Sunday, 13 May 2018

Trans Canada - Trains, Trail and Highway ...




This is to tie in with National Train Day in the States, which Amtrak discontinued but people remember ... and will at least start my transport tour re Canada to tie in with this year's A - Z ...


Amtrak's National Train Day for the USA
The three Trans-Canada land routes as titled ... would, over the years, weave lines of communication across the lands dominated by forest, tundra and mountain ranges ...


1869 the American's 'last spike' celebration


... linking the many towns and cities that have sprung up as the country came into the grip of western civilisation ...





Canadian National Rail System - east to west and south
(there are many other routes now)




Historian George Stanley wrote "Bonds of steel as well as of sentiment were needed to hold the new Confederation together.  Without railways there would be and could be no Canada".





Train Cars in the Museum at
St John's Newfoundland

A condition of the Constitution Act, 1867 was that an Intercolonial Railway be built to the Pacific.  With this promise, British Columbia, in 1871, was lured into Confederation.




A Canadian National Railway's caboose


The proposed line - 1,600 km (1,000 miles) longer than the first US transcontinental - represented an enormous expenditure for a nation of three and a half million people. 




Kinsol Trestle - more
on this historic wooden
railway trestle anon

Construction began in 1880 with the last spike being driven on 7th November 1885.  The Confederation was tamed and sewn together ...


An idea of the National Recreation Trail
across British Columbia


Starting in 1992, the Coast to Coast National Recreation Trail would commemorate 125 years of Canada ... 15,000 km (9320 miles) of paths, tracks, routes  ...





Logo for Trans Canada Highway in Alberta looking
west towards the Rockies


... this system now has new spurs and loops ... I've been to the Kinsol Trestle not quite at the western tip, while the Trans Canada Highway inconveniently divides the farm ... I live above the working farm - so getting there entails a drive ... I'm not one for jumping the barrier!





This is the Trans Canada Trail Pavilion,
Fredericton, New Brunswick
The Trans Canada Highway - this has 7,821 km (4860 miles) of roadway from Victoria, Vancouver Island to St John's, Newfoundland and Labrador ... there is a northern route from Haida Gwaii - the islands mentioned in myA-Z.




Winter route down to Trans-Canada Highway


Right to where we should be today - celebrating what was set up to be National Train Day ... marking the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the US.



A brief overview of the three main land routes across Canada - trail, rail or road ... you takes your pick as which is the most suitable ... or you could fly high ...

The first post of my A-Z on Canada - A is for Arctic Winter Games 

Linking to Dan Antion - of No Facilities blog - blame him

for 'co-ercing' me to join in!!: his National Train Day post.

Further information can be obtained here from the Canadian Encyclopedia ... 

The Canadian National Railways

The Canadian Pacific Railway 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

51 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Down right fascinating. I have a huge weakness for train travel and definitely prefer it to flying. I suspect that many big nations have relied on trains, and benefited immeasurably. That said, there is a lot of Australia which isn't serviced by them.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
I do love a rail ride... it is interesting that we learned so much about the "West" being tamed by the railroads. When I made my States and Canada trip a couple of years back, I was thwarted in all attempts to get anywhere by rail, and the few that I could, were out of sight expensive. I did take L'Ocean from Montreal to Halifax. I guess a straightforward East to West and back again would have been fine. YAM xx

Hels said...

Very wise, requiring the Constitution Act to include an Inter-Continental railway that went all the way to the Pacific. Otherwise politicians might run out of money, or find other priorities, or forget BC the day after Confederation was signed.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I imagine those lines are so beautiful to travel on. I'd love it!

Anabel Marsh said...

I’d love to do that transcontinental train ride some day. The distances are epic to someone coming from the U.K., aren’t they?

Nilanjana Bose said...

I totally love train travel over all other forms of transport, give me a train ride anytime! :)

How was the first railroad project funded? is the question that sprang to mind as I read your post. The route must be bursting with scenic overload!!

Lynda Dietz said...

