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Field Trip: Stalking the Whistler Rocky Mountaineer!

Click on each image for a closer look!

Earlier this month, I vacationed for a week in the wonderful resort town of Whistler in British Columbia. While there, I couldn't resist doing a little trainspotting.

The Rocky Mountaineer company is well know for running tourist passenger trains through the Rocky Mountains with the focus on providing memorable experiences. The railway line in this area ran originally from Squamish at the head of Howe Sound to Whistler and beyond. Freight cars were barged and ferried from Vancouver to Squamish. In 1956, that all changed when a very scenic railway line was built between the mountains and the sea from Vancouver to Squamish eliminating the sea link.

In past years, B.C. Rail operated a tourist train from Vancouver to Squamish using one of the famed CPR Royal Hudsons that they had restored to operating condition. My daughter and I were fortunate to ride that train many years ago all the while standing on the back platform of the observation car being regaled with railway facts, figures and history by railway buffs who joined us.

Today the rail line is owned by the CN and the Rocky Mountaineer operates a purpose-built and nicely painted trainset using modern diesels from Vancouver to Whistler via Squamish. Note that one of the passenger cars shown in the attached images however is an original CPR tourist car which allowed passenger to view the passing scenery without windows getting in the way. This car is part of the collection of the West Coast Railway Association and is leased by them to the Rocky Mountaineer Company.

Note also that a CN rail truck precedes each train to ensure that there are no dangerous rockfalls or other obstacles on the roadbed as the train often is clinging to the side of rock walls.

The station in Whistler is actually one of the Whistler Resorts (shown in the attached image) built in very recent times on a small lake at the south end of Whistler. The station part is a covered area of the resort at one end where passengers can embark and disembark on buses which take them into the heart of Whistler itself for a few hours before the train returns.

Posting and pictures by Russ Milland

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