Photos from J. D. True's

White Pass & Yukon

Photo Collection

Photo scans provided courtesy of

Northbush Publications

P.O.Box 5457

Whitehorse, Yukon

Y1A 2T3


The photos below were used in this book published by Northbush Publications. Buy the book here.

J.D. True's appointment as General Road Foreman of steam engines.

All picture captions in green type were written by J. D. True

Notes in black type are by Bruce Pryor

Space for this page is provided by Railfan Net


At Bennett in 1982 with Anna, my wife, on the inaugural run for Engine 73, brought back into service after 20 years in retirement.

This is me on the Alaska Railroad during WWII. I am firing for Engineer Bill Frederick. The engine was a U.S. Army Consolidated 2-8-0. At the time I was a soldier in the 714th Railway Battalion.

J.D. True as Engineer on Number 73, first pusher on Rotary Fleet

Engineer Joe Shelby, Fireman Emil Maki.


J.D. True (on left) in 1949.

Who is on the right?

Part of a ten-man Rotary Fleet crew in 1946, waiting at Glacier Station for the southbound train to go by.

Standing, Mickey Mulvihill, Occie Selmer, J.L.McVey, Tad Hillary.

Seated, Howard Ballinger, Charlie Rapuzzi, Cy Richter, Howard Johnson.


Skagway waterfront during World War II. *1

Skagway during the war. *1

Engine 71 on turntable. Engine behind is probably 66. At the left is the Fordson tractor shop switcher.

Southbound arriving at Skagway.

The coal bunkers in Skagway. Capacity 2000 tons. Dump cars were pulled up the incline by cable and pulleys with a locomotive. Engines were fueled at side chutes. *3

Number 4, Purchased from Klondike Mines Railway in Dawson, Yukon, in 1942. Used in yard service, sold about 1950.

The steam power soon after retirement, August 22, 1963.

Photo taken from atop the fuel tank north of the roundhouse. *5

This photo is set up. Ordinarily, the engines go into the roundhouse cab first. May 17, 1963.

Some locomotives do not yet have the Thunderbird emblem. Both versions of the green/yellow cab-front vee are shown. *5

Leaving Skagway sometime before 1965 with a load of containers, three to each flatcar. *5

A train of palletized ore. Note the stub-rail switches. July 12, 1963. 40 cars, 1061 tons.

Southbound entering Skagway. The shops are in the upper left corner of the photo behind the dust cloud. *4

Scenes along the way

Current photo of 14 car passenger train, south by Pitchfork Falls.

The great glacier loop from about 12 Mile to 16 Mile.

Going north through 16 tunnel. *1

Northbound across 18A bridge. The covered turntable at north end was used to turn engines after negotiating a switchback before the bridge was built.

Engine 73 passenger train going across 18A bridge. *3

Southbound along Lake Bennett near 62 Mile, McDonald Creek. *1


Lake Bennett

Passenger train in Bennett during 1950's.

Six units ready to leave Bennett southbound. The trains kept getting longer with diesels.

Bennett Station eating house, May, 1964 *5

Leaving Bennett southbound with 90 class on a freight train.



Whitehorse during the war. *1


The Rotary Fleet plowing their way around Fraser Loop. March 1962 *5

Rotary Fleet headed North along Fraser Lake. *1

Plowing deep snow during WWII. *1

A D&RG (Denver & Rio Grande) engine snowed in and stuck during WWII. *1

Rotary 3 fron Denver & Rio Grande, just before being buried in riverbank at about 5-mile to protect the roadbed. This Rotary arrived in Skagway in February, 1943 when both Rotary 1 and Rotary 2 were snowed in and stuck. I was the first to fire #3 for Engineer Rapuzzi as we went to rescue the other Rotaries. *5


Rotary fleet at south end of Fraser Loop, waiting for northbound train to go by. March, 1962 *5

Digging around a rock to drag it out before the Rotary can plow through the slide. A close look shows the Rotary hood but it is into the bank on the right side so perhaps it is derailed. World War II period. *1

Southbound freight stopped for setting retainers at White Pass before descending the four percent grade. Retainers hold a certain amount of brake cylinder pressure after releasing train brakes to allow time to recharge the brake pipe.


A view of the train burning near 90 mile. August, 1947 *2

Another view of a derailment near mile 90 in 1947. Several cars burned although a tank car of gasoline didn't burn. I was fireman on this one. *2

Engine 70 on her side near Mile 82 in 1940, caused by an open stub switch. Engineer--Ray Gault, Conductor--Chris Larson, Fireman--Jess Wallace, Brakeman--Mickey Mulvihill. *2

The 1940 derailment of Engine 70 at 82 Mile. *2

Jess Wallace and Roy Gault standing by the 1940 derailed Engine 70. *2

At 28 Mile in 1955. J.D. True, Engineer. Engine 70 was a helper just ahead of passenger equipment. Some flatcars loaded with ore derailed ahead of Engine 70; wrecked the track so badly that when Engine 70 got there, she layed over real easy. *5

Midwinter, 1951. Pushing into the depot in Skagway. Frost had lifted a guardrail on the crossing just enough for the plow of Engine 70 to catch just right to roll over on its side. J. L. McVey was Engineer, Del Cox the fireman. This engine was on its side in 1940 and here in 1951 and again in 1955. Now it is in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, at Dollywood and still running. *5

A snowslide in 1948 pushed Engine 72 over and buried Engineer Mark Lee and Fireman Richard Sullivan. Had to dig them out. Engine 72 with train was coupled to Rotary caboose which was demolished. The two brakemen riding in the cupola were carried far into the canyon but not injured much because of the deep snow. Mickey Mulvihill, Conductor, was buried under the demolished caboose but was found to be almost unhurt after he was rescued.

Another view of Engine 72 pushed over by slide and cab filled with snow

Diesel 95 that I rode down the mountainside on June 24, 1965. The engine rolled then stopped on a ledge about 250 feet down. Eight cars of lead and silver ore followed. I broke my pelvis and was off work six and a half months.

Diesel 93 skidded 1000 feet to the river and formed a bridge. Both engines were pulled out several months later and sent to CPR Ogden shops in Calgary. Alberta, for rebuild. They came back into service in 1968 and I was the first to run them.

Photo credits

*1 Mulvifoto Collection, U.S. Army photos

*2 Mulvifoto Collection, L.C.Gault photos

*3 Mulvifoto Collection, F. L. Jacques photos

*4 Mulvifoto Collection, C Mulvihill photos

*5 Mulvifoto Collection, photographers unknown

All others from J. D. True Collection, photographers unknown