I've always wanted to take a train trip somewhere. My husband just retired, and the job he held at his company for the last six years was driving the assembled trains on the test track before they shipped them to their customers.

Jeff said...

I love trains--years ago I read "Last Train to Toronto" by Terry Pindell, in which he travels all over Canada via train (the trip to Churchill is intriguing). Pindell also wrote a book on USA trips and one on Mexico.

www.thepulpitandthepen.com

Jo said...

It's a big country isn't it Hilary? Never been on a train in Canada. Unlike in good ol' Blighty.

I have travelled part of the Trans Canada Highway in the northern part of Ontario, well north to us. In those days it was a very small 2 lane road, I don't know if they have widened it since.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Taking a train ride across Canada would be a treat!

Jo said...

A treat if you could afford it Alex. It is extremely expensive and also, you have to return somehow.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC - tiny Britain really opened up with the railways ... but large countries obviously benefited hugely ... immeasurably - as you suggest! One still needs the population ... and that necessary connection - which the Atlantic to the Pacific, and inland via the St Lawrence ... which the USA and Canada had along that 49th parallel boundary. Train travel can be fun ...

@ Yamini - I think you're right it can be difficult to get where one wants via rail - as the day to day freight and population must support those particular routes. They are expensive ... I'd love to do the L'Ocean trip ... I've been over the Rockies and from Cape Town to Pretoria in South Africa ... again it's making sure there's a profit - economic sense is a necessary priority ...

@ Hels - yes the ramifications to get the railway built were interesting ... and complicated, which is why I only put in the briefest of notes. But the Pacific and Vancouver were major terminii ...so a connection was necessary ...

@ Annalisa - I think they are ... certainly the Kinsol route is lovely, while the Highway connects Victoria to the upper island ...

@ Anabel - I too have always thought about travelling across Canada - but I have to admit my staying power isn't great! I get almost claustrophobic ... and want to get out and walk around. I've been from Cape Town to Pretoria and over the Rockies - both magical trips: yet long enough! Some of the British train routes and companies are good - the ones in the south east ... are cramped, not terribly clean but they do get me into London! but that journey is long enough: 1.5 hours!

@ Nila - the Canadian National Rail Network is an amalgam of many of the early railways ... while the Canadian Pacific Railway was heavily subsidized ... the transcontinental improvements required lots of government loans, and British funds ... it's a complicated financial history! I've added two links at the end of my post ... for further information, other than Wiki ...

Yamini mentions the L'Ocean route: Montreal to Halifax ... and I've been over the Rockies in the Rocky Mountaineer ... yes scenic overload, let alone history ...

@ Lynda - maybe he doesn't want to get on another train ... but perhaps a trip along some wonderful route - the Mississippi one ... or another trip here in Canada could be a suggestion you'll put to him?! I hope you get your wish ...

@ Jeff - thanks for the reminder ... now the A-Z is over I must get Terry Pindell's book: it's on my list here to read ... but your reminder brings it back to the fore!

@ Jo - it's a huge country isn't it ... I guess the TNH is motorway laned in some places, or single track in others ... the bit from here to Victoria goes through the Malahat - a huge rocky outcrop ... which they are endeavouring to widen. Ongoing process as the populations increase ...

@ Alex - it sounds good doesn't it - yet I think I'd get claustrophobia - unless I could break the journey quite often. Scenic wise must be wonderful.

@ Jo - and yes if one could afford the travel ... then perhaps one could fly on, or cruise on ... money, money, money!!

Cheers to you all - thanks for your interest and comments - Hilary

Kali Delamagente said...

I have the Candian Rockies train trip on my bucket list. At the very top. I did want to take a train across the US but as several have noted it's quite difficult to get any sort of cohesive schedule and even more expensive. At one point, I had to wait 2 days for the next train that served that area to arrive--and I'm talking about major cities. I've settled for a trip from Indianapolis to Irvine CA--still 2 days and pricey but I'm looking forward to it.

Joanne said...

trains are romantic - the clack clack, the whoosh....a sense of adventure in the journey. Canadian rails are on my list....so much to see, not enough time. Save some scenery for me. Good post

Botanist said...

