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Rocky Mountaineer

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Revision as of 05:38, 2 October 2006 by 24.81.112.124 (Talk)

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If you want to see the Canadian Rockies in style, you can't get better than the Rocky Mountaineer [1] tourist train. This train takes you through the heart of the Canadian Rockies, offering two levels of service - redleaf and goldleaf.

Where is it?

The Rocky Mountaineer is actually two trains - it travels from Vancouver to Kamloops the first day, through fairly pastoral country with a lot of lakes, which changes to a much drier desert-type region as you approach Kamloops. The second day the train splits into two segments, the first half travelling to Jasper on the northern track, while the remainder of the train goes south to Banff. The southern route has recently been extended and it is possible to continue to Calgary on the same train. The trip also runs in reverse, as the trains go back and forth several times a week. During this second day's travel, the scenery rapidly becomes mountainous and the train travels along the Bow River Gorge and into the Rockies.

What do you get for your money?

Redleaf includes a seat in a standard train carriage and cold meals served at your seat. Goldleaf passengers travel in an elevated domed car, with a special dining room for each carriage where you are served gourmet meals (such as scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and lobster eggs benedict for breakfast.) Access to the GoldLeaf dome seating is by way of a spiral staircase or an elevator for people who might have trouble with the stairs.

GoldLeaf Service also includes an observation platform at the end of each car so you can stand outside and enjoy the scenery and take pictures without worrying about the glare from the windows.

Goldleafcarriage.jpgThe interior of a goldleaf carriage.

While you can travel between Vancouver and Jasper by VIARail train, the VIARail train departs Vancouver at 5:30 PM and arrives in Jasper the following morning at 11:00 AM. The train departs Jasper at 3:30 PM each Monday, Thursday and Saturday and arrives in Vancouver at 7:50 AM the following morning. The Rocky Mountaineer is an all daylight train, traveling only during the daylight hours, so you can see a whole lot more.

During the summer, however, when the days are 16 hours long, you can actually see a lot of scenery on the VIARail train, and if you have your heart set on sleeping on the train, the VIARail is the way to go.

How much is it?

The Rocky Mountaineer is run by private enterprise, and they offer a wide range of tourist packages to suit different needs. You can do anything from a one-way trip to Jasper or Banff up to a complete trip across Canada, or a circuit of the Rockies with stays at Lake Louise and the Banff Springs Hotel.

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