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Date: 09/09/19 00:20
Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: cp1400

Last week I took the opportunity to ride Canada’s premier passenger train across the entire route from Toronto to Vancouver. Departing Toronto Sept 1 promptly on time at 09:45 we made reasonable progress all the way and at most were maybe two hours down at intermediate stops. Despite frequent sidings to let CN trains pass we stayed close to the schedule and to a person every one of the 250 or so people in sleeper class had a blast.

Yes there was some rough track at 80 mph on the prairies but next morning no one even mentioned it. It certainly wasn’t unsafe. The staff were outstanding. Meals were beyond delicious. We were even invited to the Prestige Class after 4pm each day and welcomed by the passengers and staff. Via for now has solved the on time problems. People cared not that it took an extra day to cross the country. Frequently heard was “The more time on the train the better” Arrival in Vancouver was 2 hours 50 minutes early at 05:10! You could leave if you wanted but most people slept in, had the offered continental breakfast and left at a leisurely pace by the 8:30 am deadline.
 
Here’s a selection of pictures from the adventure.
  1. Fuel and crew change stop at Sioux Lookout. Special wrap unit 6416 in charge.
  2. Leaving the siding at mile 147.1 Caramat Sub. It appears it has been renamed from Cavell that’s in my trackside guide to Loureiro that was on the station name sign half way through the siding.
 
 
cp1400
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/19 00:31 by cp1400.






Date: 09/09/19 00:22
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: cp1400

3. Prairie skyscraper at Dugald, MB mile 238.3 Redditt Sub.

4. Next morning another prairie skyscraper at Bradwell, Saskatchewan mile 167.2 Watrous Sub 24 miles east of Saskatoon.
 
 
cp1400
 






Date: 09/09/19 00:26
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: cp1400

5. Riding the Park car. For this train, the first four rows of seats were reserved for Prestige Class passengers leaving only the rear two rows, or four seats, for visiting sleeper class passengers.  This changes depending on the number of Prestige passengers on board. Sleeping class passengers could occupy the Park Car after 4pm each day until 6am the next morning.

6. Into the Rocky Mountains approaching Jasper on day three.

7. Busy times at Jasper station. Train number 4 from Vancouver arrived on track one and had to wait for our train number 1 to depart before backing on to the depot track. We left Jasper at 10:06 MDT 36 minutes off the advertised.
 
cp1400
 








Date: 09/09/19 00:28
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: cp1400

8, 9 & 10  A look at the interior of Prestige class Prince Albert Park. Rear lounge area looking both directions and the service counter under the dome.
 
cp1400
 








Date: 09/09/19 00:30
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: cp1400

11. Leaving Kamloops right on the advertised set us up for some glorious glint light along Kamloops Lake. First is along Tranquille Rd approaching Kissick.

12. Exiting the 2831 ft tunnel at mile 10.2 west of Kissick.

13. Approaching Frederick somewhere around mile 12 CN Ashcroft Sub.
 
No matter what others say its still a great train and the last of the streamliner era experience for passengers, be they tourists or regular folk, just trying to get from place to place. Most of the way across Canada this particular train hovered around 300 passengers at any one time. I hope you enjoy my Via #1 report.
 
cp1400
 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/19 00:34 by cp1400.








Date: 09/09/19 01:14
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: robj

Great photos all around with beautiful! glint shot.   Empty reserved seats with very obnoxous placards, for reserving seats ?  I'd think that info could be provided in another manner.  .

Bob Jordan



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/09/19 01:16 by robj.



Date: 09/09/19 02:35
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: andersonb109

They were using belly bands on the seats when the service first started.  Most of the crews never cared if one occupied the front seats as  long as you moved if a Prestige passenger turned up. Which they rarely did, seemingly preferring to spend most of their time in their rooms or bar areas. 



Date: 09/09/19 05:16
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: ns1000

Thanks for the pics...



Date: 09/09/19 07:17
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: King_Coal

Glad you had a good trip. Thanks for sharing the memories. Looking forward to my next journey.



Date: 09/09/19 09:17
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: ATSF3751

Thanks for posting. The placards on the dome seats are a nice touch....lol
 



Date: 09/09/19 10:08
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: BuddPullman

When I rode cross country on the CP Rail "Canadian" in 1975, every sleeping car passenger could occupy any seat in the dome of the Park Dome Obs.  From the lowest priced accommodation, an Upper Berth in an Open Section to the folks in the spacious Drawing Rooms or Bedroom Suites.  All were welcome.  It was a stress free experience in Dome travel, the way it should be.

My last trip on VIA's Canadian about a year and a half ago, had the prestige bands on the front rows of seats.  At one prestige designated seat, a prestige rider had put down the fold down tray to hold their laptop and personal garment and then left both items there in the dome for hours.  If you are not using the dome, you would hope someone be considerate to open the vacant seat.