The Kinsol trestle is a stunning piece of engineering. And when we visited mainland BC the kids loved to see those mile-long freight trains that still trundle along the tracks.

John Holton said...

Growing up in Chicago, trains were a huge deal, and I can remember the days when they would advertise on TV much the same way the airlines do now. It was really an elegant way to travel back in the days when travel was an event. Now, nearly all of it is handled by Amtrak, with the individual railroads doing mostly commuter service and freight, and it's no longer a big deal here. When we were in England in 1979, we rode on the trains a lot, and I have to say it was a fantastic experience. It might be different now, as so much is...

Rhodesia said...

I have not been on trains often, but the ones I have been on I have enjoyed, well, that is all except in Australia way back when they decided to go on a go slow...... enough said about that.
I would love to tour around Canada with you, but sadly it is going to be virtual. Take care and have a good week. Diane

Keith's Ramblings said...

I've travelled by train all over Asia (love Indian trains), quite a bit of South America, some of North Africa and Eastbourne to London Victoria, but never Canada! One day hopefully!

Welcome to Keith's Ramblings!

Jz said...

That looks like a route to put on the bucket list!

Out on the prairie said...

Trains are some of the best way to discover the beauty of the country. I remember my first time going through the Alps hanging out a window with repeated OOOOOOOO's and Aaaaaah's. As a child we often were put on the train to visit my grandmother.

Dan said...

I tried to comment earlier. Thanks for the shout-out. I gladly accept the blame for this great post. I love the photos and the information.

I drove from Vancouver to Montreal in 1981, when we moved from Seattle to Connecticut (Montreal was a bonus). I wouldn't care to make the drive again, but I'd love to go by rail.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I love trains, I would love to take a train holiday because trains are awesome

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Cool stuff as usual!

Liz A. said...

Getting all the way across the country would have needed rail lines back in the day. It must have been quite the undertaking.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jacqui - that Rocky Mountaineer trip is magical ... I think we stopped at Kamloops over night ... but might be wrong - maybe for a meal ... However your trip coming up sounds lots of fun - hope you'll write about it ... and waiting is not my greatest joy either ... railways are expensive to maintain and operate ... then we pay for the travel that is possible ... enjoy!

@ Joanne - they certainly are - especially the posh ones ... I hope you get up here to one of the 'fancy' trips ... I'll definitely save some scenery for you ... no trouble there!!

@ Ian - the Kinsol trestle is amazing isn't it - I must get back and have another look - yes I'm always amazed at the size of the trains - especially when one can stand on the track and look at them, or walk around them ... love that word: trundle!

@ John - oh yes I can believe Chicago was full of trains ... you're right about the adverts ... they were so evocative ... I'm just glad your experience of England was so good - the railways there certainly connect much of England and did before the Beeching cuts (1960s) ... so much has changed ...

@ Diane - yes I'd love you to accompany me around Canada - it'd be a fun 'ride' ... oh sorry about that Ozzy rail trip ... not good obviously. Perhaps we'll get to travel together sometime ...

@ Keith - I know you've travelled to lots of interesting places and admire your spirit to see new and interesting places via train ... oh yes I know Eastbourne to Victoria - not the most scintillating journey to make ...

@ Jz - yes a lot of choices in Canada ... others have mentioned specific tourist routes ...

@ Steve - we used to do that as kids going on our way occasionally to Cornwall .. my brothers particularly ... and then we ended up with soot all over our faces ... but fun- and that journey you had in the Alps = extra special ...good memories ...

@ Dan - oh blogger seems to do that occasionally ... the shout-out was a pleasure ... made me write this post.

Vancouver to Montreal is one long distance ... not to be repeated, that I can understand, yet also that thought of travelling by train through parts of Canada ... is enticing ...

@ Jo-Anne ... does sound so interesting doesn't it ...

@ Holly - thanks .. I imagine it'd be so interesting ...

