Riding the Rocky Mountain Rails

British Columbia Travel Blog

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Breakfast on Rocky Mountaineer train
May24
Train: Vancouver to Kamloops, Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf
Hotel: Kamloops Towne Lodge
We had asked if we could get on the bus shuttle to the train station as many people on the train were also staying at the Fairmont. They wanted $20 apiece though so we decided to catch a cab instead. The bright orange Prius cab only took a few minutes to get to the Rocky Mountaineer station (they have their own station separate from the CPR passenger terminal) through the deserted Sunday morning streets.
Breakfast on Rocky Mountaineer train
We hadn't had time to grab breakfast and had hoped there was something to eat at the station, unfortunately they only had coffee. There are separate checkin lines for Gold Leaf and Red Leaf passengers; the Gold Leaf one seemed to take forever with only a few people ahead of us. Checkin was easy; they took our bags and tagged them with the destination. The station didn't seem to be too busy but then the tour buses started arriving.

We finally boarded the train around 7:30. It turns out our seats were in the last Calgary/Banff car, on the right hand side. The train splits up in Kamloops where the other half of the train goes to Jasper. The Gold Leaf cars are double decker and have a glass dome ceiling for viewing the scenery, the dining area is below. Most of the other passengers in the Gold Leaf car were on different tours. The seats are light gold in color, cloth and leather.
Fraser Canyon, British Colombia
I have wide shoulders though so to me the seats still seemed a bit narrow. The cabin attendents Brad and Larissa introduced themselves then offered everyone an introductory mimosa. We soon set off, traveling through the suburbs of Vancouver before crossing the Fraser river. Breakfast and Lunch are served in two seatings; the first day the back half of the car eats first, on the 2nd day the front half of the car is seated first. We were in the front half so had to wait awhile longer for breakfast; luckily they had a fruit bowl onboard to temporarily stave off our hunger.

Finally around 10AM it was time to eat. There were several choices for breakfast; croissants, eggs benedict with Canadian bacon, pancakes, or scrambled eggs with salmon and caviar. The train continued on through the lush green Fraser river valley, the mountains getting ever closer. The sky was gorgeous clear and we could see all the way to Mt.
Hell's Gate, British Colombia
Baker in Washington state. We entered the Fraser canyon, heading towards Hells Gate, the narrowest part of the canyon just over 100 feet wide. The Canadian Pacific and Canadian Northern railways run on opposite sides of the canyon; one is used for eastbound and the other for westbound rail traffic. The terrain started getting drier here in the rain shadow of the mountains. For lunch, we had a choice of:

Aged Triple "A" Alberta Top Sirloin
With roasted nugget potatoes, balsamic demi glace
& flakes of blue cheese.

Black Tiger Prawns
Simmered in a west coast bouillabaise broth,
over a sticky rice cake topped with sauteed vegetables julienne.

Fraser Valley Chicken Breast
Encrusted with wild BC mushrooms, panseared,
served with garlic mashed potatoes & a blueberry relish.


Vegetarian Appeal
Traditional penne pasta tossed in garlic parsley olive oil
& asparagus over a rich tomato sauce.

Light Choice
Fresh vegetables layered with wonton crisps,
balsamic vinegar molasses, garlic & herb coulis.


We soon left the Fraser river and started climbing up the Thompson river canyon.. the two rivers are different colors and you can just catch a glimpse of the two colors mixing. The Thompson canyon was definitely much drier with scree slopes and avalanche sheds protecting the rail lines on both sides. The Trans-Canada Highway follows the rail line for most of the canyon. The river has several world class rapids but it was a bit early yet for rafting season. It's best to have a seat on the left side of the train for this section if headed eastbound.
We finally approached the Kamloops lake, a huge lake on the Thompson river. Very few boats but mirror smooth reflecting the blue sky.

We arrived in Kamloops just after 5PM; they already had our hotel room keys for us as we got off the train. The town was bigger than I expected; it's a crossroads of road, river and rail and an important transportation hub. Kamloops means 'the meeting of the waters', where the North and South Thompson rivers join. The train coming through must eat up a good number of the hotel rooms in town! We caught the shuttlebus to our hotel (Kamloops Towne Lodge), where our bags were already waiting (they bus them in from Vancouver; only 5 hrs by road but all day by rail). The night in the hotel and dinner are included in the train fare. They put on a show at night for the train passengers, Rhythm of the Rails.. it's not included though and at $50 apiece didn't sound too appealing. The hotel was nice enough, a bit of an older hotel with a huge inner atrium. The room had a huge flatscreen TV. For those interested in points there was a Hampton Inn just across the street and a Sheraton Four Points nearby. The next day the shuttlebuses were arriving at 6:15AM so we called it an early night.



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Breakfast on Rocky Mountaineer tra…
Breakfast on Rocky Mountaineer tr…
Breakfast on Rocky Mountaineer tra…
Breakfast on Rocky Mountaineer tr…
Fraser Canyon, British Colombia
Fraser Canyon, British Colombia
Hells Gate, British Colombia
Hell's Gate, British Colombia
Thompson river, British Colombia
Thompson river, British Colombia
Rocky Mountaineer Lunch
Rocky Mountaineer Lunch
Rocky Mountaineer Lunch
Rocky Mountaineer Lunch
Kamloops church
Kamloops church
British Columbia
photo by: hummingbird50