Travel Bureau - All aboard Canada's Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer - An Epic Train Ride that’s a Bucket-List Must

Thursday 28 September 2017

Our marketing manager Kathryn Malone recently travelled to Canada with luxury holiday company First Class who specialise in tailor-made Canadian itineraries. Here she tells us all about her journey aboard the Rocky Mountaineer…

Rocky Mountaineer

My scheduled departure out of Banff station on that crisp July morning was aboard no ordinary train. As we ventured out through the early morning mist, which cloaked the spectacle that was set to come, the chattering passengers of the Rocky Mountaineer were full of expectation.

Much like those first explorers, fur traders and gold seekers, our two-day journey west, across the Canadian Rockies, was to be a fascinating journey of discovery.

True to its name, the ‘First Passage to the West’ from Banff to Vancouver retraces the historic Canadian Pacific Railway, famous for uniting the country and connecting British Columbia to Canada over 125 years ago. Now a flagship route for this luxury touring train, our journey took us past emerald green, glacier-fed rivers and fir-clad mountains, across suspension bridges of engineered excellence and through dusty towns, heavy with the histories of their pioneering founders.

View from the Rocky Mountaineer

Luckily, our Silver Leaf carriage hosts were on hand to ensure none of these colourful tales or the unfolding natural wonders passed us by without notice. Setting out from Banff towards Lake Louise we were told of the founding of Canada’s National Parks, its early European visitors and the First Nations people of Canada, all whilst tucking into freshly baked cinnamon scones, served to our tables with piping hot coffee. Sitting within our glass-domed canopy, the mist rose to reveal the picture postcard views that we had all been waiting for. Eyes were peeled for glimpses of wildlife, with strict instructions to shout out our moose, eagle or bighorn sheep sightings, so that everyone in the carriage could share in the spectacle.

Glass-ceiling carriage

As the landscapes rolled by, further tall tales were shared of the race to the west by the railroads, the arduous expeditions of those early explorers and the amazing feats of engineering that still make this journey possible today. The spiral tunnels through mountain innards that took 1,000 men 20 months to complete being just one such achievement. The entire journey was blessed with engaging commentary and interesting anecdotes from our carriage hosts, never over-bearing and always delivered as if telling these tales for the first time.

Around another bend, over another creek, the views kept on coming to be savoured from the comfort of our seats, accompanied by a cheeky glass of wine (or two) and a delicious three course lunch. The Silver Leaf breakfast and lunch menus over both days offered a culinary tour of Canada with a choice of two dishes for each course including a gluten free and lighter option, with other special dietary requirements catered for at a moment’s notice. Our meals were all prepared off the train but Hamish our carriage chef, worked wonders from his tiny galley kitchen to serve up these tasty treats to our individual tastes. If you’re travelling Gold Leaf the menu choice is broader and served à la carte in a separate lower deck dining area of your two-tier carriage.

Fantastic service on board

Stepping out to the vestibule (or larger viewing deck if you’re travelling Gold Leaf) for some post lunch fresh air and to capture some photo memories through the open windows, the heat struck me. Gone was the mountain chill, and the rolling pastures and desert-like tundra that had crept up on us whilst we ate, was a pleasant surprise.

As the train has no sleeping quarters, our overnight stop, which is included in the journey, was in Kamloops, a sleepy little town with a riverside park to stretch our legs and plenty of dining options, although a light bite and an early night was all we could muster.

Day two of our magnificent 594-mile journey brought much of the same, with desert plains turning to pastures, the train skirted sprawling lakes and snaked again around mountain ridges, before the city of Vancouver beckoned in the distance. More fine food, a little snooze (shhh!) and lots more gazing out the window were blissfully the only things that required my attention.

Fine food and wine

The one thing that had changed was the atmosphere on board. After 48 hours of making friends and sharing stories and experiences, a more congenial band of travellers you could not find. Leaving our glass cocoon, having relived the struggles of those first pioneers and marvelled at nature’s genius together, we bid fond farewells and made promises to ourselves of return journeys to Jasper, Whistler and beyond, with the slow life of train travel never feeling more appealing.

 

To find out more about holidays to Canada call our team of personal travel experts on 0191 285 9321 or email holidays@travelb.co.uk.

Foreign currency now from Travel Bureau

Planning a holiday, honeymoon or trip abroad? Speak to our team about currency today.

Find out more

Latest Event

Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 11:00 to 16:00
India specialists Cox & Kings have been inspiring travel for over 260 years, offering private tailor-made itineraries, small group...
Friday, November 10, 2017 - 14:00 to 19:00
Join Travel Bureau and preferred cruise partners Silversea for an indulgent ladies afternoon tea event at Close House and immerse yourself...

Latest News

Following her inaugural sailings in the Caribbean in Winter 2018, Celebrity Cruises has just announced that its new addition to the fleet, Celebrity Edge, will be based in Europe for summer 2019. Offering sailings from...
Aman is a unique, luxury travel brand whose focus is on location and experience, with a high staff to guest ratio and elegant design in destinations amid some of the world’s most diverse natural and historical landscapes.  ...
Qatar Airways has announced the addition of two new routes to its international schedule. As of December 2017, Qatar will operate a four times weekly service to Chiang Mai, the airline’s fourth destination in Thailand. The...
The line’s 16th ship, Norwegian Bliss, which is due for delivery next Spring, will sail to Alaska and the Caribbean with select voyages to the Mexican Riviera beginning in June 2018. The ship’s exciting new features will...
Long-established North-East venue, Close House, is currently playing host to the prestigious British Masters golf championship. We would like to share with you some lovely feedback that we received from one of our corporate...

Travel Tweets

Discover #Italy - get a free excursion when you book your @Citalia_Holiday. Call us on 0191 285 9321 or visit our… https://t.co/1VEJh4u0JF 12 hours 4 min ago
@CoxAndKings 2018 Solo Traveller Brochure out now! Speak to our personal travel experts to find out more and save o… https://t.co/KsdKap1c8N 1 day 12 hours ago
RT @AJEnglish: Diwali is celebrated to remember that light triumphs over dark and good triumphs over evil https://t.co/FhNL3NKkxZ https://t… 1 day 21 hours ago
RT @ThingsWork: This is how a bear fishes underwater https://t.co/OBNsX0HkhT 1 day 21 hours ago
RT @NInsightmag: Meetings, incentives, conferences & events. Anne Bromley provides some must-dos for any #MICE planner @travelb https://t.… 1 day 21 hours ago
RT @CelebrityCruise: Now extended! Book ur #Alaska CruiseTour by 11/1 & get 2 perks (suite guests get 4!) + up to $300 in onboard credit! h… 1 day 21 hours ago
RT @CelebrityUK: Discover shore excursions personalised by the @WineShowTV experts. Book yours today! https://t.co/AQIrghdJc7 https://t.co/ 1 day 21 hours ago
On Sale Now: Celebrity Edge Europe 2019 cruises. Sailing from Barcelona, Rome, and Southampton. Find out more:… https://t.co/ODqIKKaC68 2 days 12 hours ago
RT @luxury__travel: 6 amazing rental villas in #Bali https://t.co/bWONaDdKM2 https://t.co/Mi1wJrPJ5P 2 days 22 hours ago
RT @manairport: If flying from T2, please be aware that the T2 drop off area has moved to a ground level forecourt #MANTP https://t.co/8I4V 2 days 22 hours ago