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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VANCOUVER

FRIDAY 1st AUGUST 1997

The Skytrain at Pacific Central Station

I took the Skytrain to the Pacific Central Station. Skytrain is an automated subway and elevated railway using magnetic induction to control the trains. Itís very modern and well used. The city portion is in tunnel but the majority is on an elevated concrete structure. Some stations are island platforms, other stations have two or three platforms. The trains are 2 or 4 cars long and are white, blue and red in colour.

Pacific Central Station with stock for "Rocky Mountaineer" on left

The Pacific Central  Station is the former Canadian National station now used by VIA and Amtrak trains as well as the Rocky Mountaineer tour trains . There is also an adjacent Greyhound and local long distance bus station. The ticket offices are all in the same concourse. Itís a very pleasant terminal but a pity there are so few trains- just the "Canadian", the "Rocky Mountaineer" and the daily train to Seattle.

The "Canadian" arrives at Vancouver at the end of its three day journey from Toronto

I arrived just in time to see the "Canadian" arrive a little late. It should have come in tail car first after turning on a Y but due to a road accident on a level crossing it had to come in locos first. Thereís a VIA maintenance depot adjacent to the station and a surprise was a derelict Budd railcar. There are five platforms with one of these being inside a fenced area for customs examination of the Seattle service. The other tracks were filled with VIA and "Rocky Mountaineer" coaches.

Then I went by Sky Train to Scott Road which is just over the enormous suspension bridge built for Skytrain across the Fraser River. Vancouver is an enormous suburban sprawl although quite pleasant. All the buildings are light- white, pastel shades and light grey. The street names are hung over the roads at intersections and the whole city is built on an enormous grid iron pattern with streets running straight for miles. The street signs have the house numbers on for that section of road.

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The rail and road bridges over the Fraser River with a pair of BN diesels coming off the bridge

I returned over the river to Columbia station and walked around trying to find somewhere to watch trains in the New Westminster area. The single track bridge over the Fraser had an opening span in the single track trestle bridge. I saw a tanker train and a pair of Burlington Northern switchers. Unfortunately there was no where to see traffic pleasantly - too many trees and highways with no pavements to walk on. I went on to the road bridge over the river hoping this would give a view of the railway but the sidewalk was on the wrong side to see the railway.

I decided that it would be more profitable to go across to Vancouver Island a little earlier than planned. I returned to the station in time to see the arrival of the train from Seattle with an Amtrak diesel pulling a rake of Spanish built Talgo coaches. Unfortunately I couldnít photo it because it was in the security compound.

I took the bus to Victoria ,which went via the airport and then on the Seattle motorway through the Fraser River Tunnel before heading west to the Ferry Terminal at Tswwassen. Across the bay could be seen the Roberts Bay coal, container and grain terminal, to which so much of CNí s and CPí s freight traffic now goes.

The view from the ferry as it approaches Vancouver Island

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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