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Trip Report

Up the West Coast and Across Canada

April 2002
Section 3 of 3


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We arrive at the Jasper station at 11:45am to find the Canadian already in. I take 3 bags to the station to be checked to Toronto. The make up of the Canadian today is:

3 Engines
1 Dead head Lounge Dome
3 Deadhead Sleepers
1 Baggage Car
2 Coaches
1 Lounge Dome
3 Sleepers
1 Diner
3 Sleepers
1 Bullet End Observation Dome
  (Park Car)

We are in Sleeper #222, Silver Blue Class, which is just in front of the Park car.

The Canadian at Jasper Our Sleeper was second from end, just in front of the Park Observation Car View from Park Car dome as we prepare to leave Jasper

The train is called at 12:15pm. We say our goodbye to Roy and Ann and walk back to our car.

The station platform at Jasper is long enough to hold the whole train. When we get to our car we are greeted by the car attendant, and Conductor, who takes our tickets. The Attendant leads us to Bedroom "F" and we store our luggage. The car attendant directs us to the Park Car, where snacks are available for boarding passengers. We pick up a snack and claim seats, in the dome, for our departure.

Jasper station as we leave Seventeen cars, first 4 are deadhead

Departure is at 12:29, 4 minutes late. We pass a CN steam engine and the depot as we leave town. We descend and quickly leave the mountains behind. As the countryside turns into high plains we are held for 25 minutes for track work and stop at Edison 27 minutes late.

We are at dinner when we make the stop at Edmonton, 23 minutes late. I will not attempt to remember all of the selections that were on the menu, on the Canadian. Just that all meals were excellent and well served. The service personnel on the Canadian are mostly seasonal college students. They were just staffing up for the summer and several were making their first trip, at least for this year. They were under the direction of experienced personnel, and the service did not suffer.

On our way to the Diner we had to pass through our sleeper and 2 others. The sleepers used on the Canadian are unique to this train, in that each has three types of accommodations and all are alike. In the back of each car are 4 Single bedrooms, (roomettes), in the center of the car are 6 bedrooms each, with bunk beds, toilet, and wash facilities. In front of that is the real surprise, in that there are 3 Sections. These are the old-time upper and lower births with cloth curtains. The space where the 4th section would be has been converted into a shower room. In the cars that I was in these sections were well patronized.

After dinner we return to the Park Car for a while. After the stop at Wainwright we have our beds made up, and turn in for the night. We are about 30 minutes late and will remain so until just outside Toronto.

We wake at about 07:00 and prepare to go to breakfast. As we are seated we pass through the town of Rivers MB without stopping. It, as many of the towns on this route, is a flag stop. We return to the dome of the Park Car for most of the morning. Sweet rolls and coffee are available, in the lounge, for most of the morning with brownies for the afternoon and evening. The countryside here is similar to the North Dakota along the route of the Empire Builder.

Just west of Winnipeg we meet a freight. Over the scanner I hear our crew tell the crew of the freight that "there is smoke coming from under a tank car in mid-train, it may be a sticking brake". The other crew replies that they are stopping to check it out. They will have a long walk in the rain. It is a long train and it has started to rain heavily.

Winnipeg in the rain Winnipeg Shops are now a shopping center

We stop at Winnipeg 29 minutes down. This is a crew change for not only the operations crew but also for the passenger service crew. We get new car attendants and dining car crew. I was going to walk the train here, but only the middle of the train is under cover with the front and rear hanging out in the rain. I did get some pictures of the former CN Shops. They have been made into a large shopping mall. Would have liked to check that out. Most of the original buildings are part of the mall.

No station just flag the train; that is what makes a flag stop Flag stop at Ottermere Union Station Fish camp which is the reason for the Ottermere stop

We leave down 16 minutes and Betty and I go to lunch. The new service crew is in the diner and they have several trainees with them. East of Winnipeg we enter upper Ontario and the Shield country of large outcroppings of rock and lakes. The rails twist and turn between. It makes for good pictures of the train but slow going. I notice that we lost one of the three engines at Winnipeg. With all of the turns top speed is about 45 MPH and remains so the rest of the trip. We pass several flag stops then stop at several. We stop at Ottermere, which is a shed in the woods, which is the stop for a fish-camp on a lake. At least there is a shed at Ottermere. Most of the flag stops only have a sign with someone standing there who wants to board or someone who wants to get off. For the rest of the afternoon we stop at almost every flag stop. All of these stops are built into the schedule and we remain about 30 minutes down.

Only 2 engines after Winnipeg We meet #1 which has a 23-car train. I ask the crew if that many cars are unusual. They say that in the summer the Canadian runs with 30 cars or more and has 3 diners and up to 5 engines.

We pass Sioux Lookout 8 minutes down. As we eat dinner we continue to make flag stops until dark.

After dinner Betty returns to the bedroom to read and I return to the lounge to watch the countryside. I try the dome but the glass reflects the lights making it hard to see outside. I give up and go to bed.

The Park Car always had refreshments I am awake this morning about 7am. After breakfast it is more dome time. The countryside has not changed much over night. We pass several flag stops and finely stop at Gogama, 46 minutes down. I am seeing more roads this morning and our direction of travel is generally south.

At lunchtime we pass Capreol and began to leave the Shield behind. There are more lakes and trees and paved roads are quiet common.

Early afternoon brings Sudbury Junction and a change to small towns and farming country. Also cottages instead of fish camps now surround the lakes. In late afternoon we are served an early, limited menu.

After dinner we began to enter the suburbs of Toronto. We have numerous waits for commuter traffic and the approach to Toronto takes some time.

We finally pull into Toronto union station at 20:00 right on time.

From hotel window, the Toronto Station with the Canadian ready to go west; in the background is a large roundhouse The hotel where we are staying tonight is just across the street from the station and connected by a tunnel. We take the luggage we have with us and go to the hotel and check in. After dropping that luggage in the room I return to the baggage room, at he station, and claim the ones we checked in Jasper

So ends our journey after 17 days on the ship and 9 days on the rails. We will fly back to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow.

One final note, as we are getting ready to leave for the airport I look out our window, overlooking union station, and see the Canadian, that will leave today for Vancouver, being spotted at the station Platform.

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