The White Pass “Spirit”
The White Pass & Yukon Route (WP&YR) is symbolic of triumph over challenge. The railroad was considered an impossible task but it was literally blasted through coastal mountains in only 26 months over a century ago. Tens of thousands of men with picks and shovels and 450 tons of explosives overcame harsh climate and challenging geography to create "the railway built of gold".
But, the zenith of the Klondike Gold Rush had past by the time the railroad was completed. Despite conquering the significant snowfalls with the rotary snowplow and spanning Dead Horse Gulch with the tallest cantilever bridge in the world at the time, it was time to diversify to survive. The WP&YR evolved to encompass wharves, stage lines, paddlewheelers, hotels, aircraft, buses, pipelines, trucks and ships to cater to emerging market conditions.
Self-sufficiency and the need for continuous progress made innovation a hallmark of WP&YR operations. WP&YR pioneered the “Container Route” – the inter-modal movement of containers by ship, train and truck in 1955. In 1988, the company reinvented itself as a tourist attraction for a tourism market after shutting down as a fully integrated transportation company 7 years earlier.
Since 1898, WP&YR’s survival and prosperity has been based on the spirit of accomplishment in the face of adversity.