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Via Rail’s The Canadian Train Journey, Canada – Part Two.

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All aboard after a rest at Sioux Lookout, Mr Bill Loomis is ready to go again even whilst celebrating his birthday on this particular day. He’s been on The Canadian train twelve times and a stalwart without doubt. We were happy to hear his stories and his travelling mate John left their respective families and homes to once again take to the tracks and traverse Canada.


Whilst others were departing and some new passengers were joining us, all luggage is taken care of; generally larger cases are stored in the undercarriage in a separate baggage car near the head of the train. Smaller carry on is sufficient, just ensure you take any medications and necessary items as well.

Next at the half-way point of Winnipeg, we have a change of crew for the next couple of nights of the journey.


More snow and ice about throughout Manitoba with sweeping views of the countryside which is a vast difference to that of the upcoming Rocky Mountains.


Bales of fodder being made ready for livestock and a much colder winter yet ahead for many farmers.


Time to eat again? No problem about that! Food menus changed daily with vegetarian choices also available – but needs to be prebooked ahead along with any other dietary requirements.


Some good-old fashioned entertainment, best to enjoy without all the gadgets to distract us from an everyday conversation with others onboard. Most appealing if you’re wanting to make some new friends and acquaintances.


Refuelling and the last overnight on The Canadian with my final look at the snow-covered terrain of the midlands of Canada … well,  until next time.


Eggs Benedict is always a decent reason to hop out of bed and enjoy a new day’s viewing. With copious cups of coffee, I’m ready for another hard day of moseying around and relishing the atmosphere of a train on a mission which allow its passengers the opportunity to appreciate its beautiful countryside.

I’d better enjoy and savour this brekky as there won’t be any further delightful service like this for my  breakfast orders after the end of my trip …


My lovely model for this day is Lynn from Virginia USA showing us how easy it is to make yourself comfortable in the Dome carriage.


And Lynn’s daughter Jillian had joined her parents on the journey to catch up and spend some valuable time together as they live on opposite sides of the United States. Anyway, there’s no escaping each other, the train is very intimate and great to see families reconnecting as more and more multigenerational groups are making plans to have a much needed holiday together.


We’re fast heading out of snow country and moving closer to British Colombia (BC) whereby the landscape is now changing quite dramatically.


A scene not unlike Australia’s inland farming regions. Am I homesick? Not yet!


Along this route we’re seeing more sensational exposed mountainous panoramas which are hanging around waiting for winter to set in and be covered once again in white. It was great to see what these huge mammoths are actually shaped like before being cloaked in the big freeze.


Take your cuppa up to the Dome car as the Rocky Mountains are about to perform before your eyes with magical and breathtaking views overlooking the canyons.


Going through some short-covered tunnels ensure falling rocks don’t become passengers!


A bird’s eye peek of many more tunnels and bridges to follow on.


According to our resident train spotter Bill, there were two transcontinental Canadian railroads.  One was the Canadian Pacific, which completed it’s line in 1885.  The other was the Canadian Northern, which completed its line to Vancouver 30 years later.  The CP came west through Calgary and Banff while the Canadian Northern came west through Edmonton and Jasper.  The two lines came within miles of each other at Kamloops, British Columbia.  From there west to Vancouver they followed the waterways, Kamloops Lake, Thompson River and Fraser River to Vancouver..  Because the CP was first, they chose the easiest (not easy) side of the waterways, crossing over several times to stay with the better route.  The Canadian Northern, building nearly 30 years later, was left with the side the CP had not chosen.


Snaking around the waterways and highlands makes you wonder how this engineering marvel was constructed all those years ago without today’s technology.


No shortage of passageways either … And, at times trains only have access to the tracks one at a time due to the narrow escapements.


Considerable number of bridges along the way and when you see the depth of the gullies and watercourses over which they were built; it’s truly an engineering marvel.


We managed a daylight passage through the Thompson (which flows into the Fraser at Lytton) and Fraser River Canyons.