Date: 09/09/19 11:27
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: eminence_grise

BuddPullman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> When I rode cross country on the CP Rail
> "Canadian" in 1975, every sleeping car passenger
> could occupy any seat in the dome of the Park Dome
> Obs.  From the lowest priced accommodation, an
> Upper Berth in an Open Section to the folks in the
> spacious Drawing Rooms or Bedroom Suites.  All
> were welcome.  It was a stress free experience in
> Dome travel, the way it should be.

However, CP insisted on having just two dome cars on the train for most years, a single "Skyline" to serve as a coffee shop and coach, and the "Park" car on the rear.

Passengers would anticipate the afternoon approach to the Rockies west of Calgary, and both domes would be full leaving Calgary depot. There were complaints about the lack of dome seating. The only explanation I heard CP offer was that they didn't want to staff more than one coffee shop.

I worked one summer as a flagman on the CP "Canadian", and got to field many complaints which I directed to the Sleeping Car Conductor. I worked with a famously bad tempered train conductor who was blatantly rude to passengers, but somehow held onto his job to retirement.



Date: 09/09/19 12:53
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: robj

1973 Canadian with the two domes.

Bob Jordan






Date: 09/09/19 12:59
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: gcm

Excellent pictures and trip report.
#11 is exceptional.
Gary



Date: 09/09/19 14:49
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: perklocal

Absolutely fantastic photos and travelogue. Especially love  those glint shots. Top Notch work !



Date: 09/09/19 15:00
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: 3rdswitch

Great shots and looks like an awesome trip. Nice touch letting passengers stay on after arrival at destination. Too bad AMTRAK does not do this. Last year arrived Los Angeles hour and a half early, 0430!, and were kicked off immediately with sleeping accomodations. Should have requested some type of refund.
JB



Date: 09/09/19 15:12
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: agentatascadero

cp, Now you've done it!  Your excellent post/photo essay now has me salivating uncontrollably.....for my trip aboard #1 Nov 13.

AA

Stanford White
Carmel Valley, CA



Date: 09/09/19 15:22
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: eminence_grise

The boxcar in the 1973 images carried bagged mail for communities between Calgary and Vancouver. At that time, the Calgary main post office was rail served, and Vancouvers was a block away from the CP station.



Date: 09/10/19 06:02
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: DrawingroomA

eminence_grise Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The boxcar in the 1973 images carried bagged mail
> for communities between Calgary and Vancouver. At
> that time, the Calgary main post office was rail
> served, and Vancouvers was a block away from the
> CP station.

Thanks for posting those great photos.
 
Regarding the mail box car, there was a short time when CP added one of those to Train #1 in Winnipeg. I don’t recall the year, but it was in the mid-1970s. I was walking the platform and I saw this silver-painted box car being added to the Park car. I asked the train conductor about this and he explained that CP figured no-one would notice as it was dark at that time and it was going only to Regina where it would be removed before first light.
 
Yes, the lack of dome space in peak season was the only aspect of The Canadian which detracted from its appeal. There were some summers up to the early 1970s when a second Skyline car was added as well as a second dining car. I never saw a second diner after 1970. The coach seats were replaced with large single parlour car seats. A Skyline car was operated on the Atlantic Ltd. as well as some Montreal-Quebec and Montreal-Ottawa trains. I don’t know how well this worked in the east when two Skylines were run on The Canadian which, of course, was a daily operation.
 
As to the reserved Park car dome seats for Prestige passengers, I think regular sleeper passengers are lucky they get any access to the Park car in peak season. Staff have told me there have been complaints that some of them can’t get in the dome. With passengers paying $10,640 (up to $12,023 with tax) I can understand that. The time restriction and reserved seating is a compromise. There are two Sleeper Plus Class Skyline cars operated in the summer and one often in the winter.  I haven’t taken a peak season trip since Prestige was introduced, so I enjoy unrestricted Park car access except for the first two rows of the dome. On three of my Vancouver-Toronto trips Prestige has been empty. Although the bands or signs were not removed, the Park car staff told everyone that they could sit anywhere. We were even given some of the Prestige afternoon snacks, such as a fruit and cheese pate, which would otherwise be wasted.
 



Date: 09/10/19 14:33
Re: Riding the Canadian in Style
Author: eminence_grise

DrawingroomA Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Regarding the mail box car, there was a short time
> when CP added one of those to Train #1 in
> Winnipeg. I don’t recall the year, but it was in
> the mid-1970s. I was walking the platform and I
> saw this silver-painted box car being added to the
> Park car. I asked the train conductor about this
> and he explained that CP figured no-one would
> notice as it was dark at that time and it was
> going only to Regina where it would be removed
> before first light.

CN did the same thing, adding a boxcar to the tail end of the "Super Continental" west of Winnipeg possibly to Edmonton.



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