@ Liz - yes the railways opened up the country ... that is for sure and would have taken lots of work and manpower ...

Thanks to you all ... so good to see - and to know we'd connect happily via a railway as well as the www ... cheers Hilary

Juliet Batten said...

What a huge feat to lay all those railway tracks, and what amazing connections they opened up.

Sue Bursztynski said...

There’s something fascinating about railways. I’ve only gone interstate by train a couple of times, both times overnight for a science fiction convention. It was very sociable as I went with friends and my sister, but found it hard to sleep. Once the train broke down between towns and a friend who was better at sleeping on trains than the rest of us slept right through it. And there was a football team singing loud songs in the next carriage!

But one thing I’d love to do some time is travel on the Ghan. It’s a luxury ride between Darwin and Adelaide, running through spectacular country.

Sherry Ellis said...

I didn't know National Train Day was discontinued in the States. I wish we had a better rail system here. Travelling by plane is so expensive. It would be nice to have another alternative besides driving.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

My in-laws are taking a train across Canada this September.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

This is really cool info on trains. Not to far from where I live, we have an Amtrak station. I would like to ride to St. Louis and back.

Teresa

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet - good to see you ... and yes the thought of laying that amount of track is pretty extraordinary - yet gave the country room to spread ...

@ Sue - your SciFi expeditions by night train sound fun ... football fans = not so much ...I used to do London to Penzance ... and loved it - so easy to travel. Your Ghan trip sounds wonderful and one I should consider doing if and when I ever get to Aus ...

@ Sherry - I wouldn't have known if Dan hadn't told me. It's a pity that the rail systems aren't kept up giving us that extra option of travel ... driving is a bit much sometimes, while taking a plane can be a pain - quick, but not the best ...

@ Diane - it'd be great if you could let us know what they think of their trip ... sounds fun and I do hope they enjoy it ... I'm sure they will ...

@ Teresa - it sounds like you're quite lucky with an Amtrak station nearby ... well now's your chance to ride to St Louis and back ... give yourself a treat sometime ...

Thanks so much to you all - we all love trains at times ... take care and cheers Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

A train vacay is on our bucket list.

cleemckenzie said...

There's still romance attached to train travel. I haven't taken a train in ages, but I do remember how much I loved being aboard and watching the scenery. I'll be there's some spectacular views from the train across Canada!

Nick Wilford said...

Amazing how one invention made a huge country suddenly much smaller, and connected. A lot of blood, sweat and tears would have gone into constructing it as well.

Debby Gies said...

Fascinating bit of history Hilary. Thank you. :)

Denise Covey said...

Canada is a big country like Australia. We had so many proposed and actual rail lines throughout the country, but very few left. As Lonely Planet says, 'if you visit Australia, forget the trains.' No wonder I sit in wide-eyed wonder watching Michael Patillo's Great British Railway Journeys. It's an absolute hit in Oz.

Hope you're enjoying your Canadian sojourn, Hilary.

Denise

Rhonda Albom said...

Transcontinental railroads built in the 19th century were monumental feats. I can understand why this railroad unified Canada and allowed it to grow.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - sounds a fun plan ...

@ Lee - there is ... if you can afford one of the posher trips - the commuter trips can be pretty 'horrid' - well they are in the south east of England. The scenic trips are gorgeous ... I've been over the Rockies - and it was special ... as too through the Karoo in South Africa ...

@Nick - yes ... the railways were pretty extraordinary weren't they - mind you they'd been around for eight millennia! But the stretch across Canada certainly co-joined the provinces into a country ...

@ Debby - pleasure!

@ Denise - yes lots of country to go across in Aus too ... Canada because it's now a Federation used the railway to join them up to become a country ... whereas you were already a country. Michael Portillo's railway journeys are fascinating aren't they ... lots of trips that he shares in Britain, Ireland and Europe ... they are fun to see ... you've some 'lines' that offer stunning scenery and connections ... but not across or round the whole country ...
Thanks - all well ...

