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Author Topic: TRAINS - The Canadian
Gilbert B Norman
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I trust that by now all TRAINS readers around here have reviewed the Fred Frailey article regarding the future of 'Th/Le Canadia/en' appearing in the January 2014 issue.

From one who has ridden both CN and CP routes during 1965 - at the height of CN's passenger service initiative - no question whatever, CP has the superior scenic route. Apparently CP decided that there was a golden egg with their scenery and if a passenger train were to operate through such, the operator had best be prepared to pay and pay dearly. Rocky Mountaineer, which of course I've never ridden and not exactly full of desire to do so, was prepared to pay - apparently confident that they either had or could develop a clientele prepared to pay Acela First Class rates for a 'gated community' travel experience.

However I find it simple economics that The Canadian has been routed away from the CP - another party simply outbid them, and expected a non-compete covenant - especially if another enjoys access to the public trough - to be part of the deal. There is no social obligation, as some might contend, for VIA to operate over the CP; as with is existing bi or tri-weekly schedule - and its own sky high fares, VIA is not in the business of providing point A to B transportation over its Transcontinental route.

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ghCBNS
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I’m just home after a ride on the Canadian from Toronto to Vancouver last week and there are deals if you watch for them. For $1200 I had single occupancy of a double bedroom in the Park Car.......four nights with all meals included from an onboard crew that was second to none!

There were numerous Canadians riding to actually get somewhere. Perhaps they’re outnumbered by tourists in the summer and fall but were easy to spot this time of the year......the oil workers heading back to Alberta (they kept thing lively in the bar car) And the couple that were delivered to trainside on a snowmobile at just a milepost in northern Ontario or the passengers on/off at Foleyet, Gogama, Sioux Lookout, or the small First Nation communities.

And if CP did have a slightly more scenic route through Banff.....CN’s via Jasper is a close second:
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And just the view of a winter landscape from a warm and cozy train:

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TwinStarRocket
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Beautiful photos suitable for framing. Evidently VIA actually cleans the windows.
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ghCBNS
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quote:
Originally posted by TwinStarRocket:
Beautiful photos suitable for framing. Evidently VIA actually cleans the windows.

Thanks

Yes.....this is what happens at Jasper....summer and winter!

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yukon11
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
[QB] I trust that by now all TRAINS readers around here have reviewed the Fred Frailey article regarding the future of 'Th/Le Canadia/en' appearing in the January 2014 issue.

From one who has ridden both CN and CP routes during 1965 - at the height of CN's passenger service initiative - no question whatever, CP has the superior scenic route. Apparently CP decided that there was a golden egg with their scenery and if a passenger train were to operate through such, the operator had best be prepared to pay and pay dearly. Rocky Mountaineer, which of course I've never ridden and not exactly full of desire to do so, was prepared to pay - apparently confident that they either had or could develop a clientele prepared to pay Acela First Class rates for a 'gated community' travel experience.

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Mr. Norman:

I would be interested, in your opinion, as to why you favored the CP or CN with reference as to which was the more scenic route. Back in the 1970's, I took the old "Canadian" from Vancouver to Banff. Very scenic but I like the present VIA route to Jasper even more, as far as scenery goes. Possibly the CP or CN routes were much different when you took the train back in the 60's. Maybe the CP route east of the Rockies was more scenic than the CN.

I hope many will be able to take the Rocky Mountaineer. It isn't cheap but not expensive compared to, let's say, a round trip sleeper on an Amtrak Long Distance train. One way from Vancouver to Banff or Jasper, Red Leaf service, is reasonable, in my opinion, if you figure in lodging in Kamloops as part of the package.

Richard

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ghCBNS
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The Rocky Mountaineer actually started as a VIA service “The Canadian Rockies by Daylight” in 1988......then was privatized around the time of the big VIA cuts in January 1990.

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Mike Smith
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I have GOT to take that train one of these days!!!
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RRRICH
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In my opinion, both routes are equally scenic through the Canadian Rockies. Back in 1983(?) or so, I rode the Canadian Vancouver-Toronto when it still used the CP route through Banff. I have also ridden it a few times on the present CN route, which is equally scenic west of Jasper -- the two routes going through the northern Ontario Shield area, with all the numerous lakes, rock outcrops, and hills, are also equally scenic.

For you "folksy" fans, the trip on the Canadian through Ontario always reminds me of the Gordon Lightfoot song "Whsipers of the North."

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palmland
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Great photos. You were fortunate to ride the Park Car now. I understand by the spring they will have been remodeled and the rooms made into deluxe bedrooms - similar to the old master bedrooms on the Southern, I assume. They'll have an appropriate price to match. Also the car will be closed briefly a couple times during the day for their private use. But, I assume the lounge/dome area will be remodeled too and should be even nicer.

We almost pulled the trigger on another trip this winter with their fare sale. But after our ride on the Canaddian this spring and another Amtrak trip planned for January we skipped it. I kind of regret that decision.

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KacyB
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We travelled from Vancouver to Toronto in the summer. While I enjoyed Amtrak, I LOVED the Canadian. Jasper was my absolute highlight, but also Niagara falls. Hope you are all well. x
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Henry Kisor
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I rode the old CPR Canadian back in 1987 or '88, just before train-off, and the CNR Canadian three or four years ago. Seems to me the CPR ride along the north shore of Lake Superior helped make that run's scenery slightly better than that of the CNR, helped as well by the ride through Banff and Lake Louise. Otherwise the Rockies runs are equally breathtaking.
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yukon11
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quote:
Originally posted by KacyB:
We travelled from Vancouver to Toronto in the summer. While I enjoyed Amtrak, I LOVED the Canadian. Jasper was my absolute highlight, but also Niagara falls. Hope you are all well. x

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Jasper is a favorite for me, as well, Kacy. I liked it almost as much as Whitefish, Montana. Great ice cream in the shop behind the visitor center.

Just curious...did you overnight in Jasper? If you did, what lodging did you pick and was it satisfactory? I was there a couple of years ago and was somewhat disappointed in the motels in the town of Jasper. Of course, the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge is great but expensive.

Richard

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smitty195
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Fantastic stuff! Thanks for the pictures. I'm with Mike Smith----I really do need to take this train from start to finish. It's on my bucket list (at least I'm crossing off taking a cruise!!!). But this train is so beautiful, as is the scenery, with great food and service---it is a MUST DO for any train fan.

And the photo of the crew cleaning the windows......<sigh> That's stuff us Americans can only dream of.

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Henry Kisor
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I believe the Zephyr windows are still cleaned at Denver and Salt Lake City, by two-person crews with looooooooong-handled mops and squeegees. At least they were last year.

Seems to me I remember similar crews at Albuquerque on the Southwest Chief.

I draw a blank on the Builder.

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RRRICH
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I too seem to recall that the windows on the SWC are cleaned at Albuquerque. I know they used to be, but am not sure whether they still are.
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MontanaJim
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the windows are indeed still cleaned at Albuquerque. I just rode the chief over new years. Had a sleeping berth. Had a great time though i do wish they put the sleepers at the rear of the train, less engine noise there.
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