Tourists and locals still won’t be able to take in the alpine meadows of Fraser, British Columbia or the shores of Bennett Lake in Carcross from a car on one of the White Pass Yukon Route’s (WPYR) trains this year.
Although full service on the rail tours from Skagway, Alaska won’t be returning in 2022, WPYR staff say that the work done already this year will help with a smooth return in 2023.
“After months of working towards restoring the Carcross and Fraser train service combination, we unfortunately must announce that we are unable to provide these offerings for the 2022 season,” a statement from WPYR reads.
“We have delayed this difficult decision for several months in the hopes that we could find a workable solution for all involved and provide passenger service on these international routes.”
WPYR executive director Tyler Rose said that the decision to halt trains to the Canadian side of the border was made due to complicated logistics and uncertainty around wait times and restrictions at the border. He praised the work of everyone who tried to get the trains running WPYR’s full route, naming Yukon MP Brendan Hanley and Economic Development Minister Ranj Pillai.
The railway has seen a slow return from its shutdown in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic starting up for some service on the Alaska side of the border in July 2021. This year it will be running a 20.4 mile excursion from Skagway to the White Pass Summit and back.
Although the trains won’t be running over the border, WPYR isn’t completely dormant on the Canadian side. Rose said that while seasonal staffing will not be back to 2019 levels, workers will be needed for some projects including rail and tie replacement and signal work.
He said the route may have also seen some flood damage but not as severe as had been seen in the past. WPYR will be monitoring the snow pack levels closely.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org