The White Pass and Yukon Route railroad is a narrow gauge railroad between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse in the Yukon. Riding the line is a standard excursion for cruise ships porting in Skagway.
On our July 2013 Alaska cruise, we chose an excursion that took the train from Skagway to Fraser, British Columbia, Canada, and then took a tour coach back. This allowed us to differing scenery each direction.
The entire excursion took about 3.5 hours and was well worth it. Each train car had a platform front and back allowing adequate room for shooting pictures, as long as you were willing to share.
While the overhead narration could not be heard on the platform, a White Pass employee regularly informed us when photo opportunities were upcoming. She even had things timed down to the second, saying things like, “When we pass the first short opening in the trees, you’ll have 15 seconds until the second opening, which lasts 37 seconds.”
It was very helpful. And the scenery was amazing.
At the terminus of our train ride in Fraser, BC, we had to wait for a quick customs check by Canadian customs (you’ll need your passport). It was non-intrusive as such things go, but took a while.
We were in the last car of the train, and had to wait until the single agent had cleared all the cars before reaching us. Unfortunately, this meant little time for taking pictures in Fraser, as we were hurried to the coach for our return trip.
The tour bus driver was informed and entertaining, as the best drivers usually are. He stopped several times on the way back to allow us to take photographs.
At the end, he dropped us off back at the dock for our boat, although several people chose to disembark back in the town of Skagway (which was about a 20 minute walk from the dock).
Just a quite side note: Fraser, BC is now the furthest north I’ve ever been (not including plane rides) at 59.72 degrees north. I hope to bust that record at some point in the future with a visit to Reykjavik, Iceland.
Tech Notes: Shot on a Nikon D700 using a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 and a Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8. Images were taken in RAW and processed in Photoshop Elements.Brian Combs