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We just arrived home from our long anticipated trip by rail from Vancouver to Toronto on The Canadian. 4 days and 4 nights. We splurged and travelled Prestige Class. Thoroughly enjoyed. Met people from the USA, Great Britain, Austria, Australia and of course, fellow Canadians. Everyone gave this trip 2 thumbs up.

I have included some pictures taken along the way. Our cabin for two was beyond our expectations, complete with private shower and toilet. The meals were gourmet. Mid-afternoon snacks in the dome car were unexpected. Delicious, nevertheless. Constant attention from our concierges.

The hallway in our sleeper coach and our cabin, by day and by night:

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The Fraser River. A track-side lake in Alberta:

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Mt. Baker, in Washington State, visible to the south:

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Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies:9A5690D5-9B70-412E-BE4F-4005B30BA020

Mainline shared with 3 mile long freights. Passenger service waits in the sidings:

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21 cars and 2 locomotives make over 2100'. One baggage car, 4 dome cars, 2 dining cars and the rest coaches and sleepers. A camera hardly captures the size of this train. This was in Jasper, Alberta, the furthest point north on our route. Sunset was at 10pm. Note the Via Rail employee up on the hood cleaning the windshield and deflector:65B13C64-3F6F-480E-9FAC-C8F4E1C89B82

I cannot say enough about the food. Three delightful meals each day and every afternoon, a snack in the dome car or your cabin, as desired. Fresh fruit, muffins, croissants and all beverages for the taking in our dome car 24/7. Melted brie and crackers at 3pm:

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Our dinner in the dining car on the 3rd day. Our concierges and kitchen staff, with us from the start, changed shortly afterwards in Winnipeg and left us a message with our dessert:

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Sorry about the long post. Should you decide to take this trip, I guarantee no disappointment.

Now I'm off to get some exercise and lose the pounds I gained!

Bob

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Last edited by Bob "O"
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@Bob "O" posted:

I have no idea what happened. I just did a fresh log-in to the Forum website and I can see the post with all the pictures. Let me know if they appear later or not. Maybe a site expert can tell me if I did something incorrectly.

Bob

Posting pictures on the OGR Forum

You can edit your original post and upload the photos following the instructions from the above link.

Bill

@C&O Allan posted:

I still can't see them - did you upload them or link from somewhere else?  If linked, I'm wondering if you can only see it if you have access to that location.

That’s too bad, Bob. I really wanted to see the photos. 😟

I uploaded in the usual way. Never had trouble in previous posts. I wonder if it is because I referenced ****'s Gate, a narrowing in the Fraser River. I see in my post that it was changed to ****'s Gate. Maybe this resulted in some sort of corruption and all the pictures being deleted. Yet, I can still see them when I look at the post.

Maybe Alan Arnold can set me straight. @OGR CEO-PUBLISHER

Bob

@Ed Bell posted:

<snip>  I rode the rails for a week in the 2 western provinces and caught the Via in Jasper and rode all the way to Halifax. <snip>

One of my favorite PBS programs is an old one The Last Train Across Canada.  At that time you could originate/end in Sydney, NS on Cape Breton Island.  Alas no passenger service off the island any more.  We have a second home outside of Sydney and I always wished I could have done that trip. Can’t wait to see your pictures!

Bill

Bob, the reason you could see the photos when others couldn’t is because they’re on your computer. I’ve run into that problem many times and it’s usually when I’ve tried moving photos around or doing some other edits before posting.

At any rate, it looks like a really nice trip, but I can only imagine the cost. Your photo of the Fraser River made me think of Outlander, we’re on the final season on Netflix. 🤣

Bob, Thank you for sharing. It looks like I trip I would want to do someday.  Is "The Canadian" part of the CN or CP system?

CN and CP ceased passenger service in 1978. VIA Rail was newly created at that time, as a Canadian Crown Corporation, to take over passenger service in Canada, including routes to all major urban centres and some remote localities. I believe most of the passenger cars on VIA came from CP. Certainly, the cars on the Canadian are all former CP cars and retain the old names. The exteriors have been well cared for and still retain the heritage look of 50+ years ago. The interiors have been updated to very high and modern standards - in floor radiant heat, air conditioning, LED lighting, flat screen TV in the cabin (which we did not once turn on), UV-inhibiting glass in the dome cars, etc. But VIA Rail does not own or maintain any track. The route of The Canadian is all on CN track. Freight has the right of way and often causes delays in the VIA schedule. But we found sitting on a siding, alongside a glacier fed river or stunning mountain scene, was no hardship. I am sure there is a mutually agreed upon financial arrangement between VIA and either CN or CP, depending on the routes.

@DoubleDAZ posted:

Bob, the reason you could see the photos when others couldn’t is because they’re on your computer. I’ve run into that problem many times and it’s usually when I’ve tried moving photos around or doing some other edits before posting.

At any rate, it looks like a really nice trip, but I can only imagine the cost. Your photo of the Fraser River made me think of Outlander, we’re on the final season on Netflix. 🤣

I did the edit and repeat attachments from my Mac 'photos' album exactly the same way as the first try. But on the second attempt, I removed the reference to the narrow spot in the Fraser River known as s'lleH (spelled backwards, to avoid deletion) Gate. The Forum rules forbid certain words, I am guessing, as the word was replaced with 4 asterisks the first time round.

As for cost, it was expensive. (Not any more than an upper deck suite on an Alaskan cruise ship.) But then again, quality is never cheap. Don't forget that the US dollar goes a lot further here in Canada. It was our 50th wedding anniversary gift to ourselves - in that context, it was more than worth it!

