White Pass & Yukon

WP&Y's newest power was delivered during 2020 in a very uncharacteristic black with white stripes livery. After a full year of operation, the NRE E3000CCs were repainted into the railroad's traditional green and gold. The #3002 with one of several daily excursion trains departs Skagway in July 2023. (Bill Rettberg photo)

Deemed a historic civil engineering marvel, the narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon route began operation in 1898. Today, it stretches 110 miles from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory. Since their arrival in the mid-1950s, General Electric's "shovelnose" locomotives have been the iconic face of the railroad for eight decades. Distinctive in their current green and yellow garb, the GEs have hauled millions of visitors over the internationally famous rail line.

For many years, the White Pass fleet of GEs consisted of eleven six-axle road units (#90-100) which varied in weight from 84 to 86-tons. With the installation of Cummins QSK45L replacement engines during the 2008-2011 timeframe, initial specifications may have changed. Two 25-ton industrial-type switchers, along with a small Plymouth augmented the road units. The most notable GE on the roster was a one-of-a-kind 76-ton, dual-gauge end-cab built for the U.S. Army as #3000.

A group of 10 Montreal Locomotive Works-built DL535Es (#101-110) were acquired new in 1969 and constituted the rest of the WP&Y roster for nearly 25 years. The MLWs featured a 1200-hp, 6-cylinder 251 engine designed by Alco, and they resembled a scaled-down version of the mid-1960s proposed (but never built) low-nose Alco Century 620. The acquisition of Bombardier- built DL535E #114 in 1996 was the railroad's final motive power acquisition during the 20th Century.

The most recent change in WP&Y motive power occurred during 2020 with the addition of six E3000CC-DC which were developed by National Railway Equipment. The 2500-hp newcomers wore a dip-black livery with white lettering and a large red waist band. A recent report suggests that one or more of the NREX locos were repainted into the standard green and yellow scheme.

New: 1 August 2023

WP&Y #100

GE shovelnose #100's tenure on the WP&Y spanned more than thirty years. During the early 1970s, the six-axle unit shed a standard green and yellow livery for a blue and white which by June 1980 was looking shabby. (William Madden photo at Whitehorse / Krambles-Peterson collection)

WP&Y #94

By the mid-1980s, the White Pass was experimenting with another locomotive wardrobe. This June 1994 shot caught GE 86-tonner #94 on the point of a match set of shovels returning to Skagway after a long excursion to the railroad's northern terminus. (Joseph Blackwell photo)

WP&Y #98

With the arrival of new E3000CCs, several of the slant-nose GEs were deemed surplus and placed on the sales block. As of April 2023, #98, along with sisters 90 and 94, were the only shovel-nose units remaining on the roster. (R. Craig photo)

WP&Y #104

Alco #104 spent 23 years working on the White Pass prior to being sold in 1992 to a Columbian railroad (S.A.); the 1200-hp loco returned to WP&Y in 1999. In July 2018, the six-axle loco was spotted returning to Skagway with a cruise train. (R. Craig photo)

WP&Y #114

Bombardier-built DL 535E ex-U.S. Gypsum #114 spent 14 years working at the corporation's sprawling facilities in California. It joined Alaska's northern-tier railroad in 1996. (Deane Motis photo)

WP&Y #81

WP&Y #81 (ex-US Army #3000) was a one-of-a-kind experiment. Designed for cold weather (-50 degrees), the multi-gauge 76-tonner worked for the WP&Y roster between 1973 and 1980. (Bryan Saul photo)

WP&Y #3006

Confronted with a motive power roster of aging locomotives, White Pass purchased six new 2500-hp E3000CC-DCs from builder National Railroad Equipment; they were delivered during 2020. Four of the newcomers had originally been ordered by Australia's Qube Railroad but cancelled. (Mike Castellow photo)

Ex-WP&Y #101

In addition to the 90-series GEs, the new NRE E3000CC-DCs displaced four of WP&Y's DL535s. Fortunately for fans, the MLWs were purchased by the Durango & Silverton of Colorado. The #107 shown here was among the first to receive a classy new paint job. (Lance R. Myers photo at Durango in October 2022)

