Alaska’s White Pass & Yukon

Alaska’s White Pass & Yukon

Great American Train Ride (deluxe boxset)

Railway Productions/ Topics

Format: DVD

Length: 40 minutes

Time Period: 2007

Locations: Skagway to Fraser B.C.

Producer: Les Jarrett

This show is the trip from Skagway, Alaska to Fraser, British Columbia. The distance covered is about 27 miles, by railway. This is available separately, or in a boxset. The Great American Train Ride, by Topics Entertainment is the boxset. That set has four shows, on four DVD’s. There are some previews at the end of this DVD.

We begin at Skagway. Elevation is sea level. The line climbs to White Pass. Elevation over 2800 feet. The journey continues to Fraser, BC. That seems to be the end of the line.

This is a narrow gauge line. It was built in 1896. Purpose, was to serve the gold rush in the area. The terrain is very rugged. Mountains and steep canyons. The smaller footprint of the narrow gauge snakes it’s way through. It will cling to a mountainside. You will see how earlier snow has left some challenges, that are now under control.

Spectacular scenery along the line. Some interesting engineering feats too. The wooden trestle that enters a tunnel is a model railroader’s delight! As the train climbs to the higher elevations, the snow pack is more prevalent.

A brief look at the yard facilities offers glimpses of the two steam locomotives that are still on the property. The custom built diesels are odd looking ones. Remind me of those strange looking Australian engines.

There is a chapter menu. On a show this short, you won’t be needing it. There is a toggle for on/ off narration. Either method is enjoyable. There are no maps. I would have preferred a route map. To see the lines twisting trackage. An elevation map would have been very fitting. It’s all about the climb upwards to White Pass. Some on screen graphics give location and elevation. Again, maps would have made those references, more  meaningful.

The train ride includes a good chunk of time in the locomotive cab. Outside of some beautiful exterior views, the front end view rules. You really get the feel of traversing this line. Sans narration has unedited sounds. Seemed like there was some extra radio traffic this way.

I have noticed that Les Jarrett always does an excellent narrative. That is certainly the case here. he gives some good background on the history of the line. He also describes the current scene.

This is a good choice for the entire family. Your woman, and even non train head people, will find pleasurable viewing, in this wild and untamed country of Alaska.

Rating: 4 Stars

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