Minor Glitches, But Ready to Depart for Toronto.
VANCOUVER, B.C.–It’s the time of year when mudslides occur on Amtrak’s Cascades’ route between Seattle and Vancouver. Last night, from my hotel room, I called Amtrak and was told that because of a mudslide just north of Seattle, we would be bused to Everett, Washington, where we would transfer to the train.
This morning, at King Street Station, it was a different story: another mudslide had occurred and this one was just over the Canadian border near the town of White Rock. We would, therefore, be put aboard the dreaded “alternate transportation” and it would take us all the way to Vancouver. Swell.
If you know anyone who still says climate change isn’t true, tell them to talk to people up here. There is no snow. Not in Seattle and not in Vancouver. Yesterday, the Seattle papers were full of breast-beating by the ski facilities and it’s as bad or worse here in Vancouver. There has been almost no snow and whatever there was has long since melted away. There has been rain, however. A lot of it. Enough so that fields are flooded, the ground is soggy … and mega-tons of mud and muck are sliding down hillsides and covering railroad tracks.
One more minor disappointment: none of VIA Rail’s newly renovated Prestige Class Sleeper equipment is here, and none will be part of Train #2’s consist that I’ll be on tonight. I was hoping to get photos, but that will not be possible. (Hell … I was hoping to ride in one of those renovated cars!) It seems that a large group of train travel enthusiasts organized by TRAINS magazine are on the consist that went out of here at the end of last week. Quite appropriately, VIA made the decision to give them a chance to experience to newly renovated sleepers.
Finally, VIA is now using what those of us in the marketing business would call a positioning line for their premier Vancouver-Toronto train: “A MORE HUMAN WAY TO TRAVEL”. I couldn’t agree more … especially after that red-eye Delta flight to Seattle.
OK, I’m about to head off to dinner with dear friends, then to the station where VIA Rail will hold a nice little welcoming reception for passengers on Train #2. We depart at 8:30 and by 10:00 I will be sound asleep in my cabin between crisp, clear sheets and under a nice thick comforter. And there will be snow when I wake up.