White Pass Station: The Rotary Fleet takes the lead. On the 3rd day of the 2011 White Pass Rotary Run, most of the really heavy plowing around White Pass Station and Canadian Shed had been completed. The mission for this day was to continue north toward Fraser, BC, and possibly as far as Bennett, depending on how much snow was encountered. On the 20-mile run up the hill from Skagway, our diesel-powered chase train led the way, making a few stops on the hill, to allow photographers to shoot the rotary fleet from above....which yielded some spectacular scenes. As we arrived at White Pass Station however, it was time for our chase train to take the siding and let the plow train take the lead. In this scene, the rotary fleet charges through White Pass Station, just past the US/Canada border. Leading the way is the 1898-vintage White Pass Rotary #1. Pushing from behind are White Pass Locomotives #73, a 2-8-2 Mikado, and #69, a 2-8-0 Consolidation. Both engines are original White Pass steamers. The "caboose" on this train is Combine #211, a cupola-equipped combi car, built for Oregon's Sumpter Valley Railway, which came here during WWII.
Of special note is the "armored" cab on Rotary #1. Unlike the rotary plows on the D&RGW in the lower 48, this plow has long since had its wooden cab replaced with a heavy-gauge steel cab. The White Pass folks learned from experience that the ROW from Skagway to White Pass is prone to rock-slides and avalanches. Given that the rotary plow was more likely than any other piece of railroad equipment to trigger such an event, the railroad decided that the crew needed better protection than any wooden cab could offer. This rotary is indeed quite a "war-wagon", weighing in at 154,000 lbs, she's heavier than either of the two locomotives that are pushing her. Another interesting factoid is that the White Pass does not refer to this work train as a "Rotary Outfit." Rather, they exclusively use the term "Rotary Fleet" when referring to their plow train.