Trans-Canada Trip (Continued)
To recap, these are some of the photos I took when writing a magazine article documenting my 4000-mile train trip across Canada, from Halifax on the Atlantic to Vancouver on the Pacific. This is the third posting with perhaps one more to go.
The Canadian is arriving in Winnipeg. That large building is the city’s railway station. Built in 1904, it’s a landmark in this wonderful (but very cold) city. Our train is about to come to a stop in the station. We’ll be here for a few hours, while the train is restocked with supplies. The last time I was in Winnipeg, I caught the VIA train, Hudson Bay, for the ride 1100 miles due north to the town of Churchill, where you can see polar bears in the wild in the late Fall.
I hesitated to include this photo of the lounge area of the Park car at the very rear of our train. Since this photo was taken, the interiors of these cars have been completely renovated and are now very handsome indeed. Nevertheless this is where you hang out when on the Canadian. There’s a viewing dome on the upper level and a very comfortable lounge on a lower level where a hostess will offer snacks and prepare and serve you the beverage of your choice throughout your journey. She’ll even run a tab!
The Park cars come with a viewing done and it’s a wonderful place to get a panoramic view of the scenery . . .or close-up views of passing freights. Needless to say, these are wonderful seats with an incomparable view, especially with the Canadian reaches the mountains.
Finally, and almost before we realize it, we’re there . . . in thje mountains . . . and they’re spectacular—more rugged that the Rockies in the U.S., with almost no signs of civilization. The closest town is Jasper and it’s still almost two hours up ahead.
That’s us! At the time I knew how many cars made up the consist for this train, but I do remember that there were two dining cars. That’s our train way up ahead as we skirt one of the many lakes in this area. And way up front, those three F-40 locomotives are hauling a baggage car, two diners, a lounge car, four coaches, seven or eight sleepers and a Park car. They’e also providing electricity for the entire train.
I remember being struck by the fact that the landscape through which we were passing was so lovely, but it was still very clear we were traveling through what no doubt could be a harsh and unforgiving environment.
If you’re running a railroad that carries passengers, dirty windows on your trains are a small, but very real problem. If you’re a passenger on a train like The Canadian, what you’re paying good money to see lies on the other side of those windows . . . so they had better be clean! Here in Jasper, Alberta, the whole train gets clean windows.
The next morning, when I raised the shade on my window, we were in the Fraser River Valley. Blue sky, tidy farms surrounded by lush green grass, grazing cattle and snow-capped mountains in the background. It literally took my breath away.
At te risk of stating the obvious, but you can’t see something like this from 30,000 feet!
I have a few more photos and will wrap up this trans-Canada rail tour next time.