Posted from Jasper, Alberta.
(The following was written shortly after departing Winnipeg yesterday. I am posting this from Jasper while wrestling with a balky internet connection. Lovely day here … temperature is 75 degrees, a very welcome change. One update: there is word among the VIA crew that VIA management may be reconsidering the proposed limiting of seating in the Park Cars to Prestige Class passengers. Certainly the crews would hate having to police that.)
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The next leg of this trans-Canada trip is from Winnipeg to Jasper … from the flatlands to the mountains. The Canadian, when running on time, takes a four-hour breather in Winnipeg. Still, there is a lot going on.
There is a crew change here. Once underway, we’ll have two new engineers up in the head end and all new service personnel–car attendants, chefs and servers in the dining car, new attendants for the lounge cars, and a new service manager who’s in charge of everything within the train.
It’s cold this morning in Winnipeg, although probably not by local standards. But it’s overcast and there’s a gusty and that discourages any strolling around this part of the city. I did walk tw blocks to the Hotel Fort Geary where I spent a couple of nights a few years ago, It’s close the the station and was, in fact, built by the railroad. It is, in a word, wonderful … retaining the refinement and class of The Golden Age.
We arrived on time at 8:00 a.m. and we’ll be here until our scheduled departure time of noon. Some of the passengers have taken off on an hour-long tour of the city which VIA Rail offers at no charge; others have stayed aboard and are relaxing in their accommodations or talking quietly in the lounge car with other passengers.
I was chatting with one of the other passengers in the lounge car this morning when we discovered quite by accident that he reads these posts. That has happened occasionally–I run into people on the train who read the blog or have read my book. It’s a sobering experience, for some reason. Makes me resolve to be more careful … more accurate.
In the course of conversations about train travel over the past couple of days, two people on the train have mentioned the wonderful web site, The Man in Seat 61. It is, as far as I’m concerned, the best single on-line source of information about passenger trains anywhere in the world and it would appear that the word has gotten around.