November 19, 2008
SKAGWAY, AK – White Pass Invests in a Locomotive Modernization Program
The White Pass and Yukon Route (WP&YR) announced today its commitment to re-power its fleet of 11 GE 90-class locomotives. The first two WP&YR locomotives, numbers 90 and 98, were sent to Coast Engine and Equipment Co. (CEECO) in Tacoma, Washington at the end of this year’s operating season and are expected to be back in Skagway by May of 2009.
Gary C. Danielson, President of the WP&YR said, “The GE’s are the oldest of our diesel locomotives, built between 1954 and 1966, and are our “signature” engines. This multi-million dollar initiative will be one of the largest expenditures in the history of the company and in this time of economic uncertainty, it shows our commitment to the long term sustainability and growth of the company.” Danielson said the 11 locomotives should be completed by the 2012 operating season.
The new locomotives will be re-classed as CERES 140’s, which stands for Controlled Emissions Repower Systems. When completed the White Pass & Yukon Route will have one of the most modern, safe and environmentally friendly locomotive fleets in the world.
Danielson added, “The Company chose CEECO for the project as they have worked closely with us over the past several years, most recently with the rebuild of engine #114. They understand our needs and have the suppliers and expertise to ensure the success of this project.
For 2½ years, the White Pass has been working with CEECO on an engine design specific to our operating needs and together decided on Cummins Engine in the United Kingdom as the supplier of the engines.
The engines will supply 60% more horsepower and will still increase fuel efficiency by over 30%. The new engines will reduce 80% of stack emissions and eliminate all visual emissions. They will eliminate all hazardous waste oil and reduce other hazardous waste products such as filters by 90%. They will meet or exceed all EPA regulations now and into the foreseeable future. The new engines are of a modular design, which will simplify maintenance and reduce repair time.
Control functions will be CEE-Trac Microprocessors, which will provide up to 30% more tractive effort for a higher horse power to weight ratio. These controls will reduce wear and overheating of electrical components and increase life of rail and track structure and eliminate unnecessary idling time. The electronic control systems will also increase the safety and handling functions of the locomotive.
“What this all means is that we will increase the efficiency, effectiveness, capacity and reliability of our locomotive fleet”, Danielson concluded.
The White Pass & Yukon Route narrow gauge railway was built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush and is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark – a designation shared with icons like the Panama Canal, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. The WP&YR is Alaska’s most popular shore excursion and North America’s busiest tourist railroad, carrying 437,660 passengers in 2008.
Gary C. Danielson
Phone: (907) 983-2214
Fax: (907) 983-2017