Spectacular Rail Journeys – Icefields Parkway
The Famous Rocky Mountaineer Train
Travelling aboard the privately owned Rocky Mountaineer is an unforgettable experience
The train journey takes place during daylight hours to ensure you enjoy every minute of the breath-taking scenery, retracing train routes constructed over 100 years ago through the Canadian Rockies and Canada West. Ferocious rivers, majestic mountain ranges, glacier-fed lakes, all from the comfort of a roomy carriage or observation dome.
RedLeaf is a comfortable and relaxing option without over spending. Breakfast and lunch trays are served to you on the train on both days and your main luggage is out in the baggage car for the whole trip.
GoldLeaf is the most luxurious option. GoldLeaf clients have a separate dining area with superior meals and their own observation deck. Luggage is delivered to your overnight hotel en route.
SilverLeaf, introduced on selected routes, is a newer grade priced between the RedLeaf and GoldLeaf grades travelling in a one level Dome Car.
Rocky Mountaineer’s programme will now include a new stop in Lake Louise which will mean a much shorter transfer for clients staying in that area. The company will also be offering a new service out of Seattle on selected dates to cater for the much increased cruise traffic which is now using the city as their home port – Goldleaf service only is being offered initially – ask me for further details.
Other Train Journeys
Via Rail including the famous Canadian
Via Rail operate most of the passenger rail services within Canada. The trains are very comfortable and staff extremely attentive; it is worth considering paying the first class fare (called Via 1) which offers plenty of room and complimentary meals served to your seat.
The Canadian is one of Canada’s most well-known trains travelling across the country on a 4 night itinerary Toronto – Winnipeg – Edmonton – Jasper – Vancouver or vice versa (or part of the journey). The train has been fully restored to its 1950s glory – its stainless steel coaches are solid and functional. Unlike the Rocky Mountaineer, you sleep on the train and enjoy all your meals served in the restaurant car – service levels are not as high as Rocky Mountaineer but adequate and the dress is casual. Please contact me for full details of accommodation available.
The Malahat runs from Victoria (Vancouver Island) to Courtenay, an enjoyable way to discover Vancouver Island’s Pacific Coast, taking just over 4 hours – there is no meal service – but snacks are available at Nanaimo en route.
The Ocean links Montreal and Halifax by night via the St Lawrence River and across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Sleeping and seating accommodation is available. Shorter journeys can be made using this train in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Jasper to Prince Rupert formerly The Skeena
A 2 day daylight service running from Jasper to Prince Rupert on the North Pacific Coast along the Skeena River and Rocky Mountain Passes, stopping 1 night at Prince George. The 725 mile route takes you past Mount Robson.
The Corridor Region Trains
Via Rail is a convenient way of getting from city centre to city centre in this area. Typical journey times are: Toronto to Montreal – 5 hours; Montreal to Quebec City – 3 hours; Toronto to Ottawa – 4 hours plus; Ottawa to Montreal – 2 hours
Icefields Parkway – Columbia Icefield – Snocoach Ride
If visiting the Rockies, a drive along the Icefields Parkway is one of the highlights of the trip and can very easily be combined with a trip on the Famous Rocky Mountaineer Train.
The Icefields Parkway (Highway 93), 143 miles long, is a scenic road specifically built with tourism in mind, crossing the rugged landscape of the Canadian Rockies. It connects the Banff and Lake Louise areas and Jasper, passing through both the Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. It was one of the many construction projects started in the Great Depression and finished in 1940. Commercial vehicles are denied access to it and there is a 55mph speed limit (some parts lower).
Apart from the marvellous contrasting scenery and wildlife to be enjoyed en route, most visitors make time to stop at the Columbia Icefield (nearer to Jasper), travelling up to the Athabasca Glacier in a large wheeled Snocoach.
This trip (including the Snocoach ride) can be included in many itineraries of the Rockies. A day excursion along the Icefield Parkway is a useful way of transferring between the Banff/Lake Louise areas and Jasper (or vice versa) without the need to double back, before continuing your holiday on the Rocky Mountaineer or elsewhere. The trip can also be easily incorporated into a Self-Drive Tour.
The Glacier Skywalk is Icefield Parkway’s newest attraction consisting of a glass floored observation platform extending 30 metres out over the Sunwapta Valley offering spectacular views.