This train engine with snowblower in front is used for clearing the tracks to keep the railway open to the summit of White Pass during tourist season. We saw where it had been used recently to clear huge drifts from the tracks. The summit is at an elevation of about 3200 feet.
When we arrived in Skagway we boarded the White Pass and Yukon Railway for a ride to the top of the summit, traveling where the miners of the Klondike Gold Rush era went to the gold fields in the late 1890's. Unfortunately, by the time the railroad was finished, the gold rush was about over. The miners were required by the Canadian government to take a full year's supply of everything to enter the Klondike in Canada so they either carried them on their backs, one load at a time for 40 or so trips up the treacherous trail to the summit or purchased pack animals to do the same. We traveled in comfort enjoying beautiful scenery and as we got higher a snowstorm blew in. We felt right at home.
Beautiful view of Skagway and the harbor from the train.
After we got back we went on a streetcar tour of the small but bustling town of Skagway. Our guides looked like Mary Poppins and gave a fun and colorful history of the lore and legends of the early years of the area. We passed an LDS chapel as we zigzagged through town.