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A Very Happy Canada Day to us all!

A Very Happy Canada Day to us all!

Old Jul 2nd 2020, 12:14 pm
  #16  
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Default Re: A Very Happy Canada Day to us all!

Originally Posted by scilly View Post
Ah, yes that was in the "old" days, when there were still the CP and CN passenger trains. You were on the southern route with CP.
VIA was formed after CP and CN wanted out of the passenger business and the government was forced to take action to maintain a train service.
They took the stainless steel cars that CP used on the southern route, but decided to use CN's northern route, that goes Winnipeg to Saskatoon, where they built a new station outside the city! There literally is nothing near the station.
We rode both CN and CP in the 70s and early 80s, but then not again until about 15 years ago. There was something attractive about both routes. We went from Vancouver to Regina in 1982.
I was working for the CPR when Via Rail started, and they ran the new blue cars on the #1 (westbound passenger) for awhile. I took one trip in them but can't remember too much about it other than big seats and increased leg room. I think I may have paid a little on top of my free pass to ride in it, same way we could pay to upgrade to a sleeper! (in the 60's it cost $4 to upgrade to a sleeper for 1 night). When I was an employee my pass was good for 1 return annually anywhere between Winnipeg and Vancouver, but when I was still at home our pass was good anywhere in the system, so we went to Toronto as well. Getting off the train to buy food or explore wasn't something we used to do when I was a kid; dad would drive us to Saskatoon and mom would take 2 or 3 of us kids onto the train with a little suitcase full of sandwiches and apples and we'd ride to Regina, take the #1* to Kamloops then get on the CN to go to Oliver (or we'd go to Vancouver, and sometimes then to Seattle to visit relatives). When the Dominion and Canadian made the last trip, company officials lined the platforms at every stop with screwdrivers and wrenches and pry bars in hand, ready to steal all the plaques on the sides of the cars, and they didn't last long.
When we took the train to go shopping or to the dentist, I got to ride in the caboose, and sometimes in the cab of the steam engine, but on the return trip I was often forced to ride in the passenger car, and assumed the role of a very small conductor, checking people's tickets to make sure they belonged there. Dad heard they were going to close the small stations, and so we had to move to the city, and towns where the morning and evening trains were the economic and social life blood began to dwindle.


The farmer who bought our old home at auction refused to sell it, even though he was made some serious offers for it, until he was about ready to die, then he relented and said sell it so someone can make a house out of it. I feel good about that, and would like to see it now.
*Westbound trains are odd-numbered, and Eastbound trains are even-numbererd

Last edited by caretaker; Jul 2nd 2020 at 1:10 pm.
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Old Jul 2nd 2020, 6:30 pm
  #17  
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Default Re: A Very Happy Canada Day to us all!

Caretaker .............. that is absolutely fascinating!!

You really were a railway kid!!

OH and I love riding the trains. So far we have taken VIA 28 times from Vancouver to Halifax and back since 2004, with an additional 4 or 5 trips only as far as Jasper or back.

We did an additional 3 trips back in the 70/80s ....... went as far as Moncton in 1970, when the train split at Capreol for Toronto or Montreal. I now can't remember whether that was CP or CN ............ the photos are somewhere!! Then to Regina on CP when we had an upper and lower berth, the one in the lower birth had to share it with the "octopus", aka daughter. We also went to Edmonton on the CN at some point back then.
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Old Jul 2nd 2020, 7:16 pm
  #18  
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Default Re: A Very Happy Canada Day to us all!

I love trains. I was just born in the wrong part of history to enjoy them as a passenger. But I am glad I was able to do at least one long haul train ride across part of Canada.

I used to take random train rides to Los Angeles from San Diego back in the day when I was living there, nice 6-8 hours total to spend a day. About 3 hours each way, but sometimes had to wait a bit in LA for the next train to depart. When I was a kid I always wanted to be a train engineer, but it never worked out..



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Old Jul 2nd 2020, 9:16 pm
  #19  
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Default Re: A Very Happy Canada Day to us all!

We rode the trains back in England, Dad didn't have a car, so we had to use the long-distance coach or train system if we wanted to go any long distance.

Of course, much of that was back in the steam train days ............ you usually arrived at a destination with a smutty face if you'd had the window open and stuck your head out. It was also most of it before the train system was decimated .......... although I saw somewhere that there is talk of reviving some of the old lines.

OH, like so many small boys in Britain, used to collect engine numbers ............ stand on a bridge over the railway line, and get the smoke right in their faces while they did

I went as far as Yugoslavia on the train on a school holiday back in the 50s, that was interesting .............. and very interesting to contrast it with taking trains from Germany (both East and West), Austria and Switzerland through France to England in much later years! Those fast electric trains just don't have the same romantic feel!
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