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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-23-2011, 06:11 AM
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Default Alaska shore excursion: White Pass Scenic Railway
This summer we'll do the Alaska cruise from Anchorage to Vancouver on the Diamond Princess.

I have a question about the "White Pass Scenic Railway" excursion from Skagway and I hope someone here has done this before and can answer it for me.

The White Pass Scenic Railway excursion is supposed to be a 3 1/2 hr trip and the itinerary says:
- train from pier to White Pass Summit: Travel time: 01:35
- summit & engines move from the north to south end: Travel time: 00:20
- southbound journey back to Skagway & the cruise ship pier:Travel time: 01:35

The excursion is available at 8.10 AM, 12.40 PM and 4.30 PM

We would like to take the last one, giving us time to have a relaxed breakfast and explore Skagway town before we leave for the train.

But now I see there's 3 1/2 hours scheduled 8.10AM -11.40PM and 12.40PM -04.10PM, but only 3 hours for the 04.30PM - 07.30PM trip.

Does this make the 4.30 PM the wrong choice?
How can there be a 30 minute difference on the same route?
Is the train going faster? Is it skipping something?

Does anyone know this?
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:13 PM
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I can't tell you about the time difference, but I will recommend the middle time for the trip. You will have plenty of time to explore the town when you get back.
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Old 05-23-2011, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by susanmaz View Post
I can't tell you about the time difference, but I will recommend the middle time for the trip. You will have plenty of time to explore the town when you get back.
I thought the light would be better (for photos) towards the end of the day than in the middle of the afternoon.

Can you tell me why you recommend the middle time?
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Old 05-24-2011, 12:49 PM
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When we did our train trip, the morning trip up the valley was foggy and drizzly. When we returned in the afternoon, the temperature was starting to cool. We are amateur picture takers, so don't know much about what the light differences would be - there are quite a few photographers on this forum - hopefully they'll be able to help you with that question. Whichever you choose - you should have a wonderful trip up to the summit - - it's beautiful and something we still talk about. Enjoy your cruise. Susan
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:55 PM
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went on the White Pass scenic RR last summer. took some great pictures while on the viewing platform as train was moving! you never would know what was around the next bend; i managed to get quite a few pictures of waterfalls, flora and fauna.
town is small and easily navigated in an hour or two unless you are a hard-core shopper. lots of jewelry stores. don't know why last train offered is less time.
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Old 06-13-2011, 08:22 AM
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Susanmaz has a great point. If there is fog in the morning, it will usually burn off by mid-day. It's not always foggy, but there is always the chance it will be.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:16 PM
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Just got back on our 4th trip to Alaska....3rd time on the White Pass Railroad...

It's wonderful....we've always taken the early morning trip....never had a problem...

We've been on the Train in May, June and September...I prefer May because there is still a lot of snow up on the mountains...The train will come right down to the ship, so there is little walk involved....Have a great trip....anytime in Alaska is a great time...You can be great pictures by standing outside between the cars....

Bob E
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
How can there be a 30 minute difference on the same route?
Is the train going faster? Is it skipping something?
This just occurred to me. Is it possible that the 8:10 and 12:40 tours meet somewhere on the ship, whereas the 4:30 departure meets at the train depot near/on the pier? That could account for some of the time difference as meeting off-ship eliminates the wait for tours to be called and the wait to get off the ship. Just a thought...
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Old 07-05-2011, 01:18 PM
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Just saw some replies were added after may...

I have the answer to my question by now. I mailed the railroad company and they told me:

The only difference is that there are fewer trains on the rail (one vs up to five before 4:30 pm) and so the train can travel just a bit faster and the turnaround time is less.

So we're happy to keep our 4.30 PM departure time and are looking forward to the trip.
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Old 07-09-2011, 06:35 AM
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Thank you for the follow-up. That makes a lot of sense. Enjoy.... it is truly spectacular!
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alaska, anchorage, bus, excursion, excursions, pass, princess, rail, railroad, railway, review, reviews, scenic, skagway, white, whitepass

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