The scoop on my favorite train

Posted by Fred Frailey
on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Train name: VIA Rail Canada's Canadian.

Length of route: 2,775 miles (give or take).

Duration of trip: 82 hours (in theory).

Car count leaving Vancouver August 11, 2015: 25 cars, including 14 regular sleepers and 1 Prestige class sleeper.

Lounge and dining cars: 7 cars, including four dome lounges, two diners and 1 Panarama glass-roofed lounge.

Passengers leaving Vancouver: 372, including 111 in the two coaches, 253 in regular sleepers and 8 in the Prestige car.

On-board service staff: 32, including seven in each dining car (plus two engineers).

Ratio of passengers to staff: 12:1.

Beds in sleeping cars leaving Vancouver: 316.

Beds not occupied by passengers or staff: 31.

Passengers leaving Edmonton: 193.

Passengers arriving Toronto: 187.

Meals to be served this trip: Approximately 2,000.

Price to book a Prestige room: Approximately $7,000.

Price to book my roomette (after various discounts): Approximately $800.

Car count of competing Rocky Mountaineer train leaving for Jasper, Alta., behind the Canadian: 13.

Time consumed walking from Kootenay Park on the rear of the train to coach 8103 on the front, and back again: 31 minutes.

Distance walked: 2048 steps.

Bruises to shoulders and arms during walk: 3.

Number of moving parts on this 60-year-old trainset: tens of thousands.

Number of moving parts that actually work: Apparently all of them (think about that).

Train status: leaving Kamloops, B.C., 8 minutes late; Valemont, B.C., 45 minutes late; Jasper, Alta., 33 minutes late; Unity, Sask., 2 hours late: Rivers, Man., 2.5 hours late; Sioux Lookout, Ont., 4 hours late; Hornepayne, Ont., 6 hours 30 minutes late (to be updated).

Weather forecast every day: God must love us.

Days each year the peak of Mount Robson, tallest of the Canadian Rockies, can be seen at trackside: 6.

What you saw of Mount Robson: Who put that cloud in the way?

Priority over Canadian National freight trains: Practically none.

times you've ridden this train: 11.

Your first trip: June 1971.

Your second trip: February 2009.

Your most recent trip: Early 2015.

Outcome of that previous trip: When train became 14 hours late, I bailed out at Capreol, Ont., and flew Air Canada to Toronto.

Bad feelings caused by that previous trip: None, because I bailed and made my connection.

Your favorite time to ride the Canadian: On the coldest, nastiest week of the year.

Why you said that: Only the adventurous souls ride then, and you make friends.

Possibility of arriving Toronto on time (9:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 15): 100%.

Likelihood of arriving Toronto on time: 0% (By Sioux Lookout, we are past the point of miracles)

The consist of VIA 2 (11) - sleeping car line numbers in parenthesis

6416 locomotive

6410 locomotive


8615 baggage

8103 coach

8116 coach

8502 Skyline dome

Fairholme Diner A

8506 Skyline dome

Drummond Manor (222)

Franklin Manor (221)

Wolfe Manor (220)

Chateau Dollier (223)

Chateau Rouville (219)

Chateau Lasalle (218) (off Edmonton)

Chateau Marauette (217) (off Edmonton)

1720 Panarama (off Edmonton)

Butler Manor (216)

Bliss Manor (215)

McDonald Manor (214)

Amherst Manor (213) (I'm in roomette 4)

8509 Skyline dome

Alexandra Diner B

Allan Manor (212)

Osier Manor (211)

Monck Manor (210)

Chateau Denonville (230)

Prestige Kootenay Park (239) sleeper dome lounge observation

25 cars

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