Heading fast into Vancouver and the near end of another fantastic rail journey with Via Rail’s The Canadian, I know I won’t beat Bill at twelve trips but I’ll keep trying.

For more information check the website http://www.viarail.ca

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Via Rail’s The Canadian Train Journey, Canada – Part One.

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All aboard! Two very happy young blokes from Switzerland embarking early and looking excited as we’re all about to board for a memorable rail journey.

Staff checking passes for the correct carriage and our imminent departure of four nights and three days had been bookmarked for months in advance, and now it’s a reality. Doesn’t matter where you’ve travelled from in the world this is a train trip, which for me, is a case of serendipity. A photographer’s dream – traversing Canada travelling east from Toronto to Vancouver this time around in mid November.


Cabin for two set up for the daytime. It’s comfortable and private with armchairs plus a large window for maximum views of the upcoming stunning scenery.


Cabin for two night time; retractable stacked upper and lower single beds with a vanity and an ensuite toilet. The old adage of ‘unpack once’ rings true here on the train as well.


On our way trundling off with snow covered tracks – it’s a sign of what’s ahead. More snow. And if like me, you’re from a country such as Australia (which is mostly desert), you’ll love this aspect as it’s not often I experience a blanket of pure white snowflakes sprinkled and sifted over this picturesque terrain.


Lakes and ponds are just starting to ice over. With the ever-changing moving postcards flashing before your eyes (not unlike this photo), you won’t want to take your eyes from the window.


Canada’s winter wonderland is in the making undoubtedly as the carriages rock and roll along to the beat of a train on a mission. 2017 marks a significant moment in the History of Canada as 150 years ago, Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – united to create the Canadian Confederation.


The Dining car is very much the centre piece for qualifying guests to mingle and make new friends and acquaintances over a three-course luncheon and dinner settings.

Breakfast is served early with two settings on this occasion and for late risers it’s a treat not to have to rush.


Spectacular views all along the way. Take off those blinkers in the morning and check the outlook for the day? Yep more snow …


A frozen waterfall of ice. Brrr glad I’m in bed looking at this.


Homes along the way look cosy enough, but not sure about clearing off icy cars to head off to work for the day … However, that’s the day-to-day life of a Canadian during winter.


View from one of the dome cars on The Canadian. Seating here is on a first-come basis and my advice is go early as it’s one of the most sought after areas on the train.


A stop allows passengers to hop off and stretch their legs. Although at night, it’s still a way of admiring our train taking a breather and readying itself for the half-way point of Winnipeg which is not too far away now.


Sioux Lookout is our stop before reaching Winnipeg whereby, there’s a number of fishing camps in the area that allow access to an extensive lake system fed by the English River.


Here at Sioux Lookout, we’re able to walk around and a heavily laden snowy landscape is revealed. Crunching below your feet you can feel the depth of the fall from the overnight trip and very happy to say my cabin was nice and snug by comparison!


Upon closer inspection of Via Rail’s The Canadian, it shows a mighty and powerful work horse blowing off some steam before taking us to our next stop along this magnificent rail journey of 4,466 kilometres (in total).


Icy fields show off Manitoba which is bordered by the provinces of Ontario to the east and Saskatchewan to the west. Its landscape of lakes and rivers, mountains, forests and prairies stretches from northern Arctic tundra to the Hudson Bay. We’re crossing through the southern farmlands now on our approach to the capital city of Winnipeg.


The lakes and waterways are now freezing over and temperatures will continue to drop as winter truly sets in before the month of December. As opposed to some coastal areas, it’s much colder here inland with farm animals being housed and fed, while the wildlife is retreating for hibernation.


Would love to drop by, but maybe some other time for a cuppa! Just a little busy being cosy and warm on board with a coffee and cake thanks.


VIA operates intercity, regional and transcontinental trains linking 450 communities across its 12,500-kilometre network. Their mandate is to provide safe, efficient and reliable passenger transportation, with service in the country’s two official languages.

For further booking and information check the website http://www.viarail.ca

Next blog post we continue onto Vancouver from Winnipeg as Part Two.

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