The Dyea-Klondike Transportation Company first entered into the commerce of the Chilkoot trail in late September 1897, when it claimed a wharf site along the west side of the Taiya Inlet, three miles south of Dyea.30 The company was headquartered in Portland, Oregon, and its intention was to operate a coordinated transportation system over Chilkoot Pass. Plans originally called for a dock to receive goods in Dyea. From there, a "narrow gauge tramroad with cars like those used in the mines" was proposed to head up the pass. At the end of the line, an aerial tramway was proposed. In December 1897, it was claimed (perhaps too optimistically) that the company "has two 5,000 foot cables up side by side which run on a 20% grade. The cable used weights 1½ pounds to the foot." Construction of the line was expected to be completed on March 1, 1898.31
Based upon those ambitious plans, construction proceeded. Work commenced at the wharf, and by the fall of 1897, press releases announced that construction was well underway. A huge boiler and adjoining dynamo, which were destined to power the system may have been moved up to Canyon City by this time.32 Soon after the company's initial push, however, progress slowed. In late December, it was reported that DKT president Thomas I. Nowell encountered financial reversals in local mining ventures.33 He was therefore forced to leave the firm. The reorganized company had fewer monetary resources.
The company apparently anticipated the financial crunch, and by early December, its officers recognized that the competing tramway line (the CR&T) was also under construction. Therefore, the company made more modest efforts.34 It planned, and eventually implemented, a tramway that went only between the Scales and the summit of Chilkoot Pass. Instead of a tramroad, it chose horses to carry goods up the lower part of the trail.35 The power plant at Canyon City, which had earlier been planned to propel the tram road, was instead projected to power a bucket-type tramway system. Electricity from the power plant was to be conveyed to the Scales by means of a seven mile power line.36