|Train depot as we were pulling away|
Before the train got started the narrator gave us some directions and safety instructions, including how to access the platform of the rail car.. Then we were off! We quickly gained altitude as the train wound up the mountain. The scenery was spectacular.
Along the way the narrator told us about the history of the area. He also alerted us to things to look for out of the windows. I learned that the railroad began construction in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. It stopped operations in 1982, but reopened for tourists in 1988.
The train made a stop at Bennett, British Columbia, which was a thriving town back in the gold rush days. Now there's an interpretive center,and a short self-guided walking tour. Shortly after we got back on the train lunch arrived--turkey sandwiches, chips, fruit, and a blondie.
Because we were crossing into Canada, at the border the train stopped to let Customs agents board and check passports. (On the return trip the bus driver also stopped at the border, but the officials only wanted to see his paperwork.)
Our trip ended at Carcross, Yukon, another gold rush town. The small area around the train depot had a handful of tourist stores mixed in among the historical buildings. At the appointed time we found our bus driver, who had driven up to meet us, and began the trip back. When we got back to Skagway the driver offered to drop us off so we could see a little bit of the city. I enjoyed walking around the vintage Skagway business district. We stopped in a couple of stores and bought souvenirs before walking back to the ship.