All Aboard the Trans Canadian, Part VII: 12 Hours Late to Vancouver

Welcome to Kamloops, BC, Canada

Welcome to Kamloops, BC, Canada

I woke up from a peaceful night sleep.  It was a beautiful night but a bittersweet morning as well.  It dawned on me that it was my last night on the train; I had grown to really enjoy my own cozy bed with a mobile view.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the bathroom.  Small, of course.  But it was so nice and it was all mine!  If I had to rate this room and bath, I would totally give it three thumbs up if that was even possible.  The only way the room could have been any better would be if the train came with wi-fi but that would defeat the purpose of the train ride; you’re supposed to stare at rolling nature while conversing with your fellow passengers.  But still, it’d be nice if I had it for a while so I could upload my photos to the internet.  By the time I was completely dressed, it had also dawned on me that the train was supposed to be in Vancouver’s Pacific Central station.  According to our schedule, the train was supposed to arrive that morning, but instead, we were 225 miles northeast of our final destination.  Thanks for nothing CN freight traffic.  Note to all future Via Rail riders who plan on doing this trip: you may not make your final destination on time.  Caveat Emptor.

British Columiba's Thompson-Nicola River near Kamloops.

British Columiba’s Thompson-Nicola River near Kamloops.

Breakfast was served as usual.  It came with a side of the mountains.  It was such a welcome change of pace after days of being surrounded by prairies, farms, and the woods.  Kamloops was not as big as I was picturing it but it was quite lovely especially how it glistened in the morning light with all the fresh snow.  This was the scenery that my mom and I had been waiting for since the moment we boarded the train in Toronto.  Now, we had all that rolling scenery staring back at us.  It was kinda funny how we were supposed to be in Vancouver that morning but instead, we were deep in the heart of the British Columbia wilderness.  On the other hand, had our train been on time, we would have missed this all through the night.

Greetings from Ashcroft, BC, Canada

Greetings from Ashcroft, BC, Canada

About an hour later, our train chugged its way through Kamloops on its way through BC’s beautiful Fraser Valley, near the town of Ashcroft.  Back in 2008 when my dad and I rode the California Zephyr through the Rockies, our train was smack dabbed in the middle of canyons, chasms, valleys, and riverbeds.  Our train snaked past precarious mountain edges and river bends in places that no automobile or even hiker could get close to.  In the observation car, I was rushing back and forth between windows trying to capture the perfect photo.  On one side, the river rolled and rushed over rocks and ice as it shimmered off the sun.  It was the ideal conditions for rafting; the water rapids were not too harsh and the depth was just about right.  If it was summer, I would have asked the conductor to stop the train so I could have a swim.  This is why I came to this little piece of paradise in the wilderness.  There was one ominous, if not odd part of this portion of the trip that piqued my interest.  Around the town of Ashcroft, midway through the valley, I saw a large, empty log cabin with doors missing, windows missing, a roof that looked like it was caving in, and a large rear portion that had a roof missing all together.  It looked like some place a scary drifter would hang out before going hunting.  On the other hand, it could easily be a place that was vacant during the winter that some random hiker could occupy during the warmer summer months.  Whatever it was, your imagination sure runs wild on a trip like this.

Greetings from Skeetchestn, BC, Canada

Greetings from Skeetchestn, BC, Canada

Greetings from Lytton, BC, Canada

Greetings from Lytton, BC, Canada

An abandoned cabin in the wilds of Ashcroft, BC, Canada

An abandoned cabin in the wilds of Ashcroft, BC, Canada

Greetings from Thompson-Nicola, BC, Canada

Greetings from Thompson-Nicola, BC, Canada

After a while, the riverfront scenery gave way to high mountain peaks and we climbed higher as the river got lower and more out of sight.  Instead of mountain tunnels, we made our way to a series of bridges and viaducts that gave way to the woods.  The scenery reminded me of when I was back in the wilds of Ontario.  There was snow just hanging on to every tree and pine needle; it was remarkable how those skinny needles could maintain so much snow.  Then, like clockwork, the train began to slow down.  Once again, there was another freight train blocking our path.  It was one of the lengthiest delays so far.  It figures that when we closing in on Vancouver, we’d be delayed the longest.  Ugh.

Greetings from Fraser Valley, BC, Canada

Greetings from Fraser Valley, BC, Canada

Night fell quickly.  We hurried through Chilliwack en route to Vancouver.  Just as we could see the city skyline through the night fog and rain, our train came to a sudden halt.  It wasn’t just another passing freight train, but there was an Amtrak train near Pacific Central station that had broken down midway over the Fraser River that was obstructing the path of our train.  With each passing minute and hour, I could tell my mom was growing impatient and was nursing a glass of wine to ease the delay.  Still, I did everything I could do relax and keep everyone’s spirits up.  I took photos, selfies, and sipped drinks with our remaining passengers in the last car.  The tension was so thin, you could cut it with a knife.  As I stared out of the dome car, I began to wonder if any passenger would jump ship (I mean, train) and walk across the river to Pacific Central.  Relief came when the train began to make its way up the tracks and across the bridge.  For the first time since we left Toronto, it was nice to see buildings and neighborhood streets again as we zipped through Vancouver.  To make it into the station, we had to maneuver the train backwards; The Canadian had to overshoot the station and then back up to arrive in the station so that the rear dome car was the first one in the station.  Apparently, it was faster to maneuver the train in a three-point turn than it took to make our way across the Fraser River.  We finally made it; only 12 hours late…

Greetings from Vancouver's Pac-Central Station

Greetings from Vancouver’s Pac-Central Station

There was one bright, shinning moment that came out of this long day on the rails.  Jessica, a girl who ran the bar in the dome car, gave me a very special gift on behalf of the Via Rail staff.  It was a cap that was primarily reserved for Via Rail employees.  It was snug, comfortable, and I looked just amazing in it!  Between the birthday cake, the attentive staff, the drinks, and my free cap, I have to say one thing: the Via Rail staff sure are awesome!  When they say Canadians are nice, they ain’t kidding!

"Thank you, VIA Rail!"

“Thank you, VIA Rail!”

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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One Response to All Aboard the Trans Canadian, Part VII: 12 Hours Late to Vancouver

  1. Alisoun Brewster says:

    Sounds like such a wonderful trip!! So happy for you!!😘

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