October 1
This morning we watched an old promotional movie for Canadian Rail passenger service in 1960. The voiceover narration describes the luxury and modern convenience aboard the train and shows the train passing through magnificent countryside. The people on board are dressed for a special occasion. Men in suits and ties, women in dresses, many with hats, children wearing their best clothes and everyone appearing to be having a wonderful time.

Our impression is that long distance passenger rail in Canada has suffered much as it has in the US. The cross country train that we are riding only makes three trips a week most of the year and in the winter only two. Our compartment is tiny and cramped but the beds are comfortable and the meals have been excellent. The train staff are attentive and helpful. It is clear though that passenger trains are secondary to the freight service. We spend long stretches of time on sidings while freight trains of a hundred cars or more race by. Other times we crawl along so that trains can pass us at a high speed.

Edmonton was another surprise today. It is approached from the east through miles of refineries and oil wells. It seems like a much larger city than Winnipeg but unlike the other cities we’ve been through, the station is far out of the city. It is nothing like the grand old stations that we’ve passed through. It is a small brick building that wouldn’t be out of place in some little British town.

In Edmondton a Panorama car was added to the train. We sat there as we entered the Rockies. Unfortunately the bright sun of earlier in the week was gone. It was cloudy with mist now and again. The mountains were striking but the photos we took didn’t turn out all that well. Max had hoped to get a few good ones as subjects for his winter painting. Late in the day the sun finally broke through giving us a short time to admire the snow capped peaks gleaming in the light. We were able to watch the sun slide behind the mountains.

The mountains in the clouds

The mountains in the clouds

Viewing mountains from the panorama car.

Viewing mountains from the panorama car.

Sunset in the Rockies

Sunset in the Rockies

winter painting. Late in the day the sun finally broke through giving us a short time to admire the snow capped peaks gleaming in the light. We were able to watch the sun slide behind the mountains.