Leg 1 – Jasper to Kamloops
We boarded in Jasper (leaving aside the hassle of all those people trying to drop off luggage, collect boarding passes and other assorted insanity. In case you want it – the link to the train company is here. Originally started by the Canadian Government, it went private about two years later, but obviously still runs on Canadian Rail tracks. Not to sound like an advert, but the advantage it offers is day time travel through spectacular scenery. The disadvantage of course is that the whole operation is seasonal. No journeys through the dead of winter.
As it turns out, the more expensive service turns out to be well worth it. Not only do you have the upper observation dome which puts you above the passing freight trains (I did mention traveling on someone else’s tracks? Getting to pull on to sidings? Kind of like the old duty train only comfortable and you are not running with blackout curtains on the windows) but you have this lovely decently sized observation platform out the back of the lower level. This is Canada, there is no smoking here, but taking photos was much easier!
Anyway – we dropped off luggage, boarded the train and took our seats – I lasted all of about 15 minutes before heading to the outside platform.
You can see the route in detail if you use google maps, satellite version, but they don’t have labels on the rivers, falls and other historic landmarks. And the train was OUT (can you believe it) of the really nice rail guides. End of the season I guess…. The tracks only sort of parallel the Yellowhead Highway and the river (which they also don’t bother to label).
We crossed the continental divide and headed from the Rockies into high planes. It is not just beautiful mountains, a few falls, the rivers, there is also obvious damage from forest fires, signs of human habitation and the occasional member of wild life (the bear in the meadow was on the other side of the train. I managed to dump my water and not get a photo).
So – pictures!
Kamloops itself rolls up the streets about 1800 so there was a bit of a challenge finding postcards.