Canada by VIA RAIL; the Conclusion
Our train—VIA Rail Canada’s flagship,The Canadian—is on the final leg of it’s roughly 2700-mile journey from Toronto, Ontario, to Vancouver, British Columbia. We’re just a few hours from our final destination.
Just yesterday, The Canadian crossed and recrossed the Fraser River numerous times–a foaming, rushing torrent, plunging down, lower and lower . . . the Pacific Ocean it’s ultimate destination.
In addition to the Park car which brings up the rear of this train, there are three other lounge cars, each with a dome which offers a different perspective on the passing scenery. The main level of these dome cars features tables for board games and easy chairs for relaxing. In one of these three cars, this area is a snack bar where coach passengers can purchase food and drink.
Just a few hours ago, our train was in the mountains, crossing and re-crossing the Fraser River multiple times. This is what the river looks like since we have emerged from the mountain terrain onto this broad and stunningly beautiful valley.
The farms here are surrounded by fields of lush green grass dotted with cattle, grazing contentedly . . . but still within sight of snow-capped mountains peaks, It’s hard to believe we were there just a few short hours ago.
Overloking this lovely verdant valley are other mountains closer and somehow seeming to form a protective barrier for the farms and for the cattle contentedly grazing on the lush grass nourished by abundant rainfall.
The river has now been harnessed—as much as that’s ever possible—and thousands of logs, harvested from the seemingly endless pine forrests are floated down stream to any one of several saw mills located in this section of the river.
Soon, having been converted into all sizes and lengths, the lumber is wrapped and loaded onto CN trains to be carried back over the same route to markets in the east. These east-bound trains are also given priority by CN, the host railroad, and as a result, our train, the westbound Canadian, typically arrives in Vancouver at two or three o’clock in the morning. Passengers are allowed to sleep in until 7:00 a.m.
Look at the Fraser River now! Fed by a thousand streams coming from surrounding mountains and merging with waters from the Pacific, I suppose that technically it’s now something much more than a river. The sad fact is, because of the constant delay caused by all the freight traffic, The Canadian’s schedule has been extended by so many hours that the train usually passes through the lovely Fraser River Valley in the dark. That’s a disappointment, of course, but by no means sufficient reason to decide against taking and enjoying this wonderful ride.
If you decide to take this train in April of next year, we could very we’ll run into each other. To the best of my recollection, it will be my 10th ride on this marvelous train. How’s that for a testimonial!