremely adverse conditions, with primitive equipment and plenty of guts.
    The Rotary's place on today's modern railroad is taken by the versatile "Cat" bulldozer, which can keep the Pass open more efficiently than the machines of days gone by.
Below, White Pass Rotary Snow fleet has made its last trip. October 21 marked the last run for the Rotary which has been running daily along the route since 1899.
White Pass straddle carrier, 1969