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Canada by Train - The Great Adventure

By | June 11, 2009

Board The Rocky Mountaineer on the final days of your trip westward across Canada.

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.

Click here to learn more about tours to Canada and our rail tours.

Barry Lane

Barry Lane is a historian with special expertise in Canadian history and the railroad. He has accompanied Smithsonian travelers on many journeys across Canada and lectured extensively to cruise ship passengers sailing along the St. Lawrence and in the Canadian Maritimes. Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, he studied history at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. He later served as a captain in the United Nations Emergency Force, Sinai, at its headquarters on the Suez Canal in Egypt. Barry co-founded and has served as vice-president of Canadian Cultural Landscapes since 1983.

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