Glacier NP Canada was our first train watching spot in Canada. Our
vacation began 25 Aug. 2000 when we landed in Spokane, WA. We did some BNSF on
our way up. CPR runs pretty much along the Trans-Canada Highway, Rt. 1.
This shot is near the
entrance to the park. The scenery pretty much overwhelms the train here in
See the complete guide online here.
A grain train heads West out of Field. It is just preparing to pass
under Rt. 1. We saw alot of grain trains moving. Our trip was planned for mixed
activities. We hoped to get in some train watching with our visit to Canada's
parks. As it turned out, we did more train watching than planned due to certain
unexpected events, including the bad weather. It was often too wet and cold to
even railfan. Can you imagine that?
| Before we settle into Field, lets chase westbound
Number 9669 through an historic area just East of Field. We picked
the train up just East of West Lake Louise. This actually was our first
day in the area and we were on our way to Golden from Cranbrook. We took
the scenic route through Radium, Kootenay Nat. Park and Lake Loiuse instead
of the direct route up 95. This is when the weather turned nasty.
W. Lake Louise is a beautiful spot to watch trains. It is right on the highway
and there is a lodge, resturaunt and gas station to my back. It is just a couple
miles East of Field. There is alot of horse power on this train, four GE AC4400CWs.
We got use to this lashup, but there were not usually four motors.
Number 9669 continues its journey at historic Spiral Tunnels. The
tunnels are in Yoho Nation Park as is all of this sequence of 9669. The
tunnels were built in 1909 and reduce the original 4.5% grade to 2.2%.
The crews will call Cathedral near this point for Cathedral Mountain. There
is a pull over and info at the spot but it was closed for renovation. The
train has come out of the upper tunnel and is headed for the lower tunnel.
This is one of my favorite shots because of the clouds.
Field will be our home base for 3 nights. It is a beautiful spot nestled
in the mountains. We actually got a few minutes of nice weather our first morning
there. This pair of locos sat there idling for 24 hours before being placed on an
eastbound grain train. This AC4400CW and SD90MAC lashup was also very common.
An eastbound covered hopper train pulls into Field. Field is a crew
change point so all the trains stop there. There is a railroaders hotel
for the crews. Speaking of hotels, we stayed at the
Kicking Horse Lodge which is right on the tracks. It was helpful due to the
bad weather. I could hangout in the room or on the porch until my scanner announced
an arrival. Then I could dash out and get my photo or video without getting too
wet. This is where our Ford rental car died. I could watch trains while I waited
for a swap.
Westbound covered hoppers pull into Field for the crew change.
As luck would have it, the eastbounder was still there so we had a meeting of the
hoppers. There was also a cut of cars left in the yard. That's what you see
on the left. You can see an off-going crewman inspecting the train as it leaves.
This was common practice. It was also interesting to note that CP doesn't blow
for grade crossings in towns. I know American roads do and people on the lines
Midtrain helpers were also a common sight. There are lashed in as
distributed power, e.g. they are controlled by radio and have no crews aboard.
After driving through these mountains it is easy to see why they would need
them. This unit was on the westbound grain train above.
The Rocky Mountaineer shows up in Field. It also stopped for a crew
change. We will see this train several times in Field as well as in Jasper and
Canmore. This train goes through some great country. I understand they treat you
great and you stay in some beautiful hotels built and owned by CPR.
But it is VERYexpensive! You can take a look at the hotels
here. They are part of Canadian
rail history. If you don't want to spend the money to stay there, you should at
least stop in and check 'em out. Unbelievable!!
Begin the chase. OK, let's chase another train near W. Lake Louise, which
is where this photo is taken. The clouds were actually high enough to see the top
of the mountain. We have just left Field heading East to Lake Louise on our way
to Jasper. We stopped for gas an encountered this train. The chase West was on!
Lower Spiral Tunnel is our next stop. The train is just heading into the
tunnel. This is below (west) of the shot of 9669 above. This shot is from the
Spiral Tunnel observation pull-off. The shot was taken with a 105mm lens.
Avalanche Shed This avalanche shed is just after the track passes under
the highway. There is a nice pull-off that gets you off the road so you can shoot
pictures and video without getting run over by a truck. Rt. 1 is REALLY busy.
A tunnel quickly follows the avalanche shed. I guess those short model
railroad tunnels are prototypical after all. This is our last shot of the CPR.
From here we head to Jasper for a different railroad.
Canadian National just east of Jasper about a quarter mile. This was
a great spot. I pulled into a picnic area to park, crossed Rt. 16 and walked up
tracks. I found a rock with a nice seat in it and spent the day. Unfortunately
I was unaware of the camera problems and lost most of the shots.
CN This shot is farther East about 5 miles. I caught an east and
westbounder. What great scenery! Canadian National trains ran with much less
power than did CPR. I guess they are operating in a flatter area.