Last week I found myself in Skagway on a cruise ship stop and hopped a ride on the White Pass & Yukon railroad. This railroad was a vital connection between the Pacific and the Yukon River gold fields. It starts in Skagway, the most northeast corner of the Alaskan Inside Passage, goes through the White Pass and then makes it to Whitehorse, Canada where it connects to the Yukon River system.
Today the White Pass and Yukon is a tourist railroad that provides a beautiful narrow gauge railroad ride through White Pass and has some of the steepest railroad grades and dramatic mountain rail engineering in the world, but, besides that, it was also a major player in the development of intermodal transportation.
A recent bit in the news announced that the "Exxon Valdez" in its present incarnation as the "Oriental Nicety" is bound for the scrap yard.
It is easy to think of the "Exxon Valdez" as some villainous symbol in the drama of the oil spill in Alaska, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, then there is the rest of the story.