Water and Fuel Support at Glacier. The 2011 White Pass Rotary Run would not have been possible without the assistance of several dozen support personnel and multiple work trains bringing supplies up the hill. Eleven years into the 21st Century, the infrastructure to support 3 steam engines in the wilderness of Alaska and British Columbia is pretty much non-existent. Diesel-powered work trains were needed to haul and position water and fuel tankers in strategic places, and to bring up heavy equipment such as bulldozers and backhoes, to support the rotary plow train.
One such strategic location is the spot you see here. This is Glacier Siding, just about 14 miles out of Skagway and 6 miles from White Pass Station. On each day of the operation, the Rotary Fleet would stop here to top off their supplies of fuel and water before beginning their assault on the "Canadian Concrete" at the top of the hill. Here, the fleet is seen pulling into Glacier, as viewed from the back platform of our passenger train. The train's "pit crew" can be seen on the extreme right, standing next to the water tanker. Shortly, the train will stop and fire hoses will be hoisted to the tenders of Rotary #1, as well as Locomotives #73 and #69. Pumps will then be started and while they wait for the tanks to fill, the crews will inspect and lubricate their equipment. Although the White Pass Crew had not run the rotary in several years, they functioned like a well-oiled machine during this event. Clearly, they'd planned the operation well. Not only that, but the 113 year-old rotary performed flawlessly too. Over the course of 4 days, this machine ran as hard as it ever did back in the day, and had no mechanical failures and no derailments.....although I did see it hop up and down a time or two as it collided with that "Canadian Concrete."