September 25, 2003
White Pass & Yukon Route Makes History with a Record 2003 Year
SKAGWAY, AK – The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad (WP&YR) proudly announced today it has ended the 2003 season with a new annual ridership record of 348,559 revenue passengers — breaking the old record of 318,993 established in 2001.
Gary C. Danielson, President of the WP&YR stated that, “This new benchmark for ridership is testament to the many accomplishments of our team at White Pass and our brand value in the marketplace. We responded to changing market conditions with new and innovative marketing programs. And working with industry partners, our people delivered a unique and authentic experience to our riders and did it safely and efficiently.”
White Pass continues to invest in its future. For this season, White Pass completed a $3.5 million expansion of the railroad dock to accommodate the world-class vessels coming to Alaska and completed the restoration of steam locomotive No.73 at a cost of $500,000. For 2004, White Pass has committed to purchase 8 new railcars and begin restoring steam locomotive No.69, a 1907 Baldwin that was the largest steam locomotive ever built for the White Pass Railroad.
Danielson added, “We’re expecting an even better year next year. The tourism markets are expected to rebound, the cruise industry is expanding capacity and we’ll have an additional 8 passenger coaches to help meet the demand.”
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 the Panama Canal, the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. The WP&YR railroad is Alaska’s most popular shore excursion.