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The route of the "Skeena"

Map courtesy of VIA

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CN GP40-2 #9461 at Jasper

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A westbound grain train headed by CN SD50 #5401 and Conrail C40-8W #754 leave Jasper

I spent the morning watching trains again and then went for the “Skeena” to Prince George and Prince Rupert. It should have left at 13.00 but the air-conditioning in the first class was faulty so another car was attached meaning we left 45 minutes late. The normal formation was a 2nd, first and bar/dome car. 

The "Skeena" prepares to leave Jasper for Prince George and Prince Rupert

The train was relatively quiet due to a large number of cancellations by tour firms. There was a fishing dispute between British Columbia and Alaska which had caused the blockading of ferries from Prince Rupert and this had scared off a lot of tourists. We followed a coal train uphill and, unfortunately, there was single line working. We were, therefore, held for two eastbound freights before eventually overtaking the coal train. The weather was poor with rain and low cloud. There are wire fences on the climb to Yellowhead Pass (3700 feet ) to warn of rock falls. There were several recent landslides visible. Yellowhead Lake was passed and after Redpass Junction most of Mount Robson, the highest mountain in Canada, could be seen. At Redpass there is a very large triangular junction with the Vancouver line. The legs of the triangular extend over many miles.

Tail-car interior and Vista Dome 

At Raush Valley the train drew into a siding behind a westbound grain train. After crossing an eastbound freight both the grain and the “Skeena” set off together a few hundred yards apart at about 30mph in the same single line section!  Was this against regulations I wonder, or just a desperate measure to prevent another 30 minutes delay? We eventually overtook the freight at McBride. The area along the line was unbelievably empty with no sign of habitation for miles. The few roads were gravel or dirt. Along the Fraser River was evidence of several recent washouts with speed restrictions. On the approach to Prince George the CN line passes under the British Columbia Railway from the north, before crossing the Fraser into the yard and station area. I took a taxi straight to the hotel as I was two hours behind schedule. Prince George is very much a frontier town with low buildings and very spread out. However, I was told there is now a university and the population is 90,000

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