Saturday, October 19, 2019

Felix Lesiuk guides a Rail Travel Tours trip to Prince Rupert

 By Felix Lesiuk

This past June, Daryl Adair of Rail Travel Tours asked me if I would like to guide a small group for a 10 day train tour through the mountains to Prince Rupert. Having not done this trip before I cautiously said, "why not".  The trip entailed a two night trip via a sleeper on VIA's Canadian #1 to Jasper, one of my favorite places. We had snow near Edmonton, but fortunately there was none in Jasper. Weather for rest of the trip was great.  We stayed in the Whistler Inn, just across Jasper station. We toured the town and took in a boat tour of Lake Maligne.

We rode the former "Skeena" now just called trains 5 & 6, also known as the Rupert Rocket, or the train with no name. It originally had three full length domes on it, but VIA downgraded its service.  Of the original three full length domes that were on the Skeena two of them now ply back and forth on The Canadian between Edmonton and Vancouver. One still goes back and forth to Prince Rupert but only on the "third" train. There are three train sets going back and forth between Prince Rupert and Jasper. 

This is a daytime running train only with overnight stops and two nights in Prince George, where the crew rests.  This meant that we had the exact same train and crew for the entire westbound and eastbound trips through the coastal mountains.  This worked out well since during our two night stay in Prince Rupert we visited the Northern BC museum and the Historic Pacific cannery site as well as having time to tour around Prince Rupert.We had no rain, which apparently is rare.

CN is very busy along this line, which made any scheduled arrival times non-existent. There are no diner facilities on the train, only a snack bar.  We did have the Park car and as much coffee and cookies we could eat. I had to pick up lunches and dinners in Vanderhoof and McBride from Safeway or Coop.

When we got back to Jasper we had time to visit the town and then have a tour of the Columbia ice fields and the parkway. This scenic area and makes one proud to be a Canadian!

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