The Klondike Gold Rush, the greatest gold rush the world has ever known, brought thousands of gold seekers north to the Yukon. Some visionary entrepreneurs saw other opportunitiesm and fuelled by the railway fever infecting North America, they brought the Iron Horse here also. The first tracks and trains serviced the needs of the miners, providing much needed coal for heating the long cold winter nights. And another entrepreneur saw the railway as a way to extract the gold faster.
But the exhilaration of the gold rush faded as fast as it boomed. There little railways, despire their promise, where short-lived, although many reminders are left behind. Of the eight locomotives purchased for the railways, six are preserved in museums and collections from Alaska to Ontario. The sites of all three railways are now National Historic Sites.
Eric Johnson has published two previous books on railways in the north: The Bonanza Narrow Gauge - The Story of the Klondike Mines Railway and The Sea-to-Sky Gold Rush Route - A Guide to the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. Both titles are now out of print.