New White & Pass Yukon owner looks to expand locomotive fleet

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WPYDL535E104Skagway
DL535E No. 104 leads a train at Skagway in June 2014.
James L. Haney
SKAGWAY, Alaska – The new owner of the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway says it is looking to expand its locomotive fleet to meet the railroad’s increasing ridership demands.

On Aug. 1, Carnival Corp. owners of Carnival Cruise Lines and Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, completed its purchase of the White Pass & Yukon. Railroad President Bob Berto tells Trains News Wire that the company’s immediate focus is continuing the safe operation of the railroad and maintaining its historic character. The 3-foot gauge White Pass & Yukon links Skagway with Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and was completed in 1900. The sale also included all of the railroad’s port facilities in Skagway.

In June, when the sale was first announced, Carnival officials said they planned to invest in the port area to ensure that Skagway could handle larger cruise ships in the future. But Berto says those investments will spread to the railroad as well.

“We are currently undergoing the process of evaluating our entire fleet of locomotives. This will take some time and we are committed to making sure we can continue to operate our legacy locomotives in a safe, reliable and efficient manner,” he says. “At the same time, we are soliciting proposals to see what the industry can provide us in terms of options to grow our fleet. The anticipated growth of passengers arriving to Skagway is driving the need to evaluate and improve our operations model. We are looking forward to seeing what is proposed and how additional engines will integrate into our fleet.”

“We are committed to providing the capital to grow our business but are going to do it with the history and heritage of White Pass in mind,” Berto adds.

Berto tells Trains News Wire it’s “still too early” to provide additional details on what the expanded fleet might look like. The White Pass & Yukon’s fleet includes 20 diesels, 69 restored and replica passenger coaches, and two Baldwin steam locomotives: 2-8-0 No. 69 built in 1907 and 2-8-2 No. 73 constructed in 1947.

For more information on the railroad, go to www.wpyr.com.
WPY96
Nos. 95 and 96, 84-ton GE units rebuilt with Cummins 12-cylinder engines, await their next assignment in May 2014.
John Neary
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