WP&Y (Ex-SFT) #103

WPY sold five DL535Es to Societad Colombiana de Transporte Ferroviario (STF) in 1992; all five were re-purchased by the White Pass route seven years later. Prior to being returned to Alaska in July 1999; the MLWs underwent appreciable mechanical repairs. Photographed in early Fall of that same year, the #103 still wears the Colombian railroad's attire. One report indicated the five locos saw limited service because they were too heavy. An in-country source said the MLWs were used extensively in ore trains service. (Dean Motis photo in September 1999)

WP&Y #1

Built by General Electric, White Pass's #One-Spot arrived in December 1970 after spending 23 years working for Colorado Fuel & Iron. The 25-ton locomotive was one of three critters on the far northwestern frontier's 36"-gauge rail line. The others were a companion GE 25-tonner also built in 1947, and a lone ML-6 built by Fate, Root & Heath (Plymouth). The 35-ton Plymouth was military surplus, ex-US Army 7651; it was destroyed by fire in October 1969. (Bryan Saul photo)

Reference Sources:

  • "All Aboard !" history pamphlet by WP&Y
  • Flickr.com
  • Rail Pictures.net
  • RRPicturesArchives.net
  • Train Orders.com (internet forum)

White Pass & Yukon

All-Time Diesel Roster

Prepared by: R. Craig

Bill Rettberg photo
Reporting Mark: WPY
Revised: 21 July 2023
Model Road No. Builder & Date Serial No. Notes
84-Tonner 90-91 GE - 5/1954 32060-32061 Shovelnose; #90 reblt in 2008 by replacing Alco 6-cyl. 251 engine with a Cummins V12
86-Tonner 92-94 GE - 12/1956 32709-32711 Shovelnose; #94 reblt in 2009 by replacing Alco 6-cyl. 251 engine with a Cummins V12
84-Tonner 95-97 GE - 3/1963 34592-34594 Shovelnose, rebuilt in 2009
85-Tonner 98-99 GE - 5/1966 35790-35791 Shovelnose; #98 reblt in 2008 by replacing Alco 6-cyl. 251 engine with a Cummins V12
DL535E 104 MLW - 5/1969 6023-4 --
109 & 110 MLW - 5/1969 6054-1 to 3 -
114 MLW - 7/1982 6123-04 Acquired in 1995.
E3000CC-DC 3001 & 3002 NRE 3/20 278-3001, 278-3002 Delivered
3003 & 3004 NRE 6/20 278-3003, 278-3004 Delivered
3005 & 3006 NRE 9/20 274-3005, 274-3005 Delivered
* * * Retirements / Dispositions * * *
1-2 25-Tonner GE - 6/1947 29191, 29195 Ex-Colorado Fuel & Iron 6 and 10
3 ML-6 Plym - 7/1942 4471 Ex-U.S. Army 7651
81 76-Tonner GE - 6/1957 32933 Built as US Army #USA 3000; tested on the D&RG 1957-1960. Sold to the WP&YR 1973; later sold to the "Cia de Desarrollo Bananero de Guatemala" railroad.
100 85-Tonner GE - 5/1966 35792 Shovelnose
101-103 DL535E MLW - 5/1969 6023-1 to 3 #101 & 103 sold to Durango & Silverton; #102 destroyed in roundhouse fire
105-107 DL535E MLW - 5/1969 6023-5 to 7 #105 destroyed in roundhouse fire; #106 & 107 sold to Durango & Silverton
108 DL535E MLW - 5/1969 6023-8 Sold ???
111-114 DL535E MLW - 7/1982 6123-01 to 03 -
#111-114 were built for WP&Y, but not delivered to the railroad. #112 and 113 sold instead to US Gypsum in 1991, followed by the #111 in 1993.

X2200 South Locomotive Newsletter and Trains Magazine (10/2009), pages 49-53

Additional Sources / corrections: Martin Baumann, R. Craig, Mike Castellow, and Jason Vance

Original upload 12 December 2014

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