Last year the Whitepass and Yukon Route Railway (WPYR) carried 382,000 passengers, mainly from cruise ships at Skagway. Will WPYR reach 400,000 passengers this season ?
During the 2011 tourist season (May through September), Whitepass transported 382,000 passengers (368,000 passengers in 2010), primarily from cruise ships that docked in Skagway. Cruise ships account for 90% of the passengers, while bus or airline package tours and independent travellers comprise the remainder. Passangers can also board the train at Fraser B.C. and at Carcross, Yukon.
White Pass’ principal revenue sources are passenger revenue from rail operations (approximately 75%), dock operations (approximately 20%) and gift shop sales (approximately 5%).
The railway was constructed by White Pass during the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898/1899 and completed in 1900. From 1900 until 1982, it was used for the carriage of general freight, ore concentrates, petroleum products and passengers. Railway operations were suspended in 1982 when the Cyprus Anvil mine shut down. The South Klondike Highway between Whitehorse and Skagway, subsequently constructed in 1985, transferred the transportation of ore concentrates from rail to road service. The railway reopened in 1988 and has since been operating as a seasonal passenger tourism railway.
The White Pass railway stretches for a distance of approximately 177 kilometres (110 miles) from Skagway, Alaska through part of British Columbia to Whitehorse, Yukon and currently operates 110
km (67.5 mi) of track during the tourist operating season. The track from Carcross to Whitehorse has not been functional since the early 1980s. WPYR revenues were about $36 M in 2011.
Clublink Enterprises Limited (ticker CLK on the TSX) acquired White Pass in 1997. Clublink owns about 30 golf courses in southern Ontario, 10 in Florida. It earns more than 80% of its revenue from golf courses.
WPYR should reach 400,000 passengers this year. Whitepass continues to thrive in a tough economic climate.