This Rare WII Footage From 1942 Shows Alaska Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

Talk about a blast from the past! When we look around at all of our modern amenities and easy-to-come-by luxury items, it’s easy to forget about what life was like over 70 years ago (especially for those of us that weren’t born yet). But when all is said and done, it’s so important to remember where we came from and to celebrate those that fought to defend our freedom – even before we came into this wild world.

This footage documents the Alaska Railroad being re-opened by the U.S. Army during World War 2. Skagway, most famously known from it’s Klondike Gold Rush days, made the news again. It’s port was opened as a supply line for troops guarding the arctic outpost. Ships poured in with supplies to assure that the front line fighters were well nourished. The Yukon Railroad which had recently became operated by the U.S. Army, heads for a point on the Alaska truck highway.

A minimum of three engines were needed to make the trip through the winding, steep mountain terrain carrying hundreds of pounds of supplies for the troops. The area was said to be one of the steepest railroad treks in the entire world. As you’ll see, the heavy loads go over scarce bridges and it makes you cringe thinking about how unstable those support beams likely were over 70 years ago. The train would go deep into the heart of the Yukon Territory where trucks would transport freight to Alaska for the WWII troops. It’s so unique to see that relationship between Canada and America play out in the footage. It is also incredibly humbling to see how much our transportation gateways as well as our automobiles have evolved over the last 70 years.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:

Do you love accessing Alaska via the railroad? Check out these 6 epic train rides in the last frontier that will give you a truly unforgettable experience.