@ Rhonda - the transcontinental railways were extraordinary feats of man's ingenuity and foresight ... but then sadly there were the appalling conditions people had to work in ... we benefit today though.

Thanks so much to you all ... enjoy the rest of the week - Hilary

diedre Knight said...

Hi Hilary!
Traveling by train across Canada would surely be a wonderful adventure! I'd still like to see some of America by train.

Stephen Tremp said...

Hello Hilary, I miss Canada having grown up in Michigan so close to our northern borer.

I'd love to spend time fishing there so many good memories I had growing up vacationing there in the summer.

RO said...

This is great information and reminds me that taking a scenic trip throughout the country is on my bucket by train. Something about it seems like ti would be so relaxing and soothing. I was able to visit Montreal for all of one whole day and loved it. Been wanting to go back for years. I've taken the train to work, but that was a crazy 45 minute trip of angry riders. (lol) Hugs and Happy Wednesday! RO

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diedre - travelling on one of the spectacular journeys would be wonderful ... I hope I can get east sometime ... we'll see

@ Stephen - lovely to see you ... and yes Michigan is just over the border isn't it. Fishing ... that sounds a wonderful relaxing hobby - fun for kids too ... holiday times!

@ RO - I hope you get to fulfil your bucket dream ride on a train to some beautiful destination .... and it can be relaxing and soothing - I often fall asleep! Your Montreal trip sounds a great day out - and I hope now you can make a visit once again. Commuting is another matter - ghastly ...

cheers to you all Hilary

Sandra Cox said...

It's really amazing when you think about the huge role trains have played in building our countries.
Have a great one, Hilary.

DMS said...

So interesting. I can understand why there has been a National Train Day! Trains connect people to each other and have been especially important throughout history. I had no idea about the trains in Canada- so thanks for all the interesting facts and information. Wow!
~Jess

Mark Noce said...

So cool! I love trains, especially from the turn of the century. It really shows what people could accomplish if they put their minds to it.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

This is so cool, Hilary! I would LOVE to take this train ride across Canada. Your photos are always so explicit and helpful to the information you provide to your readers. Thanks again for an informative post. All best to you, my dear!

Christine Rains said...

I've always wanted to take a train across the country. I did it on a bus, but that isn't nearly as nice. I once looked at the price of such a trip and it was way out of the range I could afford! Have a lovely weekend. :)

Elsie Amata said...

I love riding on trains. Going into NYC from Long Island is a blast. Well, let me correct that...Going into NYC from Long Island for leisure is a blast. Commuting, not so much :)

Elsie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - the story of railways is really fascinating ... yes, thank you ...

@ Jess - trains were so important ... they started the taking of workers' holidays away from the factories onto the coasts in the UK ... and that connectivity the rail lines gave Canada just 'wove' the country together (from what I can see!) ... but the basic details are interesting to know about ...

@ Mark - so much development re the railways ...

@ Victoria - it'll take, from Halifax to Vancouver, 5 - 6 days without getting off ... while on occasions your passenger train could wait 20 to 40 minutes as some freight trains can be 3 miles long! - they go first.

The USA trip of 3,400 miles approximately takes 4 days without stopovers.

Thanks ... I'm just glad the images help - they help me understand too ...

@ Christine - yes the Greyhound used to be a really good alternative ... now their coverage is more limited - but they're still active in the USA and in Canada ... and actually have some major British ownership - which took me by surprise! Train trips aren't cheap that's for sure ... especially the 'tourist' ones ...

@ Elsie - I do too ... if I'm not commuting with a million others!! Like you say going into NYC - great place to visit ...

Lovely to see so many of you ... thanks for the visiting - and your comments - opened my eyes to other things!! Cheers Hilary

Deborah Weber said...

Nice tribute for Train Day. I have some very fond memories of cross-country train trips. But one of my most fabulous finds is a set of vintage railroad dinnerware from the time when trains had fabulous dining service. My pink dishes with the gray rims make me smile every time I use them.

Carol Ann Kauffman said...

Lovely article, I enjoy a train ride, no matter where it’s going.