Trains of the Canadian Rockies

While not our prime reason to go north to the Canadian Rockies, trains turned out to be a big part of the story.  Canadian National and Canadian Pacific operate transcontinental lines thru the rockies.  The Rocky Mountaineer luxury passenger train stops in Banff delivering many of the 3.5 million visitors from all over the world.  Banff National Park itself was created after CP workers “discovered” the hot springs there.  The raiload built the famous Fairmont Hotels in Banff, Lake Louise and other scenic locations to spur tourist development.  Morant’s Curve was made famous by the official photographer of the Canadian Pacific Railway.

Canadian Pacific promoted the Rockies

Canadian Pacific promoted the Rockies

CP westbound at Banff

CP westbound at Banff

Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer

Luxury train

Luxury train

Morant's Curve

Morant’s Curve

Jasper is served by the Canadian National Railway.  Trains run from Edmonton AB to Prince Rupert BC.  We tried to ride a special tourist train through the Rockies but they were sold out everyday we were there.  When we saw the train we weren’t surprised since they only had 2 or 3 passenger cars.  The Via Rail CN passenger train “The Canadian” had 16 or more cars and was well supported.

Via Rail tourist train

Via Rail tourist train

-6801

1923 4-8-2 Mountain locomotive

Long oil train at Jasper

Long oil train at Jasper

Yoho National Park is home to the CP’s famous spiral tunnels.  When the transcontinental railroad was first built it included a 4.5% grade on the west side of Kicking Horse pass. This was twice the safe grade permitted by the Canadian government and terrified trainmen as well as passengers.  Though no loss of life was reported the railroad rebuilt the line using spiral tunnels to lengthen the mileage of the grade and reduce the incline.  The two tunnels enter the mountains then spiral back at a higher level so trains literally cross over themselves climbing the pass.  It is a big attraction for visitors to the park and a thrill for railfans.

Map of the Spiral Tunnels

Map of the Spiral Tunnels

Train entering and exiting upper tunnel

Upper Spiral Tunnels

Exiting Lower Spiral Tunnel

Exiting Lower Spiral Tunnel

 Kicking Horse campground trail to discarded engine used in construction

Kicking Horse campground trail to discarded engine used in construction

Revelstoke BC features a large Railway Museum with lots of history and rolling stock displays.  Nearby Glacier National Park has trails to historic trestle piers of the CP railroad.  The park still hosts CP trains crossing Rogers Pass.  Many of the loops of the original route have been replaced by tunnels.

Historic CP trstle support piers

Historic CP trestle support piers

-7034

Sketch of original piers

Eastbound headed for

Eastbound headed for Connaught Tunnel

-7035

Trail follows old rail line

-7055

Beautifully restored CP 2-8-2 Mikado

-7073

Revelstoke Railway Museum snow plow display

The Canadian Museum of Rail Travel is part of the Cranbrook History Centre in Cranbrook BC.  The museum has the largest collection of passenger cars in North America including very special cars for dignitaries such as Queen Elizabeth and Winston Churchill.

Relocated Edwardian Winnepeg train station

Royal Alexandra Hall from CP’s Winnepeg hotel restored in Cranbrook

Elegant dining

Elegant dining

Fascinating guided tour

Fascinating guided tour

First generation diesel Alco PA

First generation diesel Alco PA

Train watching and rail history are two of our favorite reasons to visit the Canadian Rockies.  We will be back.

 

 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Alberta, British Columbia, Canada, RV Travel, trains and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Trains of the Canadian Rockies

  1. captdaveh says:

    Hi guys, nice post. Where are you? Any chance you might stop by Boise as you head South? We are planning to go to Havasu around Jan 1st and stay till the end of the Feb. About Mar 1st we will go to LasVegas to work the NASCAR race. We will be there for about 10 days. If you would like to work it, I can arrange that. After the race we will be coming back home. I know you are planning to go back to Mexico this winter, but, if you change your mind, just let me know. Dave

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. Judi King says:

    You must have been in your glory on that part of your trip. Happy for you. Judi

    Like

  3. Ken says:

    Great post… and some of the best pics yet. That first one – CP westbound at Banff – might be the best shot of your whole blog. Great perspective and looks like it could have been the model for the opening poster. Awesome!

    Like

  4. Lynn says:

    I love the artistic quality of your pictures and that whoever is in the photo has a great big smile! Glad to see you are enjoying these fascinating places you’ve found. Stay safe and well in your latest adventure.

    Like

  5. Your pictures and text convey the engineering feat that was built…spiral loops. Quite the train history and gratefully, preserved with pride. Great post. You both are having the time of your lives.

    Like

  6. linda ahlgren says:

    Corky and I were impressed by both Morant’s curve (how beautiful – and a great view) and by the ingenuity of the spiral tunnels. How wonderful that you two can enjoy ALL of your trip. Love, L

    Like

  7. Happy to see you’ve managed to find lots of trains in your travel adventures – am sure it adds to your enjoyment. Great photos!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s