Canada’s own Rick Mercer parodies the woeful state of passenger rail in this country. If only we had trains that went so fast we couldn’t even get to know the stranger next to us who has a "nasal thing"!
My first ride on this magnificent train, and my first exposure to western Canada, was from Winnipeg to Vancouver. As I boarded at “Winterpeg” late in the evening, the carman were knocking the ice that had accumulated underneath the steam heated train. During our stop at Portage la Prairie about 55 miles west of Winnipeg, where the train returned from CNR rails to its traditional CPR routing, I was treated to a view from my roomette bed that I will never forget. An eastbound “grain box” from the west - probably off the former CNoR line via Dauphin - curved in over the snowclad prairie that reflected an incredibly star studded indigo dome of midnight sky. The lead unit was a GP40 wide cab, with twinkling green lights to indicate that “another section follows.” Those images will always have to rely on memory as there aren’t any pictures. Breakfast came after the stop at Moose Jaw, and after that was the stop at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, where the CPR/VIA westbound #1, “The Canadian”, made another station stop and I was able to get this shot. A friend who worked for CPR in Revelstoke told me that this place was known among his fellow employees as “Speedy Creek”, but I’m sure that the creek was well frozen this morning!
The VIA Rail Canadian in Banff - 1979 by Steve Brown Via Flickr: My mother and I took a vacation by train to the Canadian Rockies in 1979. We traveled on the VIA Rail “Canadian” from Toronto to Lake Louise, Alberta. Here we have just departed the Banff station stop in the heart of Banff National Park and are alongside one of several lovely lakes at the edge of town. I’ll mention that I took the photo from an open dutch door in the vestibule of our sleeping car, so this was shot in the open air rather than through a window.
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It was a hot and humid day when I traveled from Ottawa to Toronto with Via Rail. The good news was the trains A/C was working great… Not so good news - the glazing on my window was defective and a heavy layer of condensation formed inside the window. The entire trip was spent peering through the mist as the train was too crowded to switch seats… - Not very many photos on that train trip :(