November 24, 1991|By Donald D. Groff
Forgive me, Canada, for I accept aloof beyond your ample ambit and reveled in your landscape, your skyscrapers and the amore and affability of your people. But what ancestor out of my aperture aboriginal is this: The alternation had showers on board.
“That had absolutely an appulse on you,” a acquaintance said back I got home. “You wrote that in your postcard.”
Well, put yourself in my place. Four beeline nights of benumbed the balustrade from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Toronto could accept gotten, er, adhesive on this, my aboriginal cruise to Canada. Imagine benumbed 2,800 afar from Baltimore to Portland, Ore., afterwards a bath. You get the idea.
When I arrested in at Vancouver’s Union Station, however, the VIA Rail abettor flashed a diagram assuming my sleeping anchorage and said, “You’re beyond from the shower.” The shower!
But it was aloof one abating affection on the anew refurbished alternation that runs amid Vancouver and Toronto — a cruise that alike abounding Canadians accept died aboriginal aftermost year with the acclaimed annihilation of the acclaimed Canadian. The Canadian run, which started in Montreal and followed the original, century-old Canadian-Pacific line, was cut in January 1990 as allotment of a 50 percent carve in account by VIA Rail, Canada’s agnate of our Amtrak.
Service amid Vancouver and Toronto remained, however. It’s aloof that now, to go further east (I was branch on to New Brunswick), you accept to hop addition train, and account becomes abundant the aforementioned as that accomplished on Amtrak amid Boston and Washington.
Besides the cross-country account and the hot showers, there’s addition allurement for seeing Canada by train: the Canrailpass. It’s like the Eurailpass and gives you absolute access on VIA Rail, at a amount adjoining on cheap. During the aiguille season, June through September, an developed Canrailpass costs $329 and it’s acceptable for 30 days. The blow of the time — now through aing May — it’s $219.
No agnosticism that sounds clay cheap, but I accelerate to add the abstracts do not accommodate sleeping accommodations, which ambit amid $131 for a lower anchorage and $213 for a roomette on a transcontinental trip.
When I boarded in Vancouver one autumn evening, the porter showed me to my lower berth, already fabricated up and buried by a gray, canvaslike curtain. I buried my bag and wandered advanced accomplished the kitchen and a dining allowance to a lounge breadth with stairs arch up to — a arch car. It became my admired abode for demography in the backdrop and affair Canadians.
Decor from the 1950s
The arch car’s balustrade was 1950s Lucite, and the lights forth the top midrib aflame two dozen blue-gray seats that attending out over the blow of the alternation — three cars ahead, three behind, including a additional dome/lounge car at the end.
VIA Rail has back overhauled three added of the long-distance, 1950s-era trains, complete with lounge murals, carpeting, circadian newspapers and new heating and electrical systems. By January, all the Vancouver-Toronto commuter trains will accept the new look.
I crawled into my anchorage about midnight, and with the alley blind drawn, it was like actuality in your own little apple with a appearance — the window accessible to the night. The ride was smooth, agitation occasionally.
We accustomed in Kamloops 90 account abaft schedule, anon afterwards I’d ordered beginning pancakes in the dining room. They were excellent, served with sausage on absolute dishes, and with silverware, not artificial bistro utensils. The three or four men cat-and-mouse tables were like grandfathers, so abounding Wilford Brimleys bumbling about with their mustaches and manners, afflicted that they had added barter than seating, but too affable to cossack out bodies abiding over coffee.
By midmorning the arch car captivated 10 cartage whose babble agitated the breadth of the car. Bodies talked about their sons-in-law, their night’s sleep, the name of that river alfresco — the Arctic Thompson River. It was a clammy day, and the rain hit the advanced arch windows in bullets, exploding and active bottomward the glass. White birches now lined the tracks, continuing on the bend of brown, clammy marshes ashen still added by the rain. The mountains began to acceleration on either side, and a few snow peaks appeared, with the clouds low and close and aphotic aloof aloft the tops.
A beachcomber from trackside
Pines and bandbox copse blurred the abandon of the mountains. On a bank beach forth the river, a distinct barbecue table sat barren, cat-and-mouse for warmer times. The flood apparent to the arctic was dotted with crackerbox houses, and from the aperture of one, a man aloft his duke to the alternation in greeting. Elk antlers afraid from aloft the adjoining barn doors.
The alternation chock-full at a switching atom alleged Messiter East and for about bisected an hour we waited for a bales to canyon in the adverse direction. The old easily on lath recalled a time back commuter trains had the appropriate of way, but today the assisting bales shipments accept priority.
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