STEAM returned to the Whitepass and Yukon Railroad in Alaska this summer, with Baldwin-built 2-8-2 No. 73 re-entering service on July 15.
The loco was bought new from Baldwin in 1947 (Works No. 73352) and withdrawn in 1964. It was restored back to working order in 1982, and has been in use over recent decades, but was in need of a thorough overhaul.
The loco was taken several hundred miles south by barge from Skagway to Washington State, where the Newell Corporation in Arlington completely overhauled it.
The Whitepass and Yukon Railroad has another steam loco – Baldwin built 2-8-0 No. 69 – but this has not been in use since 2013
No. 73 has been in use hauling the ‘Fraser Meadows’ train, which crosses the Canadian border into the Yukon Territory.
The train runs around a balloon loop at Fraser and runs nonstop while in Canada, meaning passports and immigration formalities are not required. A round trip ticket in 2019 season was $170.
The 54-mile return trip runs up to four times a week, taking around four hours, climbing 3,000ft on the outward journey.
The steam season ended on September 13.
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