1. Halifax-Montreal 2.Montreal 3.Montreal-Toronto
4.Toronto-Windsor 5.Toronto-Niagara Falls 6.Toronto-Winnipeg
7.Winnipeg-Jasper 8.Jasper-Prince George 9.Prince George-Vancouver
10.Vancouver 11.Vancouver Island 12.BC Rail Steam/BC Transit
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BC Rail Steam and BC Transit

SUNDAY 3rd AUGUST 1997

The Vancouver waterfront from the M.V."Britannia"

I walked from the hotel down to the harbour to board M.V. "Britannia" for the sailing to Squamish. In the harbour was the "Ryndam", a Holland America cruise liner. The boat sailed under the Lions Gate Bridge and up the Howe Sound.

The Howe Sound

 It was a beautiful day and too hot to be on deck for long so stayed at the very front of the observation deck. At Squamish the boat sailed up the river to tie up against a timber wharf. 

ex CPR #2860 at Squamish quayside

The "Royal Hudson" steam train was already stabled there and loaded straight off the roadside. The big 4-6-4 ex CPR No 2860 was being serviced as the boat arrived and loked magnificent in the sun. I went for a walk around Squamish, the impression being of low buildings and wide streets. After a phone call to home I joined the train travelling in coach “Porteau” an ex CNR vehicle built in 1954. The entire train looked most attractive in its maroon livery and gold lettering.

One of the BC Rail "Royal Hudson" coaches

The train backed up onto the main line before heading off down the Howe Sound to Vancouver. The Stewamau Chief rock outcrop above Squamish is apparently the largest piece of granite in the Commonwealth apart from the Rock of Gibraltar! It was pleasant to see the Howe Sound in the daylight as I hadn't really enjoyed it at the end of the long trip from Prince George. The line passes the largest copper mine in the world, now closed and set up as a museum. In North Vancouver the large yards of the B.C.R. came before we pulled into the station. On the other track the staff were preparing the coaches for that evening’s Dining Car Special, which goes up to a loop near Squamish and where the guests can eat and dance the evening away.

I took the bus to the Seabus terminal and then across the harbour on this strange craft. It’s a very fast double ended ferry with one enormous enclosed deck and automatic doors on either side which allow very fast loading from the undercover bus station. 

 

The former CPR Waterfront terminal now used by West Coast Express services

On arrival at the Waterfront terminal in Vancouver the former CPR station, I had a surprise. The West Coast Express commuter line was operating a Sunday evening service to Mission at 18.00. 1 checked return service possibilities and decided to go to Port Coquitlam and return by bus. The CPR terminal building has been nicely restored as an interchange between Seabus, Skytrain, West Coast express and local buses.  

West Coast Express F59PH1 at the Vancouver Waterfront terminal

The West Coast Express trains are made up of new air-conditioned double deck coaches pulled by F59PH1 locos and are owned by BC Transit, the bus and ferry operator. The CP line closely follows the river called the Second Narrows past container, grain and sulphur terminals. CP, BN and CN locos were all seen in this area. 

CP SW1200 switchers #1209 and #8115 in the yards outside Vancouver

Further out the line becomes more suburban. There are bus terminals at every station. The station at Port Coquitlam was next to the CP yard but although I’d thought of staying there for a while I felt rather tired so decided to return to Vancouver straight away by bus. The yard was obviously vast and there appeared to be no place I could easily watch traffic. The bus route passed the sulphur loading dock at Port Moody. Conveyors could be seen loading a ship directly from the hopper wagons which were lettered “Sultrans” and come from Albertan mines. The run into the city centre was through one of those inner city areas   that one usually only sees in American films - I definitely wouldn’t want to get off there!

MONDAY 4th AUGUST

I took the airport bus out to the airport, far too early, but I couldn’t think of anything else worth doing in the time I had. I boarded the 12.00 flight to Toronto, a Jumbo Boeing 747 and watched the Rockies, and the plains and lakes pass by underneath. Finally I boarded the 21.15 flight to Manchester and slept fitfully through the night I was off the plane and onto the train within 15 minutes just catching the 09.28 to Middlesbrough and arrived on time.

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1. Halifax-Montreal 2.Montreal 3.Montreal-Toronto
4.Toronto-Windsor 5.Toronto-Niagara Falls 6.Toronto-Winnipeg
7.Winnipeg-Jasper 8.Jasper-Prince George 9.Prince George-Vancouver
10.Vancouver 11.Vancouver Island 12.BC Rail Steam/BC Transit
Links Loco Observations Locos & stock photos
Feedback Text only