Bob

This is a great trip though VIA does some of the most scenic parts of the trip at night. Since they started offering Prestige Class regular sleeper passengers can not enter the rear Park Dome car for much of the trip. Paying the extra $ gives a lot of extra perks. I have done the trip a few times before the upgrade great trip thanks for your photos. The .... gate photo you show is the narrowest part of the Fraser River Canyon. A great place to watch the trains go by, has a gondola ride to get you low over the river. You were very lucky to have such good weather and get a shot of Mount Robson. Food is always excellent.

If you are keen on seeing the best of the scenery ride the Rocky Mountaineer they have 3 routes through B.C. all by daylight. The food and service especially in Goldleaf dome class is excellent like VIA. (VIA has the better dome cars for view, though only room for a few people.) The Rocky coach class is good enough for seeing the scenery. The CP route to Banff is great as is the BC Rail route through Prince George. You can also take a B.C.  ferry Prince Rupert up the coast and take the VIA Skeena train to Jasper with dome car access 2 day daylight trip with great scenery as well.

@kj356 posted:

This is a great trip though VIA does some of the most scenic parts of the trip at night. Since they started offering Prestige Class regular sleeper passengers can not enter the rear Park Dome car for much of the trip. Paying the extra $ gives a lot of extra perks. I have done the trip a few times before the upgrade great trip thanks for your photos. The .... gate photo you show is the narrowest part of the Fraser River Canyon. A great place to watch the trains go by, has a gondola ride to get you low over the river. You were very lucky to have such good weather and get a shot of Mount Robson. Food is always excellent.

If you are keen on seeing the best of the scenery ride the Rocky Mountaineer they have 3 routes through B.C. all by daylight. The food and service especially in Goldleaf dome class is excellent like VIA. (VIA has the better dome cars for view, though only room for a few people.) The Rocky coach class is good enough for seeing the scenery. The CP route to Banff is great as is the BC Rail route through Prince George. You can also take a B.C.  ferry Prince Rupert up the coast and take the VIA Skeena train to Jasper with dome car access 2 day daylight trip with great scenery as well.

Great rundown of possible rail excursions in BC. Thanks. Lots more reasons to return. We also are considering Rocky Mountaineer's new route, 2 days 1 night, from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah.

You are right about VIA's night travel and missing some things. But this time of year, with many hours of daylight and travelling west to east, we saw a lot of mountain scenery. We departed Vancouver at 3pm sharp and we had enough light to see until well after 10pm. And for early birds, there was morning light by 4:30 am.

The last car on the train, a Park car with a bar, lounge and dome, is reserved for Prestige passengers until 4 pm. But even after that time, there was always room to spare and empty seats. There were 3 other dome cars forward, open at all times to everyone.

We were told that the top of Mt. Robson is shrouded in cloud most days. Only 14-15 days per year, on average, is the peak clearly visible. We were lucky!

Bob

@kj356 posted:

If you are keen on seeing the best of the scenery ride the Rocky Mountaineer they have 3 routes through B.C. all by daylight. The food and service especially in Goldleaf dome class is excellent like VIA. (VIA has the better dome cars for view, though only room for a few people.) The Rocky coach class is good enough for seeing the scenery. The CP route to Banff is great as is the BC Rail route through Prince George. You can also take a B.C.  ferry Prince Rupert up the coast and take the VIA Skeena train to Jasper with dome car access 2 day daylight trip with great scenery as well.

I’m going to have to look into this. We’re planning a return to the Vancouver area next year, but we drive from Phoenix. We plan to spend 2-3 weeks exploring the area from Vancouver. Part of the plan is the Hwy 99-12-1-7 loop. Then we’ll head to Banff/Jasper, over to Saskatoon, down to Regina and over to Winnipeg. From there it’s International Falls and either down through Duluth or around Lake Superior via Sault Ste Marie to the Green Bay Area. Not sure how much more/better scenery we’d see adding a round-trip train excursion to the itinerary.

@Bob "O" posted:

Great rundown of possible rail excursions in BC. Thanks. Lots more reasons to return. We also are considering Rocky Mountaineer's new route, 2 days 1 night, from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah.

You are right about VIA's night travel and missing some things. But this time of year, with many hours of daylight and travelling west to east, we saw a lot of mountain scenery. We departed Vancouver at 3pm sharp and we had enough light to see until well after 10pm. And for early birds, there was morning light by 4:30 am.

The last car on the train, a Park car with a bar, lounge and dome, is reserved for Prestige passengers until 4 pm. But even after that time, there was always room to spare and empty seats. There were 3 other dome cars forward, open at all times to everyone.

We were told that the top of Mt. Robson is shrouded in cloud most days. Only 14-15 days per year, on average, is the peak clearly visible. We were lucky!

Bob

How does traveling east-west vs. west-east impact the scenic view?  Is one direction better/preferred?

Mark

Last edited by PRRrat
@PRRrat posted:

How does traveling east-west vw. west-east impact the scenic view?  Is one direction better/preferred?

Mark

Mark,

It is really a matter of personal choice. We especially wanted to see the Fraser River Valley. So a 3pm departure going west from Vancouver was nearly ideal. By dark the first day, we had proceeded to within an hour of Kamloops where the Fraser turns north and the train route veers away. The next morning we were still in the mountains and got to see Jasper in the early afternoon and Edmonton in the evening.

The Canadian, travelling east from Toronto, departs at 9:45 am. It arrives a couple of days later in Edmonton late at night. The next morning early, you are in Jasper. But almost the entire portion of the route along the Fraser, from Kamloops to Vancouver, occurs at night. Arrival in Vancouver is 8am.

Links to the detailed schedules: https://www.viarail.ca/en/plan...peg-jasper-vancouver

https://www.viarail.ca/en/plan...per-winnipeg-toronto

I am sure that either way, you would get lots of memorable scenery. All other aspects of the journey don't change with your departure city.

Hope you get to go!

Bob

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