Barry Lane is a Canadian historian with special interests in British colonial and maritime history. Below, he talks about the excitement of traveling on the Rocky Mountaineer on the final leg of our Canadian Rail Adventure. Click here to learn more about Barry and traveling through Canada with him.
The climax of the rail trip for the passengers is always the last two days, as we cross through the mountain ranges and interior plateaus of British Columbia. The double-decker dome rail cars give us an incredible viewpoint for the endlessly changing scenery, and the space to relax and walk around so that we can share this experience with our new-found friends. It is here that we pass through the famous Spiral Tunnels in the Kicking Horse Pass, constructed to offset some of the highest railway grades in world history.
Trains passing through the tunnels turn twice in quick succession through 360 degrees and lose over 100 feet in total elevation. In some cases, as they exit one of the tunnels, the crews of longer trains can actually see the rear of their train still entering the opening of the tunnel above. Directly above us as we enter the tunnels are towering Mount Stephen and Cathedral Mountain, covered with snow and glacier ice. Far below through the forests, down to the valley floor, one can see the white foam of the Kicking Horse River and the Trans Canada Highway which follows along it.
This is one of the finest views in the Rockies, and each time we go through I cannot help but be awed by the dramatic beauty of the area and the accomplishments of the men who first built the railway through Canada’s deep wilderness. Their contribution lives on in an extraordinary rail journey that reflects Canada’s true spirit.
Click here to read Barry’s previous entry about his past experience on our Canadian Adventure by Rail.